The Breastplate of Righteousness
The Breastplate of Righteousness
The purpose of this piece of armor is to protect the heart, lungs, intestines and other vital organs.
In ancient Jewish thinking, the heart represented the mind and the will and the bowels were considered the seat of emotions and feelings. The mind and the emotions are the two areas where Satan most fiercely attacks believers.
I. The Breastplate of Righteousness that we put on as spiritual armor against our adversary is the practical righteousness of a life lived in obedience to God’s Word. (John MacArthur, New Testament Commentary Ephesians, p. 352)
· It is living in daily, moment-by-moment obedience to the Heavenly Father.
· God supplies the standard and the power, but we must supply the willingness.
· God dresses us in imputed righteousness (like we dress a child) but we must put on our practical righteousness everyday. 1 Peter1:15–16 says, "but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy.'"
Philippians 3:9-12 (NKJV) 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Ephesians 4:20-24 (NKJV) 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV) But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
Proverbs 13:6 (NKJV) 6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, But wickedness overthrows the sinner. (A righteous life is a protected life. God undertakes to guard the blameless.  )
II. The Christian's heart is the primary target of the devil
That's why Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." What protects our hearts from the attack of the enemy? Righteousness!
Tony Evans tells the story of a young boy who went fishing. While searching for bait, he found a nest of small red worms. As he picked one up and placed it on his hook, the worm bit him. It hurt a lot, but the boy shrugged off the pain, dropped the line in the water, and soon caught a fat catfish. He reached for another worm, and that worm also bit him. This time the pain wasn't so bad, and he soon had another catfish. He repeated this several times.
After a while, he began to feel ill, and his hands were hurting badly. He decided to walk home. When he got out on the road, he felt so bad that he sat down with his huge string of fish. A passing motorist saw him and offered him a ride. He was curious about how he had caught all those fish. The boy told him about the red worms he had found, and when the man looked at his hands, he knew immediately what had happened. He rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late. The child died on the way. Those worms were actually baby rattlesnakes; each successive bite, though less painful, added more of the deadly venom into his system until he was overcome. That's how Satan attacks our heart. That's why we need to put on the breastplate of practical righteousness.
William MacDonald and Arthur Farstad, Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments, Pr 13:6 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995).