Vol. 17, No. 15 – April 15, 2018
- The Equipment, vs 13-17, vs. 14, Righteousness
Eph 6:14, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”
The Breastplate of Righteousness
In Eph 6:14, we now address the second piece of armor, “the breastplate of righteousness.” The verse reads, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”
“And having put on,” is KAI ENDUO, where ENDUO is in the Aorist, Middle, Participle in the imperative sense, which continues the command to put on the armor of God. We noted ENDUO in vs. 11, for “putting on the whole armor of God.” Here it relates to just the breastplate of righteousness.
The Culminative Aorist tense contemplates the entirety of the action with a view to the past completed action of “having put on” this portion of the armor.
The Middle Voice is reflexive. We benefit from the action of “having put on,” yet it is not the active voice because, as we will see, God is the One who gives us righteousness. We do not achieve our own righteousness. But in faith, we appropriate the righteousness of God, which is a grace blessing to us. So, the reflexive Middle correlates with the non-meritorious act(s) of faith we apply and, as a result we benefit.
“The breastplate,” is the Nominative singular of HO THORAX. Generally this word denotes a “breastplate” as a piece of protective armor worn in battle or which covers the chest.
In English, “thorax” is used in anatomy where it is the part of the body of a mammal between the neck and the abdomen, including the cavity enclosed by the ribs, breastbone, and dorsal vertebrae, and containing the chief organs of circulation and respiration; the chest. In Greek, the THORAX is the armor that protects that vital area of the human anatomy. “The breastplate,” was usually composed of metallic plates, chains, or scales, but sometimes made of leather or bronze, covered the torso, (neck to waist), both front and back, and protected the vital organs of the body; the heart, the lungs, etc. The breastplate often saved the Roman soldier from being mortally wounded.
Similarly, the person who is “righteous” will not be mortally wounded in the spiritual warfare in which he is engaged. The breastplate is held in place by the belt of truth, and it becomes obvious that this righteousness is totally dependent upon truth, Bible doctrine in the soul.
THORAX is used here and in 1 Thes 5:8; Rev 9:9, 17.
The NT primarily uses it figuratively, describing the protective power of “righteousness,” during the Angelic Conflict, similar to Isa 59:17, which describes the Lord Jesus coming with salvation, cf. Wisdom 5:18.
Isa 59:17, “And He (the Lord) put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.”
In 1 Thes 5:8, we see portions of the armor of God noted. There, the “breastplate” represents “faith and love” as opposed to “righteousness,” as in our verse. Therefore, we see that “faith and love,” go hand in hand with righteousness. As faith appropriates righteousness and love expresses it.
1 Thes 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”
This word is used in Rev 9:9, to describing the appearance of the torturing locust set loose during the Fifth Trumpet judgment of the Tribulation. The locus will torment only unbelievers during that time.
Rev 9:9, “They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.” This may be how John was explaining his vision of a helicopter? Or better, it is a literal tormenting creature of the Tribulation.
Finally, THORAX is used in Rev 9:17, during the Sixth Trumpet judgment, to describe the angelic horsemen who will kill one third of mankind on earth at that time. The color of the breastplate is fiery red/orange and dark blue/purple.
For the believer of the Church Age, our breastplate is described as being, “of righteousness,” which is the Genitive of Material of HO DIKAIOSUNE, δικαιοσύνη that means, “righteousness, uprightness, equity, or justice.” In other words, the breastplate is made out of “righteousness.”
Righteous is defined as, “meeting the standards of what is right and just; morally right; guiltless.” Synonyms of righteousness include, “virtue, morality, justice, decency, uprightness, honesty, blameless, etc.”
Like “truth,” we see that God is absolutely righteous in all that He is and does, and man can have and experience that righteousness in his life. When He does, it is armor for his soul.
- God possesses eternal, unchangeable, and perfect righteousness.
- All justice is administered from the perfect righteousness of God, cf. Lev 19:2; 1 Sam 2:2; Psa 22:3; 47:8; 119:9; John 17:11; Rev 3:7; 4:8; 6:10. Many passages tell us that behind God’s justice and judgments is the other half of Divine holiness, which is God’s perfect and absolute righteousness.
- God is absolute Good. Absolute good is perfect righteousness, Psa 25:8; 34:8; 86:5; 119:68; Luke 18:19.
- God is perfect, both in His person and in His character, Deut 32:4; Psa 7:9; 11:7; 97:6; 113:3; 119:137; Jer 23:6; John 17:25; Rom 1:17; 10:3; 1 John 2:29.
