Standing Firm: The Breastplate of Righteousness: Belt of Truth in the Armor of God
BIG IDEA: Standing firm in our faith demands to suit up in the strength of our God
Standing firm demands living a Scripture-saturated life.
And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- Paul is building this metaphor with the armor of a Roman foot soldier.
- Christians are called to put on a breastplate of righteousness.
- Is this the righteousness of Christ or the righteous acts that we are supposed to perform?
- Christ’s righteousness in us results and produces righteousness through us.
- The best defense is a good offense so stay prepared in the Armor of God
Pro-activity gives a strategic advantage
- This is what Paul is talking about when he says to put on the breastplate of righteousness.
- When we pursue the righteousness of Christ it keeps us from attacks of Satan.
- Israel did not heed the warning of the prophets and eventually, they were conquered and led away as captives.
This is occurring about 20 years after they returned from their captivity
- The older men wept over the new temple that was not even close to the original temple.
- They began to wonder if righteousness even mattered.
Doesn’t this happen to us when God does not meet our expectations?
- Zechariah tells them that God saw everything they went through and promises that God will come through for them.
A heavenly courtroom – righteousness polluted
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the Angel.
We start this with the Lord seated in a heavenly courtroom and Satan stands to accuse Joshua
- Joshua was to represent the nation and he was soiled and filthy.
- Satan has evidence of Joshua’s polluted righteousness and it’s evident to everyone.
- Satan’s accusation is not off base. Likewise, we are guilty even on our very best day.
- We have all failed to live up to God’s righteous standard.
For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- We need to stop pretending to be so put together.
- We kill ourselves projecting an image of what we are like.
- We are all sinners in need of God’s grace.
Satan does not get a chance to speak. Gracious verdict – righteousness imputed.
Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And to him, He said, See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes. And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head. So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.
- This is a beautiful picture of imputed righteousness.
- God regards Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us.
- This is the great exchange.
When God looks at us, He sees Christ’s righteousness
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- The blood of Christ replaces what was polluted with what is pure.
- We are not given a chance to make ourselves clean enough to be loved by God.
- Instead, He makes us clean through the blood of Christ.
- Christ’s righteousness in us produces righteousness through us.
An urgent charge – righteousness pursued
Thus says the Lord of hosts If you will walk in My ways And if you will keep My command, Then you shall also judge My house And likewise have charge of My courts I will give you places to walk Among these who stand here.
- The Angel of the Lord admonishes Joshua. He warns Joshua.
- The freedom that having our own car provides comes with responsibility.
- In the same way, the good news of the gift in (verse 4) comes with the responsibility in (verse 7)
- If God was going to bless Joshua and the nation, then Joshua was going to have to honor Him.
- The gift of Christ’s imputed righteousness comes with the responsibility of pursuing righteousness.
We need to search our hearts for anything that lacks righteousness
We need to ask the Spirit of God to help us identify thoughts, beliefs, behaviors that lack righteousness and we need to repent.
No Christian is a slave of sin
- We go back to it only when we choose to.
- This is what it means to put on the breastplate of righteousness.
- Christ’s righteousness in us produces righteousness through us.
A future promise – righteousness provided
Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant. For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ Says the Lord of hosts, I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day says the Lord of hosts, Everyone will invite his neighbor Under his vine and under his fig tree.
- Joshua and the priests were a sign of God healing the land and removing their iniquity.
- This was a foretaste of the righteous Branch, Jesus Christ.
Behold the days are coming says the Lord that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness A King shall reign and prosper And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
Why is it so important that we put on the breastplate of righteousness?
- Apart from Christ’s righteousness, we stand condemned under the holy wrath of God. The only way to shed His wrath is Jesus.
- It removes Satan’s ability to beat us up over our own unrighteousness. Satan is right–we are not good enough or holy enough. But Christ is good enough! When the Father looks upon us, He sees Christ’s righteousness in our place.
- Practically speaking, the more we walk in righteousness, the less Satan has to hold against us.
- When we walk in unrighteousness, we are effectively handing Satan a club to beat us with, but righteousness removes that club from his hand.
Jesus Christ is the rock on which we stand. He ALONE is our only hope
The moment that we trust in our own righteousness is the moment we lose the war.
My sincere desire is that your faith in Jesus Christ continues to grow stronger throughout this study.
Be sure to read more on the Armor of God Series
- Study on the Armor of God Part 4
- Study on the Armor of God Part 5
- Study on the Armor of God Part 6
- Study on the Armor of God Part 7
- Study on the Armor of God Part 8