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Discover the Book - Apr. 14, 2009

  • 2009 Apr 14

Wearing His Righteousness


There is an army vaster than any even to match on earth. An army of fierce and deadly warriors greater than Caesuras, Stalins, Hitlers, or Ghengis Khans put together. This army is stronger than Alexander's invincible hordes and the Father of Lies, the Murderer from the beginning, heads this army…his name – Satan. 

There is a war swirling around us 

Yes, Satan is alive and well on planet Earth.  We can see the trail he leaves wherever he goes.

  • Behind divisions is the slanderer, the devil
  • Behind temptation is the tempter from Eden
  • Behind the lies is the liar and father of lies
  • Behind death and blood shed is he who is the murderer from the beginning
  • Behind confusion is the one whose name is destroyer and Apollyon 

The victory comes from choosing Christ 

Armor for Paul was more than pictures from daily life of the nearly omnipresent Roman Legionaires. Very literally, the "whole armor of God” he describes is a picture of Jesus Christ. In verses 14-17 is a list of the combat equipment that the Holy Spirit issues to every believer at the moment of salvation. By faith and obedient experience we find Christ is: 

  1. Choosing to wear his Truth that is the belt of truthfulness. John 14:6  Christ, saturates us with word of God and it becomes part of our very life.
  2. Choosing to wear his Righteousness  that is the breastplate we wear. Rom. 13:14.
  3. Choosing to wear his Peace as the shoes of the gospel of peace. Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
  4. Choosing to wear his Faith   as our shield of faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 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.
  5. Choosing to wear his Salvation      as our helmet. Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  6. Choosing to wear his Word   as the sword of the Spirit when we are letting His Word dwell in us. Colossians 3:16-17 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,   

We must put on his righteousness.

How do we clothe ourselves, or put on these wonderful new attitudes and actions? Well, Ephesians 6:14 tells us it is by putting on the armor or clothing of Christ. We saw yesterday it starts in the Word as we wrap our lives up with the belt of God's Word! 

1.       Belt of Truth. To the Christian soldier a belt of truth means God's Word conforms every part of our life into "honesty," "truthfulness," "integrity," and "sincerity". So the Scriptures surround every part of our life: private and public, sacred and secular, business and church, recreation and worship. All of our life is under the Lordship of Christ and the authority of His Word.    

Warning: Dishonesty brings defeat!.   

2.       Breastplate of Righteousness.  The breastplate was a heavy piece of armor that completely surrounded the body. To the Christian soldier this means a pursuit of personal, daily righteousness. We learn this can only be maintained by confession and repentance of sin.  

Warning: Impurity will bring defeat!. 

The protection against those attacks of Satan is the breastplate of righteousness. Righteousness is to be taken and wrapped around our whole being, as it were, just as ancient soldiers covered themselves with breastplates of armor. 

What is the righteousness we are to put on? 

First of all, Paul can not speaking here of self-righteousness. God condemns that as the worst form of sin. Sadly though, it is with self-made armor many Christians clothe themselves. They think that their own activities, self-motivated character and rule-keeping legalistic behavior pleases God. But instead of protection, self-righteousness is an invitation for Satan’s attack! Why? Jesus warned it was the pathway to Hell. Matthew 5:20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah also warned even for the well meaning saint, any self-induced righteous looking behavior has the stench to God that old, bloody bandages or used diapers would have after a couple of days to us.  Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing,  and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.   So beware of self-righteousness.  

Secondly, this isn’t the glorious imputed righteousness we received the instant we were saved either. We already have been clothed in the dress of heaven’s saints. We are wrapped in the once and for all blood washed robes of Christ’s sacrifice. Remember, God made Christ, “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).  

Wearing Christ's Righteousness: our Glorious eternal Dress 

We can never attain God’s standard of righteousness on our own, so it comes as a gift from Jesus Christ. 

So Paul is not asking us to put on what God has already eternally clothed us with in Christ.  This imputed righteousness is our secure and never ending protection from Hell. But, it is not what protects us from the roaring, prowling lion who seeks to devour us. Satan must be fended off by the righteousness we choose to live out by grace in the power of the Holy Spirit! 

God's Word is constantly calling us as saints to engage our will in putting on the new creatures we are in Jesus. Look at the lists describing the practical righteousness of a life of obedience to God’s Word. Ephesians 4:24–27 and Col. 3:9–14. 

Paul balances these two facets of true righteousness in Philippians 3. Salvation is solely from God,

“not having a righteousness of [his] own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (v. 9).  

Daily choices of denying the flesh were up to him:

“Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (vv. 12–14).  

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