- God is totally free from sin. God has never sinned. God cannot tempt or solicit to sin. God cannot in any way be involved in sin except to judge it, James 1:13.
- The righteousness of God is the principle of Divine integrity. The justice of God is the function of Divine integrity. What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God fulfills.
- God’s righteousness is seen in two ways:
a) He is a righteous Person, James 1:17.
James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
b) He is righteous in all His ways, Rom 3:25-26.
Rom 3:25-26, “Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Righteousness in God means that all that He does is perfect and absolutely right/correct. God never makes a wrong or unrighteous decision. All of God’s judgments are righteous, as well as being holy in nature, (i.e., they are without sin and evil), Rev 16:5-7.
When His righteousness combines with His love, it results in grace. The grace pipeline….
Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
2 Cor 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
1 Cor 1:30, “But by His (God the Father’s) doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom (truth) from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”
As perfect and absolute righteousness, God rejects all relative standards of righteousness, and therefore, all human standards of righteousness, with the one exception of human compliability with the laws of Divine Establishment. Isa 64:6, tells us exactly where human righteousness will get us with God.
Isa 64:6, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all of our righteousness is as filthy [menstrual] rags, and all of us wither like a leaf, and all of our sins like the wind take us away.”
God cannot accept anything less than perfect righteousness, and God cannot bless anything less than perfect righteousness. We possess that perfect righteousness as a double portion (the imputation of God the Father’s righteousness and sharing the righteousness of our Lord who is the head of our body) at the very moment we believe in Jesus Christ. This perfect Divine righteousness resides in every believer from the moment of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Mat 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Rom 3:22, “Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction, (between Jew and Gentile).”
Phil 3:9, “And may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”
Jesus Christ was made to be our substitute at the Cross in order that we might receive the forgiveness of all our sins with the result of the imputation of God’s righteousness, so that we could walk/live in righteousness.
The noun “righteousness,” DIKAIOSUNE, its related adjective “righteous,” DIKAIOS, and the verb “to justify, to pronounce/treat as righteous or put right,” DIKAIOO are found in Paul’s writings over 100 times. The sheer volume of occurrences in their various usages and meanings indicates the central place they had in the theology of the apostle.
For the believer, there are three aspects of righteousness that we see within the Bible.
- The righteousness of God that is imputed to the believer at the point of salvation; Positional Righteousness.
- The walk in righteousness post salvation; Experiential Righteousness.
- The ability to be blessed in time and eternity because of righteousness in us; Ultimate Righteousness.
1.) The Righteousness of God Imputed to the Believer at the Point of Salvation – Positional Righteousness.
The imputation of God’s righteousness to the believer at salvation is one of two judicial imputations of God. They are judicial because there is no affinity between the thing imputed and the one receiving the imputation. It is judicial because in God’s perfect righteousness and justice He is able to impute something to someone that does not have a natural coalescence for or identification with the thing being imputed.
There are two judicial imputation of God:
- The personal sins of every member of the human race to Jesus Christ on the Cross.
- The perfect righteousness of God to the believer at the point of salvation.
God’s perfect justice allowed for both as part of His plan of redemption. Because of the first, the second was made possible.
2 Cor 5:21, “He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus Chsit) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, (as a substitute for us), so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Christ accomplished what the Law could not do: through His spiritual death upon the cross, believers are made righteous, Rom 8:3-4; 10:4; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 2:21; cf. Gen 15:6.
Rom 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Gen 15:6, “Then he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
There is also another category of Divine Imputations called “Real Imputations” that includes 5 imputations: 1) Human life to the soul, 2) Adam’s original sin to the Old Sin Nature, 3) Eternal life to the human spirit, 4) Blessings in time to perfect righteousness, and 5) Blessings in eternity to the resurrection body.
Because of the judicial imputation of righteousness to the believer at the moment of salvation, God is also able to provide the real imputation of blessings in time to the believer because he possesses perfect righteousness in his soul, and He is able to provide blessings in eternity to the resurrected believer. Some of those blessing are based on the imputation of God’s righteousness giving us Positional Sanctification, and others based the application of righteousness in our lives, our Experiential Sanctification. We will discuss this further below.
Paul states that righteousness in believers is the result of a word, or declaration, of God. In Rom 4, where Paul interprets Abraham’s relationship with God as a scriptural foundation for his understanding of the believer’s “justification by faith,” explained in Rom 1-3, righteousness is said to be “reckoned to or credited to” Abraham by God on the basis of Abraham’s faith, (i.e., believing / trusting in God), Rom 4:3, 5-6, 9, 11, 22, rather than on the basis of his works. In Gal 3:6, Abraham’s faith in God is “reckoned to him as righteousness.” Here, Abraham’s trusting submission to God is evaluated as “righteousness.”
