Armor: Breastplate of Righteousness

Armor: Breastplate of Righteousness

Perry Duggar |

The Breastplate of Righteousness, which includes justification and sanctification, enables us to resist Satan’s assaults.

Armor: Breastplate of Righteousness
Spiritual Warfare – Part 2
Perry Duggar
October 2, 2022

I. Introduction: We continue our message series on Spiritual Warfare.

  • Ephesians 6:10-14. C/R: 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Hebrews 10:14

A. Ephesians 6:13-14 (NLT)— Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. (Theme: Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)Stand firm… with the breastplate of righteousness in place…)

  1. Paul was imprisoned in Rome when he wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus.
  2. He was likely using the armor worn by his Roman guards to illustrate our need for spiritual preparation to engage in combat with the devil and his demons.
  3. The breastplate extended from the soldier’s neck to his waist; often, with a back piece.
  4. Usually, the breastplate was made of bronze, or sometimes, tough leather, but the more affluent officers often wore a coat of mail, which was made of metal links or plates.
  5. The breastplate protected the chest cavity where vital organs—the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs—were located and wounds from swords, spears or arrows could be fatal.

B. What is the significance of a breastplate for spiritual warfare?

The breastplate of righteousness represents justification and sanctification.

  1. Righteousness means “being or acting rightly” (according to God’s standards).
    Justification = declared perfect righteousness
    (positional righteousness, standing)
    Sanctification = developing practical righteousness (experiential righteousness)
  2. Justification and sanctification are connected; our position will be reflected in our practice.
  3. Hebrews 10:14 (NLT)— For by that one offering [our High Priest sacrificed Himself] He forever made perfect [justification] those who are being made holy [sanctification] .
  4. The Hebrew words translated holy and holiness mean “set apart, separate, or different.”
  5. God is “set apart” from His human creations by His absolute moral purity.
  6. For God, holiness is not an action or a set of behaviors; it is His essence, but not ours.
  7. 1 Peter 1:15–16 (NLT)— But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
  8. How can we be holy? Can we reflect God’s holiness in the way we speak, act, live?
  9. Romans 6:6 (NLT) We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
  10. After being born again, the Holy Spirit enables us to live righteously, holy, like God.
  11. For our purposes, righteousness meansbeing and acting rightly according to God, holiness means set apart by God for His purpose; similar, not synonymous, terms.
  12. We need to wear both types of righteousness, justification and sanctification, to withstand the assaults of the forces of Satan.

B. How righteousness resists Satan

1. Justification, [is] being right with God.

  1. To resist Satan, we must know and understand, that we are completely right, and fully accepted, by God.
  2. Justification refers to our standing before God, our judge, who has declared us perfectly righteous.
  3. God has pronounced us not guilty, sinless, pure, perfect.
  4. Why would a holy God declare imperfect people, who do sin, innocent?
  5. The answer is: Jesus came to earth as a human, lived a sinless life and died an undeserved death, substituting Himself for us. (Romans 3:22-26)
  6. His perfect life and undeserved death is credited to all who believe in Him.
  7. Jesus stood in our place to be punished, now we stand in His position, justified, perfected.
  8. APP.: Do you know that you are right with God because He declared that you are?

Justification [enables us to resist Satan because it]…

  • Removes guilt. (Romans 3:22-26; 8:1-2; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:9-11)

  1. Romans 8:1–2 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
  2. Even after we have been forgiven, the devil’s demons will remind us of our past sinful lives as they tempt us to return to that disobedience.
  3. They will whisper, “Who do you think you are? You know what you’ve done. Do you think you deserve to be forgiven? What if these Christians found out about your past?”
  4. Satan will accuse us to, destroy our peace, disable us with shame, damage our service, and drive us back into disobedience.
  5. Some of us have been silenced by Satan’s attacking ridicule.
  6. We are truly Christian, but we are immobilized by regret and lacking in joy.
  7. We don’t serve, or invite, or tell our spiritual story, because we think we are unworthy.
  8. The truth is you are unworthy, we all are, if our qualification for service was based on our personal righteousness—but it’s not; it’s based on Jesus’ righteousness by grace.
  9. G race is unmerited favor, undeserved kindness; God’s reason for declaring you perfect!
  10. 1 Corinthians 1:30b (NLT) —… Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin.
  11. APP.: Is your guilt gone? Forgive yourself!

