Standing Firm in the Last Days – The Breastplate of Righteousness
I am currently sharing a series of messages at SonRise Church called “Standing Firm in the Last Days.” I personally believe either this generation will be (or maybe – are) living in the last days or our children will be. The question is whether or not we are ready to stand. I read Ephesians 6:10-20 with fresh eyes and spirit some months ago and believe God gave us the list of spiritual armor we are to put on so that we can not only endure any evil days that may come, but also stand against the evil day, which must point to the last days the scripture talk about leading up to Christ’s return. You can listen to any of the messages by clicking here. Today, I shared some thoughts about what it is to put on the breastplate of righteousness. I think we have a difficult time with this piece of the armor, and I think our spiritual success and victory hinge on whether or not we fully apply the truths represented by this piece of the armor. If we are going to put on righteousness, we must first come to the place where we realize the righteousness we put on is not ours but Christ’s. It is interesting that throughout the scripture, God uses the phrase “put on” to admonish us to apply a certain truth or live out a certain truth. It is like putting on a piece of clothing. God says we are to put on the righteousness of Christ. Isaiah 61:10 explains it well: “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness…” Note the prophet said it is God who clothes us with his robe of righteousness, not ourselves. Why do you suppose this is such a difficult concept to grasp? I think it’s because we have a hard time realizing God is the only one who can credit righteousness to our account (see Romans 4:1-8). We are somehow naturally wired to depend upon ourselves for our own righteousness. It may somehow be connected to our sinful pride as we think that we can possibly earn a right standing before God through our righteous acts. Our righteousness begins with Christ’s righteousness being given to us. We must not be deceived by the evil one into thinking we do not need Christ’s righteousness in order to right before God. It is only as we first receive Christ’s righteousness that we can ever hope to live in righteousness through obedience to Christ’s command. With all of that said, why do you think the breastplate of righteousness is included in the list of spiritual armor? Do you think this armor is offered to us for last days living? It has occurred to me
that we will not embrace righteousness during a time when “wickedness increases and the hearts of many will run cold” and during a time when people will pursue sin instead of righteousness (2 Timothy 3:1-5) if we are not covered and consumed with Christ’s righteousness. It is then, and only then, that we will act and will to fulfill God’s good purpose (Philippians 2:13).