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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Putting on the Breastplate

You are probably familiar with Ephesians 6:10 – 20; it is the passage on the armor of God.  If you are like me you have used that imagery in prayer.  I have spoken on that passage – five messages on the armor of God.  This morning I was in Isaiah 59 and read again verse 17.  It is the passage to which Paul is referring in Ephesians 6:14, when he refers to the “breastplate of righteousness.”  Paul also refers to a “breastplate of faith,” in 1 Thessalonians 5:8.
Our understanding of Scripture will continue to develop and improve as we continually engage in time in the Word.
As I was thinking through this imagery this afternoon, it dawned on me that I have been reading and understanding this incorrectly.  When I think of putting on that armor, I have thought of putting on that breastplate of righteousness as living a righteous life in Christ.  That is, it is incumbent on me to live righteously in order to stand firm against the schemes of the evil one.  Yes, I can only do that through Christ, but it is my obedience in and through Him that is that righteousness.  I believe that is wrong.

The righteousness is not mine, it is Christ’s.  I have no righteousness apart from Him.  I am to put on His righteousness.  It is not just that I can finally behave righteously in Christ.  It is that He is my righteousness.  There is not much – strike that – anything that I can do to approximate His righteousness, I can’t do better – I am a fool to try.  It is only as I clothe myself with Him that I can stand.  [Do a quick search on “put on” in Paul’s letters as back up to this…]

One point of this is that our understanding of Scripture continually improves.  Not just mine, all of us.  That includes all of our favorite pastors, authors, speakers, etc.  All of us are at some level getting it wrong and learning more each day.  Why is that?  We are studying the infinite, with finite understanding.  Therefore we are – or should – be continually learning, revising, and sharpening our understanding of Him.  That process only ends when we see Him face to face.

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