Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (March 27, 2023)

As we continue looking at the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6, we come today to the “breastplate of righteousness.” Remember, Paul is using the armor of the Roman legionnaire to describe for us the spiritual protections that we have in the Spirit. This breastplate is an essential item of the soldier’s armor!

The Roman breastplate protected the vital organs, i.e., the heart, lungs, kidneys and bowels. Instant death could occur if the enemy’s sword penetrated this area of the body! Without his breastplate, the Roman soldier was highly vulnerable to attack. Likewise, the Christian soldier is vulnerable to the blows of the enemy without his breastplate of righteousness.

What is the “breastplate of righteousness”? First, let’s look at what it is NOT. It is NOT self-righteousness! The Pharisee of Luke 18 did not have on the right breastplate. He was looking to his own righteousness for his daily justification, when in fact he was more vulnerable than ever to the attacks of Satan! At one time, the Apostle Paul relied on this type of false righteousness: “If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. . . .” Gal. 3:4-8. Notice that the Apostle Paul counted all his self-righteousness but “dung” in the face of TRUE righteousness, which is found only in Christ! A breastplate of SELF-righteousness is a poor protector.

But the breastplate of righteousness is also NOT simply the imputed righteousness of Christ. The FACT of His imputed righteousness is certainly the foundation of the Christian’s life, and the reason he can now live righteously in this terminal world; however, the righteousness under consideration here has to do with the RECOGNITION of that imputed righteousness in the Christian’s life, and the APPLICATION of it to his daily walk! The idea here is of practical or “practiced” righteousness in your everyday living, living out the imputed righteousness of Christ.

Thus, the breastplate of righteousness refers to the practical, personal holiness of the Christian soldier’s everyday life. We ought to live soberly and righteously in this present evil world! Many a warrior has been taken out of the battle by a failure of godly living; remember King David? Remember Samson? What about the modern-day scandals involving preachers and other church leaders? We must avoid practical unrighteousness, and live a daily righteous life if we would avail ourselves of the breastplate of righteousness that God has provided for us here and now!

Why do we need this type breastplate? First of all, without this item of armor, we are unprotected! Our inner being needs protection; remember, the Roman breastplate protected the vital organs of the body, from neck down to the top of the thighs, much like a bullet-proof vest today. Right living protects our affections, desires, will, understanding, emotions, and allows us to focus on the battle at hand.

Secondly, without this item of armor, we are unprepared for the daily struggle! Remember, we are in a “race”: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. . . .” Heb. 12:1. If we are weighed down by sin, we will not be able to run as fast nor fight as hard!

Thirdly, without this item of armor, we are unassured in the battle! God doesn’t want timid warriors: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim. 1:7. My greatest times of doubt and fear are when I’m straying from godly living! I always feel like “damaged goods” in the aftermath of some sinful activity, often even questioning my eternal salvation! I’m not a very good spiritual warrior in those times.

So, finally, how do we “put on” this breastplate? First, we must be grounded in the truth:  the breastplate must ALWAYS be fastened to the “belt of truth” (i.e. word of God)! Second, we must turn to God in times of temptation:  leaning to our own understanding will ALWAYS get us into trouble (see James 4:4-7; Prov. 3:5-6; Prov. 14:12, 16:25). Third, we must guard our hearts. Remember Prov. 4:23: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Fourth, we must do our best to avoid the snares of life (see  Mat. 5:29-30; 1 Cor. 6:18 – flee fornication; 2 Cor. 6:14-18 – do not be unequally yoked, etc.). And finally, we must “mortify” – that is, put to death – the flesh (see Col. 3:5-11).

I hope these thoughts help you in your daily walk this week.

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor