Verse of the Day Devotion: Ephesians 6:14b
“And HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,” – Ephesians 6:14b
I want to start with the several verses that introduce this idea Paul is putting forth. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13. He is telling us to put on the full armor of God for the following reason, that we can stand firmly against the powers of the enemy, namely the sly schemes of the devil.
The next part of our armor is the breastplate of righteousness. This idea is first seen in the book of Isaiah. “He 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.” Isaiah 59:17. The idea put forth here is not simply works of righteousness done by men, although these are important and can be like a fence when rightly used against the reproaches and charges of the enemy, but rather graces of faith and love. “For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 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.” 1 Thessalonians 5:7-8.
The breastplate covers the heart of the soldier. This does not seem to mean the righteousness of God imputed to us when we make Christ our Lord and Savior which means our justification and the forgiveness of our sins. “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.” Romans 3:21-22. It speaks of our uprightness of character, loyalty in principle and action to the commandments of God. To neglect what we know to be righteous action is to leave a gaping hole in our armor and to show that we really do not love Him as we claim. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. By the holiness of our conduct, and our consciousness thereof, we defend ourselves from being moved by the calumnies and reproaches of the wicked. No armor for the back is mentioned; we are always to face our enemies.
In closing, we put on the breastplate of righteousness by seeking God and His righteousness above everything else. We make Him and His ways our dwelling place. We delight in His ways and desire for them to become our ways. When God reveals an area of change to us, we obey and allow Him to work through us. And as we wear Christ’s breastplate of righteousness, we begin to develop a purity of heart that translates to actions. Wearing it creates a lifestyle of putting into practice what we truly believe in our hearts, and as our lives become conformed to the image of Christ our choices become more righteous, and these Godly choices also protect us from temptation and deception. “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3. We need to wear the breastplate of righteousness in order to gain the victory Paul laid out in 2 Corinthians. “not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you,” 2 Corinthians 10:15. We are destroying all falsity and speculations raised against the knowledge of God we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. When we quickly reject heretical ideas, idolatry, and the “counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1) and instead “keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”, we keep our breastplate securely fastened, prepared to take on the enemy by standing firm in the battle.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.