"...having on the Breastplate of Righteousness;"
How do we don the Breastplate of Righteousness?
Is it done by being the best, most obedient, Christians we can be according to the Word of
God--by living, as much as possible, holy lives (as the scriptures do command)?
The answer is no--a thousand times NO.
There are those who think this is possible though, and the scriptures denounce them as being in
rebellion against God, because they go about attempting to establish their own righteousness and, because of that,
refuse to submit to the righteousness that only God can provide.
Let's talk about this group for a moment (not referring to any particular sect or denomination--but
to general practices--whoever the description may fit).
In Colossians 2:20-23 we see some who are described as living by a set of man made rules
(that is anything not specifically found in scripture), and even though they believe they are practicing godly self control
(which we should, indeed, all do), they are, in reality, worshipping their own will power!
The Prophet Isaiah said, "There is none righteous." Not even one. The very best
righteousness, we can produce, is as a filthy (soiled--menstrous rag--Isaiah 64:6).
Not a pretty picture is it?
But that's what the Bible says. So how in the world can we put on something the scriptures are clear
that we can never, no matter how hard we try, attain?
There is one way--only one way, and that is through the awesome sacrifice of Jesus Christ--the only
sinless man who ever lived.
As a perfect--sinless--man, he took the punishment that should have been meted out to you and I--every
bit of it (see Suffering or Live Forever on the navigation bar).
Because he did that, the Bible says we are made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21).
If we have made the decision to belong to Jesus Christ, when God looks at us, he sees only Jesus
(Colossians 3:3). That's what it means to be Hid in Christ.
If that is the case, if we have truly been given the righteousness we need, through the sacrifice
of Christ, why are we commanded to put on something the scriptures say we already have?
Because we forget that fact.
And it is critical that we remember it.
In the heat of the battle, our enemy--the accuser of the brethren--loves to remind us of
what sinful wretches we are (and oohh yes we are).
But if we listen to the accuser--we will be defeated by our own guilt and shame--which have
already been removed. So, if we stubbornly persist in clinging to it--we find ourselves in sin.
Whatever is not faith is sin.
And how do we put on our strength? The Word says, "Be STRONG in the Lord..," The joy
of the Lord is our strength. How can we be full of joy and strong in the Lord if we are wallowing in unbelief
and sin concerning the righteousness we have freely been given?
Remember, fact and TRUTH are not always synonymous.
Yes, the fact is we are sinful wretches. But the TRUTH is... (remember the first piece
of armour that must be in place?) that the blood of Jesus Christ has covered our sin, and through him, by some unfathomable
miracle, we are made clean and righteous.
So, "Come, let us reason together saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be
as white as snow."