Closely related to the above are those passages where righteousness is stated to be a gift of God reigning in the believer, Rom 5:17, 21. Here it is seen as a reality which dominates or directs the life in Christ, cf. Rom 8:10.
Rom 8:10, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.”
This righteousness results from God’s grace, for if it were possible to achieve it via obedience to the Law, Christ’s death would have been in vain, Gal 2:21.
Gal 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
In addition, in Gal 3:21-22, righteousness is equated with life, which the Law is powerless to produce.
Gal 3:21-22, “Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
Therefore, righteousness is first a grace gift of God, given to the believer at the moment of faith in Christ as your Savior.
Knowing that we have the grace gift of the perfect righteousness of God is a part of “putting on” the breastplate of righteousness. Having the perfect righteousness of God means you have the perfection of God in you and you are eternally saved. Both factors should give you tremendous confidence going forward in life. Knowing that regardless of how you sin or fail, you have perfection inside of you, and God will never abandon you, regardless of how badly you may mess up, Rom 5:1, 9, 18-19.
Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Rom 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
Rom 5:18, “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.”
Rom 5:19, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”
Rom 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
This also tells us of the importance of justification. Justification, “the establishment of a right relationship with God,” is based upon God’s gift, Rom 3:21-24, to be received by faith, not by man’s actions, Rom 3:25; 4:3-22; 9:30; 10:3, 6ff; cf. Gal 3:6; Phil 3:9; Titus 3:5.
You see, justification is the result of the imputation of perfect righteousness at salvation. God sees His own perfect righteousness in us and justifies us by virtue of possessing that perfect righteousness. Justification is God recognizing perfect righteousness wherever it resides. It is God recognizing His own perfect righteousness imputed to you at the moment of faith in Christ, Rom 3:24; 8:30; 9:30; 1 Cor 6:11; Titus 3:7.
Rom 3:24, “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
1 Cor 6:11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
Rom 8:30, “And these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
Rom 9:30, “That the Gentiles who did not strive for divine righteousness have attained divine righteousness, that is the righteousness from the source of faith in Jesus Christ.”
When we truly realize that God has given us His perfect righteousness from the moment of our salvation, and that He will never take that Divine righteousness away, we realize we are also justified in God’s eyes to be members of His eternal family. Therefore, when Satan accuses us, it is the righteousness of Christ in us that assures us of our salvation. With the knowledge of the position we stand in, and the Divine blessings of righteousness and justification, we stand confidently before God, angels, and man. We stand confident in the position and relationship we have with the Lord. Standing confident in the knowledge of our positional righteousness is part of “putting on the breastplate of righteousness.”
2.) The Walk in Righteousness Post Salvation – Experiential Righteousness.
The second part of “putting on the breastplate of righteousness,” is our daily walk in righteousness, also called our experiential sanctification. This is our faithful walk in righteousness, Prov 2:20.
Prov 8:20, “I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice.”
Hosea 14:9, “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.”
Rom 8:4, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
1 John 2:29, “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.”
In 2 Cor 6, when Paul is discussing his servanthood to God, one of the things he mentions is having “righteousness” as a weapon for fighting the spiritual warfare in vs. 7.
2 Cor 6:7, “In the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left.”
Therefore, we see that righteousness is the mark of the Christian way of life; acting rightly, justly, morally, in contrast with evil, falsehood, inequality, etc. It is a weapon for both hands, because it can be used in all aspects of our life. As a warrior, Paul wore the whole armor of God with weapons of defense in his left hand and offense in his right, just as we can too. Righteousness is both a defensive and offensive weapon in the spiritual warfare.
With this we also note that, “the word of truth in the power of God” creates this armament as experiential righteousness is based on having the belt of truth, (God’s Word), resident within your soul. It is the Word of God that gives us the understanding and means of walking in righteousness; defensively and offensively, just as the gospel gave us the understanding and means of receiving positional righteousness at salvation.
The use of righteousness is then in an ethical sense. It characterizes the life of obedience to God and His Word of those who have been justified. That is why Rom 6:13, 18-20, contrast lives/bodies as instruments or slaves of wickedness with lives yielded to God as instruments of righteousness. In these and other passages, is the expected result of life lived in relationship with Christ, right-living that is in keeping with God’s purposes.
Righteousness, together with peace and joy, is that which marks the believer’s relationship with God and others, (rather than judging or offending others), and is the result of God’s reign in your life.
