Ephesians 6:10 begins a passage in the Bible commonly called "The Armor of God." The apostle Paul describes the armor that a soldier in God’s army needs to wear to stand against the spiritual attacks of our common enemy, Satan. In Ephesians 6:14, he talks about the "breastplate of righteousness," saying to "put on" this piece of armor. That indicates that we do not automatically wear our "righteousness" all the time. We must decide to put it on.
In a physical suit of armor, the breastplate protects the vital organs of the body, including the heart. The breastplate of a Roman soldier was typically made of bronze or chainmail and was fitted with loops or buckles that attached it to a thick belt. If the belt was loose, the breastplate would slip right off. The connection between the breastplate and the belt is seen in Paul’s analogy, as he listed the belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness one right after the other (Ephesians 6:14).
The breastplate that God gives us protects our hearts from evil and deception—just like a coat of mail protects the heart from the weapons of an enemy. As we continue to wear Christ’s breastplate, we develop a heart of purity like His, which leads to righteous actions (1 Peter 1:15). In fact, Isaiah 59:17 describes GOD as wearing a breastplate of righteousness, so when we put on our breastplate, we are following in His steps.
The breastplate of righteousness is first given to us when we choose to believe in Jesus as our Savior from the punishment of sin (John 3:16-17). We have no righteousness of our own to cover our sin (Romans 3:23)—even our good works are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). That is why we need Jesus!
"God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." —2 Corinthians 5:21
When you accept Jesus as your Savior, Christ’s righteousness is "credited to your account," and you are given the breastplate of righteousness, which bears Christ's name. It's like Jesus is saying, "Your righteousness won't be sufficient; here, take mine." When Satan shoots his darts of doubt or arrows of anxiety, telling you that you could never be good enough to earn salvation or forgiveness, then the breastplate of righteousness protects you.
This piece of your spiritual armor keeps your heart and soul protected from lies. The breastplate of righteousness reminds you that your salvation is not from any inherent goodness you possess or your good deeds but rather that it is God's loving gift to you. Those who have chosen Jesus as their Savior are eternally secure in Christ’s righteousness (Ephesians 2:8-9; Jude 24).
After we receive the gift of salvation, we need to continually "put on" the breastplate of righteousness by choosing to walk in the way of righteousness (Proverbs 4:18). We do this by praying, reading and studying God’s Word, seeking God's will above everything else (Matthew 6:33), and turning away from sin (Acts 3:19).
Any armor can be worn incorrectly or ignored, resulting in negative consequences. When we say "no" to God, that creates a chink in our armor—a weakness that allows Satan’s arrows (lies) to get through (Ephesians 6:16). Other factors that could interfere with the integrity and effectiveness of our breastplate of righteousness include carelessness (1 Peter 5:8), unbelief (Hebrews 3:12), disobedience, tolerating sin in our lives, or allowing earthly concerns to distract us from seeking God’s righteousness first. When we take off the breastplate, we minimize its power to protect us. That is why we need to stay vigilant in putting on (and keeping on) God’s armor to protect us against the schemes of the devil.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." —Ephesians 6:12
While we are in a spiritual battle, God has not left us alone nor defenseless. He has given us the necessary tools to stand against the evil one. His power and presence also go with us (Romans 8:31-39).
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies." —Romans 8:31-33
In our spiritual battles, God has given us spiritual armor to protect us. The breastplate of righteousness is the second piece listed in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-24). We have no righteousness of our own to cover our sin (Romans 3:23)—even our good works are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). That is why we need Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21)! After salvation, we need to continually "put on" the breastplate of righteousness by choosing to walk in the WAY of righteousness (Proverbs 4:18). This piece of your spiritual armor keeps your heart and soul protected from Satan's lies. The breastplate of righteousness reminds you that your salvation is not from any inherent goodness or good deeds but rather that it is God's loving gift to you.
Hanna loves spending time with kids and teens. She enjoys being detectives with them to investigate God's Word to discover truths to answer any questions. She is the co-author of a newly published apologetics curriculum for children and teaches one online for highschoolers-adults. To learn more about her ministry you can visit networkerstec.com. For fun, she likes to play Ultimate Frisbee, read historical fiction, and paint.