The second piece of armor is also found Ephesians 6:14. “Stand firm therefore . . . having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”
The Roman soldier’s breastplate protected his chest, his heart. What is the best protection for your heart in spiritual warfare? The best protection is to be covered in Christ’s righteousness . This is talking about our salvation. A lot of Christians don’t understand all that happened to them when they got saved. A lot of Christiana only know that Christ forgave their sins. But that’s not all that happened. If you knew Jesus Christ as your Savior, not only were your sins forgiven, but Christ gave you His perfect righteousness. That is, God credited the righteousness of Christ to your spiritual account. You are righteous today as a Christian because of this transfer. The theological term for this transaction is imputation. Christ’s righteousness was put on your account. As a Christian, you are not simply a forgiven sinner. You stand as righteous in God’s sight as Jesus Himself, because Jesus’ righteousness is wrapped around you like a robe. When Satan accuses you, you can point to your righteous standing before God. So you don’t get up in the morning determined to try to be righteous. That’s human effort. Instead, you get up in the morning and say, “Because of Christ, I am righteous today.” The breastplate of righteousness is part of the armor you wear all the time, because everyday you are dressed in Christ’s righteousness. One reason so many Christians exercise so little authority in spiritual warfare is that they don’t really know who they are. That’s why in his writing. Paul always starts with who you are in Christ before he gets to what you are to do for Christ. The book of Ephesians is a good example. Paul outlines our Christians identity in chapters 1 to 3, then he spends chapter 4 to 6 telling us how to act.
If you don’t get those two things in the right order, you are going to wind up with a lot of human effort without much divine power. You can’t act with authority against Satan until you know what authority you possess. In other words, we act like turkeys sometimes because we forget we are eagles. Instead of soaring spiritually, we waddle. The breastplate of righteousness speaks of our exalted position in Christ. As we put it on each day, we have protection against Satan and his demons, because they cant just hang out in an environment of righteousness. Of coarse we fail at times and act unrighteously. But that’s when we confess our sin (1 John 1:9) and keep on going.
You don’t lose your breastplate just because you blow it. Righteousness isn’t just something you practice. It’s your identity. You are righteous in Jesus Christ. Let me tell you one more thing before we move on. You are a righteous person, God is going to help you pursue things that enable you to act like who you are and help you avoid things that do not enhance your righteousness. This means He will have to discipline you on occasion. One day my granddaughter, Kariss, was running around the house with scissors. I told her to give them to me because I was afraid she would fall with them and get hurt. But Kariss didn’t want to give me the scissors. She wanted to run around with them and do her own thing because she wanted to cut some paper. So I had to catch her and take the scissors away from her. God will do the same for us, not because He doesn’t want us to have any fun. He doesn’t want us falling on the things we grasp and hurting ourselves. He’s after our long-term blessing. So our prayer for each day as we put on the breastplate should be, “Lord, I thank You that You have already made me righteous. Help me today to live up to what I already am.”