Justification [also enables us to]…

  • Rejects doubts. (John 5:24; 10:28-30; Romans 4:5-8; 5:5; Galatians 5:5)

  1. John 5:24 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, those who listen to My message and believe in God who sent Me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”
  2. Some of us are incapacitated by insecurity about our faith caused by self-doubt.
  3. We question whether the sovereign God of the universe could really care about us.
  4. Satan’s forces know your doubts about yourself, your worth, your significance, your acceptability to God; they seek to amplify your uncertainties and intensify your fears.
  5. Satan wants you to live in anxiety, constantly worrying about whether God really has accepted you, whether He loves and wants you, so you are insecure about your faith.
  6. If you have trusted Jesus, been born again, adopted into God’s family, you have already received eternal life, you will never be condemned for your sins because they have all been judged and punished fully in Christ’s crucifixion. (Romans 4:5-8)
  7. John 10:28 (NLT)“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one [certainly not the devil and his demons] can snatch them away from Me,”

2. Sanctification, [is] becoming more like Jesus… [Developing practical righteousness]

  1. Being born again frees us from enslavement to sin so we can choose to live rightly.
  2. The Holy Spirit empowers us so we can cooperate with this transformation.
  3. When we choose to live a Christ-like lifestyle that’s putting on our breastplates!

Sanctification [enables us to resist Satan because it]…

  • Reveals faith. (Ephesians 4:21-24; Philippians 1:11; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 John 3:7-8)
  1. 1 John 3:7 (NLT)— Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.
  2. A commitment to obey God is proof of our faith, so we are resistant to Satan’s attacks.
  3. Satan seeks to convince lost people they are saved and saved people that they are lost.
  4. The devil wants Christians to live defeated lives, so they don’t further God’s kingdom.
  5. He wants unbelievers to be certain they are saved, or don’t need to be forgiven, because they are as good as anyone else, since everyone sins.
  6. Satan encourages those who are unconcerned with personal holiness, indifferent to living a God-pleasing life, that they are just fine because they say they are Christians, despite the lack of any evidence indicating a spiritual change has occurred.
  7. 1 John 3:8 (NLT)— But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. [Lack of concern about sin may indicate a lack of salvation.]
  8. It doesn’t say if you have any sin in your life, you aren’t saved; it says if we keep on sinning, knowing we are in disobedience, but demonstrating little concern about it.
  9. Our lives reassure us of our salvation: doing what is right because of love for God.
  10. APP.: Are you asking, “How do I know I’m saved?” My response is: “Do you love God, His Word and His people? If so, you have evidence, ask Him to confirm.”

Sanctification [also enables us to]…

  • Resists temptation. (Romans 6:6,13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:22; 2 Peter 1:2-3)

  1. Ephesians 4:21–24 (NLT) Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. [So you can practice holy living in reliance on the Holy Spirit.]
  2. The devil tempts us to disobey God, not because he cares about our happiness, but because he wants to damage our faith, weaken our convictions, destroy our influence of others, and then slander us before God to shame us and dishonor Him. (Revelation 12:10)
  3. Recognize Satan’s motivations and reject his seductive offers.
  4. Satan isn’t offering pleasures to enrich your life; he offers sin to enslave you.
  5. The devil wants to discredit God by enticing you into disobeying Him.
  6. Remember that Jesus sacrificed His life so we could live free from control by sin.
  7. APP.: Are you able to refuse Satan’s temptations, knowing he desires your destruction?

Memory verse: Philippians 1:11 (NLT) May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

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