” For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” Psalms 5:12
A soldier never goes into battle without the breast plate because it protects the vital organs. Today we use the modern version, the bullet proof vest. One of the main tactics of our enemy, the devil, is to shoot his fiery darts or bullets at our heart where we are born again, metaphorically speaking.
When we do not fully understand our spiritual position in Jesus Christ then we become easy prey for the devil to wound us and make us ineffective in God’s kingdom. We must therefore understand what “righteousness means” and why we need to be protected by it!
What righteousness is not is, a ticket to walk around like super heroes putting the devil in his place and shouting up a storm, which is a common misconception among some Christians. Rather, righteousness is an imputation of Jesus Christ’s attribute of ethics, morals, and keeping of the whole law. In other words righteousness is accredited to our account. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is based on the free gift of grace and not one’s own behavior, moral or otherwise.
Legally speaking, righteousness is where the guilty party is judged as guilty, but then are deemed righteous based on the clemency of the king, ruler, or authority. In other words the guilty party is acquitted of guilt based on the mercy of the court and not on facts or evidence of their guilt. That is why we cannot bring any righteousness of our own before God; we are all condemned guilty under the law and in God’s holy court of justice.
Jesus told the people in his word “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20
The church rulers of the day were righteous in the eyes of men. They did good works, adhered to every jot and title of the law and even added some of their own rules to make themselves look real good. However, Jesus said that inside they were like old tombs filled with dead men’s bones. They looked nice on the outside like monuments,shiny all white and pure, but inside the heart they were dead- dead to God’s righteousness, dead to God’s life- just empty vessels filled with old dead laws that had no power to give life.
Jesus said that in order to enter into God’s kingdom one must be born again, born of God, filled with his Holy Spirit ,made alive, raised from the dead! In this way they could be accounted righteous, acquitted of sin and considered holy unto God.
You see religious church going folks look pretty good on the outside, by being righteous according to the law and men’s standard, but God’s standard is absolute perfection and unless one can achieve this high level of goodness then he is not able to attain salvation through the law. Salvation is a free gift bestowed by a merciful king and judge.
So as we can see the breastplate of righteousness is a powerful piece of amour in spiritual warfare for unless you are clothed in the devil will take you out! In fact he already has you!
How is this righteousness attained? The Bible says righteousness is attained through faith in Jesus Christ. Not just head belief but the Faith of God imparted by his grace. Do you desire this kind of righteousness? The righteousness that comes only by faith ? Then pray for it, for as many as thirst for this righteousness from God provided through faith in Jesus Christ, that is apart from the law, apart from works, apart from self achievements of any kind shall be filled!
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
“For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” Matthew 5:20
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” Romans 3:21-27