| by Bill Hogg
“Hawaii Five-0” is must-see TV in our household. We enjoy the idyllic scenery and the shoot-ups and car chases. Often, when getting ready for a show-down, McGarret and Dan-o step out wearing bullet proof vests. Kevlar jackets never seem to go out of fashion for contemporary crime fighters.
In ancient Rome, Kevlar was not de rigueur; a soldier wore a protective breastplate around his chest to protect his heart and vital organs from enemy attack. With this in mind, Paul exhorts us to don spiritual heart protection. He tells the Jesus community in Ephesus to suit up with the breastplate of righteousness. Paul recognizes the spiritual battle that rages around us is actually a battle for the heart of a man. All of life is a spiritual combat zone and we need divine protection to guard our hearts (see Proverbs 4:23 ).
Wearing the breastplate of righteousness means living with fierce faith and full confidence in the finished work of Christ!
Freedom from striving, performing, posturing and measuring up and bold access to God is freely available because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. Jesus lived the righteous life we cannot live and died the death that we deserve to die. Because of Jesus’ loving life of full obedience and His atoning sacrifice, God declares the undeserving sinner justified, fully and finally accepted, acceptable and righteous.
Scripture has good news for repentant rebels and scallywags: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”( 2 Cor. 5:21). A glorious exchange took place—Jesus took our sin, death, judgement and hell upon Himself and God has declared us righteous for Jesus’ sake. God has reckoned us righteous for Jesus’ sake to live free of shame and condemnation. You have been “righteous-ified” by the blood of Jesus.
Satan’s choice assault weapons are shame, accusation and condemnation. You cannot resist the enemy on your own merits—your righteousness is a pile of filthy rags. We stand before God and resist Satan, our accuser, knowing Jesus paid it all. His righteousness is our foundation. Because of what God in Christ has done for us we are declared righteous (2 Cor. 5:21). This glorious truth insulates and liberates us from the fiery accusations of the evil one. “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
So, gentlemen, suit up with the breastplate of righteousness!
Bill Hogg is lead pastor at Gracepoint Community Church in Surrey, B.C. Discover more at www.gracepoint.ca
The article above was featured in the March 2011 issue of SEVEN magazine.