Rom 6:13, “And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
Rom 6:18, “And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
Rom 6:19, “… For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”
Just as righteousness began in us by faith, it should continue to operate only by faith after our salvation, Gal 3:1-14.
Gal 3:11, “Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, ‘THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH’.” Cf. Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Heb 10:38.
Positional and Experiential Righteousness are gifts of God’s grace that come to believers in the context and through the instrumentality of faith. When Paul speaks about righteousness and faith, it is almost always contrasted with a legalistic, or Law-oriented, righteousness. Thus, in Rom 4:11, 13-14, the “righteousness of faith” is said to be based neither on circumcision nor on the deeds of the Law. In Rom 9:30-32; 10:4-6, 10, the righteousness that comes by faith is contrasted with that which is based on the Law and the doing of the works of the Law. Only the former leads to life, to salvation.
Phil 3:9, speaks of the righteousness that results from faith in Jesus, rather than “my own righteousness” based on Law. This righteousness by faith is of course the righteousness from God, “which depends on faith.” This conviction is affirmed by Paul in contrast to his own former experience where, on the basis of Law-based righteousness, he judged himself as “blameless,” yet that was not good enough to save him, Phil 3:6. Such moral perfectionism as that which Paul had by pedigree and personal endeavor does not, however, bring one into right relationship with God. According to Titus 3:5, believers are saved, not because of deeds done in righteousness, (here righteousness means “legal obedience”), but by God’s merciful, atoning work in Christ.
Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, that brings us back to Gal 3, were Paul is making the argument, “if we began in righteousness by faith, let us continue to walk in righteousness by faith.” That is why in 1 Thes 5:8, the breastplate is made up of “faith and love.” When we walk by faith, we produce AGAPE love which is the righteousness of God in us.
That is why righteousness is that quality of life which bears fruit, i.e., Divine Good Production, 2 Cor 9:10, Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9; Phil 1:11.
2 Cor 9:10, “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
Phil 1:11, “Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Walking in God’s righteousness is one of the marks of those who are “children of light” in distinction from those who perform “unfruitful works of darkness,” Eph 5:9.
Eph 5:9, “For the fruit of the Light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.”
Likewise, in Eph 4:24, righteousness is paired with “holiness of the truth” as resembling God, in contrast to corrupt, deceitful living.
Eph 4:24, “And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
As such, Experiential Righteousness is not passive; it is to be pursued. It is the mark of the believer, and without active “doing” there is no real relationship (i.e., righteousness) with God. Therefore, we are exhorted to “pursue righteousness,” 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22, and receive “training in righteousness,” 2 Tim 3:16; the context is clearly that of moral, ethical living based on faithful application of Bible Doctrine resident within your soul, cf. 1 John 2:29; 3:7-10; James 2:17.
1 Tim 6:11, “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.”
2 Tim 2:22, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
1 John 3:7, “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous (experientially), just as He is righteous, (positionally).”
“Practices righteousness” in 1 John 3:7, refers to spending time living in, celebrating, or experiencing the imputed righteousness of God by applying truth, (His Word), in love to both God and man. This is also called Experiential Sanctification. In contrast, 1 John 3:8, tells us that the one who “practices sin” does not practice the righteousness of Christ and is a child of the devil, i.e., fully engrossed in Satan’s Cosmic System.
When it says, “the devil has sinned from the beginning,” it is first a reference to Satan’s rebellion in eternity past and second to his work in the Garden of Eden where he tempted the perfect man to sin, thereby destroying the perfect righteousness in man created in the image of God, as he did with the fallen angels in eternity past. To remedy the loss of perfect righteousness in man, God sent His Son, as we have seen and again see in this verse.
Now, 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
This verse tells us that the one “born of God” has a new regenerated nature and spiritual life found in their Human Spirit. The Human Spirit is a place of perfect Divine righteousness and is without sin. Sin is in our bodies and can penetrate our souls, if we let it, but sin never penetrates our Human Spirit. Our new Divine nature can “never” sin and is the very righteousness of God, cf. Eph 4:24.
Eph 4:24, “And put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holy observance of the truth.”
Notice how “holy observance of truth” is linked with righteousness. This is our walk in righteousness.
The regenerate Human Spirit provides the believer the means by which the Holy Spirit can reproduce the righteousness of God experientially in the soul and body of the believer who is obedient to the Word of righteousness, 1 Cor 2:12-14.
Our new Christ-like nature provides us with the capacity to “practice the righteousness” of God, which is manifested by obeying the Lord Jesus Christ’s command to love one another as He has loved the believer, 1 John 3:11, 16, 18.
