We are discussing how we as Christians can stand firm during tough times and especially in the times we are living in today. It seems as if our world and our nation are spinning out of control, but the Bible gives us instruction on how to stand strong and firm in turbulent times.
Described in Ephesians 6:14-17 as:
1 – The Belt of Truth
2 – Body Armor of God’s Righteousness
3 – Shoes for the Good News
4 – The Shield of Faith
5 – The Helmet of Salvation
6 – The Sword of the Spirit
Last month we discussed the Belt of Truth. This issue we will discuss the Armor of Righteousness, or as some other translations have it, the “Breastplate” of Righteousness.
Ancient warriors often wore a front portion of plate armor that was often made out of leather, bronze or iron. It covered the front of the torso and would protect them from injury to their heart and other body parts. Like those ancient warriors, we must don our spiritual breastplate of righteousness to withstand the attacks of the enemy. But first, what “righteousness” are we talking about?
First, understand what righteousness is. Biblical righteousness simply means to be in “right standing with God”. It is the quality of being right in the eyes of God. There are many ways that people try to get right with God and there are many cult groups that believe that the way to be righteous with the Lord is through doing good works and being a nice person. In other words, many believe that there is something that we can do within our own human power and strength to be “good enough” to be in right standing with God and to go to Heaven. But this is far from the truth. The Scriptures make it very clear that no one is righteous in their own power and strength.
Romans 3:10 – NKJV – As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one…”
Mankind in his sinful state can never be righteous before a holy God. However, God provided a way for us to be made righteous and that was by sending Jesus Christ, His Son into the earth (John 3:10). At the Cross of Calvary, Jesus died for our sins and his shed blood forever made an atonement (reparation for a wrong) for the sins of mankind. So now, whoever repents and fully believes in Him will not only be in right standing with God the Father, but has the guarantee of going to Heaven to be with the Lord forever, who has risen from the dead! This is the good news of the gospel, that we can now fellowship with God because of what Jesus Christ has done. However, this righteousness is NOT OUR OWN. It is God’s righteousness that has been given to us.
Romans 3:21-22 – NKJV – 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference.
So when we put on the armor of righteousness, we put on the righteousness that has been provided for us and that is the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. We cannot earn this nor can we work for it. We get it through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ and Him alone.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – NKJV – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
We are told in Ephesians 6:11 to stand against the “schemes” of the devil. One of the ways that the enemy of our soul tries to trip us up is to get us so introspective of our shortcomings, that we don’t “feel” as though we are in right standing with God. Though we have the Holy Spirit within us and God’s grace to aid us, some days our flesh gets the best of us causing some to fall into condemnation. It is here where the enemy of our soul can have a “heyday” with us, causing us to question whether we are really in right standing with God. With some Christians, he even tries to tell you that God no longer loves you or that He is “mad” at you. This is where we have to make sure that the armor of righteousness is secure around us so that we are not robbed of our joy in the Lord and that we can be confident in His love for us. Remember the Scripture:
Lamentations 3:22-23 – NLT – The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.23 Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.
If you have a bad day and your flesh gets the best of you, just repent, turn it over to God and rely on His grace to help you overcome (1 John 1:9).
The other way that the enemy tries to get you is through the secular system. When a culture goes against God’s Word, the effects of that culture tries to make you feel as though there is something wrong with you because you do not agree with everything that is being promoted. This can wear down many Christians to the point of where they may begin to really think that there is something wrong with the way that they think. That maybe they are too “rigid” and possibly “self-righteous” and even some begin to question their faith and what they really believe. This again is where we need to put on the armor of righteousness and tighten up the “belt of truth” that we discussed last issue. This is where it takes boldness to gird ourselves in humility and say “I stand not
in my own righteousness which is self-righteousness, but I stand in the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and the power of His Might”. And despite the way that the culture may be moving and all the accusations that may come along with it, you can be confident and strong in Gods ability and grace to keep you because of the righteousness that He has imputed to you. This is how we learn to be overcomers.
So be encouraged Christians. Don’t let the culture define who you are. Let Christ and His Word define you. And remember, it’s His righteousness that we stand firm in, not our own.
Next we’ll tackle the third part of our armor and that’s “Shoes for the Good News”. God Bless!