14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness...
We focused last time on having our loins girt about with truth, today we want to focus on having on the breastplate of righteousness. The righteousness spoken of here is not our righteousness but His righteousness. Our righteousness is no breastplate but filthy rags. Our righteousness couldn't stop even one fiery dart from the enemy, we would be pierced through and our filthy rags of self-righteousness would ignite consuming us in a fire. This is the fate of all who die not having the righteousness of Christ, they'll enter into hell, being pierced through with many sorrows, ever dying in the flames of hell. We thank the Lord the He has provided us a far greater breastplate than one made from filthy rags, He has provided a breastplate that can quench and stop the fiery darts of Satan. We don't have our own righteousness but we traded in our filthy rags for His breastplate of righteousness when we, like Abraham, like David, like so many others, believed God and it was counted to us for righteousness.
This all-important piece of armour was among the costliest for God to provide for us. It cost God the Father his only begotten Son. It cost God the Son separation from His father and thirty-three years of temptation and trying, ending in the suffering of the cross. What a costly piece of equipment that has been provided for us, all for the saving and safety of God's people. God spared no expense in the salvation and safety of His people, not even His Son was spared. What a marvelous God we have, who would give all he had to save and keep safe the ones He loves. There is a danger when something is free, it is too often taken for granted and underappreciated. This gift of righteousness was made free to us but was so costly for our Lord. We need to be careful not to abuse this precious gift of righteousness. Would a soldier abuse the very thing that stood between him and death? No. His righteousness is what stands between us and death. Our eternal destiny has been sealed and that can never be broken but how many times have we seen marriages, churches, relationships die because of unrighteousness? Too many times. Solomon said in Proverbs 10:2 "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death" Righteousness delivers us from death! That is the work of a breastplate, delivering you from a death blow. Christ's righteousness delivers us from the eternal death of hell, and practical righteousness delivers us from the death blows of scandal, deceit, fornication and so many other fiery darts in Satan's arsenal that we have seen other brothers and sisters fall victim to.
Something that needs expounding on is the difference between Positional righteousness and practical righteousness. Positional righteousness speaks of our position in Christ, in Him we have been made eternally righteous through his sacrifice and atonement for our sin. As David said in Psalm 32:1-2 "A Psalm of David, Maschil. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."
David was speaking of his positional righteousness that is only available by salvation through faith. This righteousness isn't worked for but is "Imputed" or laid to our account. David had his fair share of unrighteousness, murder, adultery, etc... but God had forgiven him of all sin, past, present, and future. That is positional righteousness that is given to a person when they are saved. We are baptized(spiritually) into Christ and we have been forgiven of every sin, past, present, and future. Sadly, this wonderful truth is either denied or abused. Some believe that we are saved and placed in Christ but then our practical righteousness works in tandem with his positional righteousness to keep us saved. Practical righteousness keeps us from the practical consequences of unrighteousness and Positional righteousness keeps us from the positional consequences of unrighteousness. Basically, on earth, we reap what we sow, if we sow to the flesh we shall of the flesh reap corruption. In eternity, His people reap what He has sown. In eternity I have been made perfect by the blood of the lamb, I am currently becoming here what I already have been made there. There, He has perfected me and we sit together in heavenly places in Him[Ephesians 2:6]. Here, I am being conformed into His image. There, all things are new, here all things will be made new. Positionally I am saved from eternal damnation, practically I am being saved from a life of debauchery. The breastplate of Positional righteousness saves us from eternal death and the breastplate of practical righteousness saves us from a life full of heartache here on earth.
David is a perfect example of a man who wore the breastplate of Positional righteousness while not wearing the breastplate of practical righteousness. He had been saved and forgiven and wore the righteousness of Christ, we know he was a forgiven man, and "a man after God's own heart." We also see the fiery darts that pierced his heart and home when he took off the breastplate of practical righteousness in His sin with Bathsheba. He laid aside the breastplate of practical righteousness and Satan took his shot, He fired lust, adultery, murder, and a barrage of other fiery darts in David's direction and there was nothing there to quench them or stop them. Davids's family fell apart, death came to the kingdom, to his family and the only thing that wasn't killed was Davids imputed, positional righteousness. 2Sa 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin...
David's sin had been put away but the earthly consequences were not.
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness, to me, has a two-fold meaning. One, being saved and having on His righteousness but what I believe the text here in Ephesians 6 is dealing with more so is living in practical righteousness. When we live in unrighteousness we are unguarded from the fiery darts Satan throws our way. When we lay aside the armour of Holy living long enough to indulge the flesh, be sure Satan has his minions watching and waiting for an opportunity to run you through with a death blow to the heart. Soldiers wouldn't take off their armour while they were on the battlefield, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Too many times as Christians our flesh becomes tired of the burden of practical righteousness, it is seen as a burden instead of protection and before long it comes off. We lay aside holy living for a lighter more comfortable lifestyle that isn't so taxing. Then comes the terrible consequences, fiery darts fly from the enemy finding their lodging place in our hearts. The darts of adultery have killed churches that relaxed, the darts of lust have killed marriages that became too relaxed, and the sad, old stories go on and on. Put on the breastplate of righteous living and be sure that the enemy will have a hard time finding a place to lodge his arrows.
Onward Christian Soldiers!!