If we are living the life that God has given to us, we will avoid sin(s) within our lives. We have the perfect righteousness of God inside of our new perfect nature. With that, plus the righteousness from the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit and the righteousness of the Mind of Christ (Bible Doctrine) in our souls, we should be living unto God, abiding in Christ. Yet, many believers do not utilize the righteousness of God in their lives and do not take in the Word of God on a consistent basis. For them it is inevitable that they will be living just as an unbeliever lives, in sin, as a child of the father of sin, the devil himself.
The imputation of perfect righteousness at salvation becomes both motivation and momentum in the Christian way of life: motivation to persist in the perception of Bible doctrine, and momentum for continuing the metabolization of Bible doctrine. The result is maximum doctrine resident in the soul producing spiritual maturity adjustment to the justice of God, and the practical righteousness of everyday living and conduct. The Truth (Word) of God trains the believer to live in the righteousness of God since it is the mind and thinking of Jesus Christ Himself, 2 Cor 6:7; Gal 3:11; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Cf. John 1:1.
2 Tim 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
And, remember that this is not a righteousness of our own morality or human good works, it is a righteousness appropriated by faith in the Word of God and the filling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself warned us that except our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees; we shall in no way enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The only righteousness that exceeds theirs is a faith based one; a righteous living in faithful obedience to God and His Word seeking His grace. We noted this word in Eph 4:24; 5:9.
Eph 4:24, “And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Therefore, put on those righteous qualities associated with your new life in Christ, the same righteous qualities reflected in the life of Jesus. Put on the breastplate of righteousness, so you do not give an inch to Satan in the areas of impurity, lust, greed, or injustice. Realize who you are in Christ, and live out that new identity in righteous living.
The imputation of God’s righteousness at salvation results in our Positional Sanctification, while living in the righteousness of God after our salvation results in our Experiential Sanctification.
Rom 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith (for positional righteousness) to faith (for experiential righteousness); as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’.”
Rom 6:17-18, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
Satan is the accuser, but he cannot accuse the believer who is living a godly life in the power of the Spirit. The life we live either fortifies us against Satan’s attacks or makes it easier for him to defeat us, 2 Cor 6:1-10. By appropriating God’s righteousness, believers are to act righteously in their dealings with God and people. As a soldier’s breastplate protected his chest from enemy attacks, so sanctifying, righteous living, Rom 6:13; 14:17, guards believers’ hearts against the assaults of the devil, cf. Isa 59:17; James 4:7.
Righteousness is expressed by our actions; Christians thus confirm their relationship to God by living in it, Rom 6:13, 16ff.; 2 Cor 6:7; 9:10; Phil 1:11; 2 Tim 3:16. Indeed, our very lives testify to that relationship, Rom 1:17; 2:13. Having been freed from sin is to become “servants to God,” Rom 6:22, and “servants of righteousness,” Rom 6:18. God’s righteousness is revealed in the present, Rom 1:17; 3:26, and has provided true righteousness for the believer. Since righteousness is by faith alone, any supposed “righteousness by works,” i.e., obedience to the Law, has been abolished. The righteousness of God comes only through faith, Rom 1:17; 3:22,26; 4:3f.; 9:30; 10:4,6,10.
1 John 3:7, “Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”
Our most significant defense is the evidence that we have been made right with God, and that this righteousness has been created in us by the Spirit. This righteousness is manifested in character and in conduct, and as the breastplate guards the vital organs from assault, it will keep the heart unwounded. Only the righteousness of Christ can enable the believer to stand before men, angels, and before God, but the heart that is to be protected should be a heart that is not condemning you. It is an awful condition to have sin in the life while we are trying to carry on the battle. We can never win it that way. Therefore, righteousness is to be put on. It is to be put on primarily by faith in the Word of God. It is given in Christ to simple belief. He that has faith thereby has the righteousness which is through faith in Christ, for in his faith, he has the one formative principle of reliance on God, which will gradually refine character and mold conduct into whatsoever things are lovely and of good report, however slowly it may transform his conduct. The faith which is a departure from all reliance on works of righteousness, which we have done, and is a singularly focused reliance on the work of Jesus Christ, opens the heart in which it is planted to all the influences of that life which was in Jesus, that from Him it may be in us.
Therefore, the putting on of the breastplate requires effort (pursuit), as well as faith, and effort will be vigorous in the measure in which faith is vivid, but it should follow, not precede or supplant faith. Moral teaching without Gospel preaching is little better than a waste of breath.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-039, 18-040 & 18-041
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!