Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, March 22, 2016
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” (Ephesians 6:14).
You might have a heart condition! I know you may be thinking I have actually lost it. How can I say from way across the seas that you might have a heart condition, especially if I am not a cardiologist? Even if I were, what if you live a healthy lifestyle and have none of the precursors to heart disease? Besides, were I a cardiologist, I have not even conducted tests to say such a thing. If that critical muscle that is pumping blood throughout your body were the actual context of my statement, you’d be right. But, as you have probably surmised, this condition of the heart is spiritual, not physical. The condition was passed down genetically from Adam to all of his descendants. The Bible says of God’s people who were being disobedient at the time, and this certainly applies to others: “Why should ye be stricken any more? Ye will revolt more and more: The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.” (Isaiah 1:5). Further, the Bible says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). We all have a heart condition.
Now it makes sense that Paul would use the breastplate imagery in the armor of God illustration. Not only would it be absolutely essential to have armor, sort of like a bulletproof vest, to protect the vital organs in a fierce battle, but the Scriptures add further imagery here. In the Old Testament system of sacrifices, the high priest wore a golden breastplate with 12 jewels representing the people of God. Not only that, in Scripture, jewels represent righteousness. The Bible says that Lucifer had every precious stone as his covering. The Bible also says that we should not be adorned outwardly, but rather inwardly with a meek and quiet spirit, which is extremely valuable in the sight of God. The inside (or heart) of the Old Testament sanctuary was beautified with precious coverings.
Notice that our theme text associates the breastplate covering with righteousness. Is your spiritual vitality protected by righteousness? The Bible pictures Christ as taking the fight to the enemy on our behalf using the same imagery. “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, And an helmet of salvation upon his head; And he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloke.” (Isaiah 59:17).
I love how cohesive the Scriptures are. Jesus is depicted as having on the breastplate of righteousness in the Old Testament. Paul exhorts us to have on the same thing in the New Testament. Now we are going to tie it all together. “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:6). “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30). In both testaments of Scripture, Jesus is our righteousness! Without His sacrifice, victory, and ever-living ministry on our behalf, we would have no righteousness. If we choose to rest our trust in Him and exchange our righteousness for His by faith, we will absolutely be healed of our heart condition, and our spiritual vitality will be protected. His righteous character is bulletproof.
Do you have your armor on?