June 5, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
The second piece of spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6 is also in verse 14: “Stand therefore…having put on the breastplate of righteousness….” There are two kinds of righteousness described in the Bible.
• Positional righteousness – In our March 27, 2013 blog entitled, The
Great Exchange, the scripture emphasized is II Corinthians 5:21:
For He [the Father] made Him [the Son] who knew no sin to be sin
for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The exchange described here is that Jesus took our sins – totally and
completely – and He gave us His own righteousness. Both sin and
righteousness are pictured as a garment in the Bible (see Isaiah 64:6
and Isaiah 61:10). By the Lord’s death on the cross, He disrobed our
filthy rags of sin. By His resurrection, He clothed us with His own
righteousness. We now stand before God as righteous as Jesus
David said it in a negative way in Psalm 32:1 and 2:
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity….
Paul quoted David exactly in Romans 4: 7 and 6, and then he dealt
with the subject in a positive way in Romans 8:1:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ
Before God we are perfectly righteous in Jesus Christ!
• Practical righteousness – This is the idea that we are to become more
and more like Jesus every day in the out-working of our Christian life.
Paul had this in mind as he wrote Colossians 1:9 and 10:
…that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and
spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord fully
pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the
knowledge of God;
Also in II Corinthians 3:18 Paul says,
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the
Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just
as by the Spirit of the Lord.
What I want to point out here is the idea behind “…being transformed into
the same image [the image of Jesus Christ] from glory to glory, just as by
the Spirit of the Lord.” We are to become more and more like Jesus as we
live our lives. That is the work of the Holy Spirit within us, as we cooperate
with Him. But “glory to glory” gives the sense of “day by day”, “small
change by small change” – a gradual and ongoing process that is life-long for
the Christian. The completion of that process John wrote about in I John 3:2:
Beloved, now are we the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed
what we shall be, but we know that, when He is revealed, we shall be like
Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
Until then, we are to become increasingly righteous in a practical way.
If anyone is going to successfully engage the devil and his minions in spiritual battle, he or she had better have on the breastplate of righteousness! Such a piece of armor covers the heart (and other vital organs). And you need to have Jesus Christ in your heart as your Savior – positional righteousness! And you need to follow Him in obedience as your Lord – practical righteousness! Without both kinds of righteousness, you will be unprotected in a very vital area, and unfit for the battle to which God has called us.
So, “Stand therefore…having put on the breastplate of righteousness…”!