Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14)
The first and foremost piece of armour we must equip ourselves with is the belt of the truth of the Word of God. Our whole life and worldview must be girded in the sound truth that is only found in Jesus. We must understand the truth, we must believe in the truth, we must love the truth. However, that is not enough. It must follow that we put on the breastplate of righteousness.
The breastplate of righteousness speaks of putting on practical righteousness, in other words, putting on holiness or godly living. If we are in Christ, our life has been justified by Christ’s perfect righteousness. We have been made right with God because Christ’s righteousness covers us. All our sins, past, present and future, have been forgiven, and eternal life is ours. This has been done and is completed in the past. We are already clothed in this kind of righteousness if we have believed. The kind of righteousness Paul talks about now is practical righteousness. It is about putting off the old self and putting on the new. It is about sanctification and turning away from sin, and obeying God.
If we look at the Roman soldier’s armour once again, the breastplate was the biggest and most essential armour to protect all the vital organs. A breastplate would have been made out of thick leather with durable metal plating and chains. A breastplate would protect the soldier’s heart and lungs from enemy blow whether by sword, spear or arrow. Without the breastplate, a soldier would be very vulnerable and at a high risk of sustaining life-threatening injuries.
So too in our Christian life. Without obedience to God’s Word and pursuit of holy living, we put ourselves in grave danger towards the devil’s blows. It is vitally important that we not only hear the Word and study it deeply but that we apply it in our lives and walk in it. We must put off sin in our life and put on holiness.
In Ephesians 4:24-5:19, Paul goes through what putting on practical righteousness looks like. Paul describes what daily Christian living should look like. v. 24 says, “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”. This looks like, v. 25, putting away lies and speaking the truth to our neighbours. v. 26, possessing holy anger but not hoarding anger in bitterness lest the sun goes down while we are angry. In other words, don’t hold grudges. A point to make is v. 27 talks about giving no opportunity to the devil. Observe how our daily actions to obey God in the little things are vital in arming our defence against the blows of Satan.
Continuing, v. 28 talks about honest and diligent work. Putting on righteousness means putting away laziness and working hard with the things God has entrusted us (e.g. studying and learning as school students). v. 29 talks about being righteous in what we say. We must speak to build others up, not with corrupt words. v. 31-32 calls us to put away bitterness that leads to anger and slander and instead put on forgiveness as Christ forgave us.
In Chapter 5, Paul calls us to walk in love as Christ loved us in His sacrifice on the cross. He calls us to put off sexual immorality. He calls us to let off filthy and foolish talk or crude jokes and instead replace it with thanksgiving. He calls us to expose the dark and live in the light and be wise in how we walk.
Take time to go through these verses yourself and examine your life to these applications. Does God’s Word only come in one ear and out the other? Do we strive for personal holiness? Sanctification is 100% our duty. We cannot do it without God. However, we are the ones who must actively repent of sin and put on righteousness.
As Christians, let’s get serious about living for God. If we ignore God’s call to practical righteousness, we are letting the devil in the assault and tamper with our spiritual lives. Don’t think you can sin now and repent later. Most times, there is not another opportunity. Even if there is, Satan would have successfully wasted the entirety of your lifetime. Learn to know God through His Word, learn to obey God by His grace.
Lord, please help me to not only be a listener of Your Word but a doer of Your Word. Please forgive me for my ignorance in obeying You. You know the areas where I disobey and let Satan come in. Please reveal to me even more where I fail. Give me the grace to obey You. Teach me to put on the breastplate of righteousness that I may stand against the devil’s schemes and live a life glorifying and pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.