The Breastplate of Jesus – Holy and Righteous

The Breastplate of Jesus – Holy and Righteous

The Breastplate of Jesus: Holy and Righteous.

Dikaios = the Greek word for both justice and righteousness, can be translated as righteous, just, fair, blameless, innocent, uprightness, heart that is right with God. “For I tell you that unless your uprightness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of Torah, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20).

“Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the Accuser! You must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the Slanderer… Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart.” (Ephesians 6:11, 13, 14, The Passion Translation).

Warrior Priests. Breastplates don’t get a lot of attention in Scripture… “the breastplate of faith and love” in 1 Thessalonians 5:8; the High Priest’s breastplate of Judgement in Exodus 28; the “breastplate of righteousness” in Ephesians 6:14 (in most translations); the “breastplate of holiness” in Eph. 6:14 (the Passion Translation). As believers, we know that each of us is a warrior priest, a member of a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). Each of us is a soldier of Christ in the unseen warfare against our spiritual enemies (Eph. 6). As holy soldiers, we put on the spiritual armor provided by God, including the breastplate that protects the life-giving heart of our spiritual lives. Our spiritual breastplate protects our vital core from sin. The breastplate keeps us from yielding to temptation and turning to evil. And as holy priests, we are likewise wearing clothes provided by God. We priests are “clothed with righteousness” (Psalm 132:9), set apart to wear the “robe of righteousness” of Isaiah 61:10. As priests we are called to serve God wearing our holy robes given to us by God. As both priests and soldiers, we are given a protective layer of righteousness and holiness, keeping our hearts in the right place, shielding us from sin.

Jesus is our righteousness. In our roles as both priest and soldier, we are holy, set apart, and asked to “put on” something. We are to put on the holy breastplate of righteousness as well as a robe of righteousness, garments of blamelessness, virtue, justice, goodness. In fact, what else is this but simply “putting on the Lord Jesus” (Romans 13:14)? God has graciously provided the Lord’s righteousness as we live into the holy priesthood and the army of God. His breastplate of righteousness means that this not a breastplate of our own construction. One of the names our Father gave to the Messiah in Jeremiah 23:6 is “The Lord Is Our Righteousness.” Jesus Himself is our righteousness, He is our breastplate. When we put on Jesus and His righteousness, we are participating in His perfect righteousness, and not merely depending on our own righteousness to suffice as our ultimate protection. Jesus was strong to resist temptation in the wilderness and throughout His life. Wearing His breastplate will do the same for us. After all, as it is with all other aspects of our Christian life, it’s not about us. It’s about putting on Jesus and living into His righteousness. Because He is holy, we are to be holy: in the way we live, the decisions we make, the behavior we demonstrate. When we put on the holy armor, we are “clothing ourselves in Christ” (Galatians 3:27). We are “putting on the new self which is in the likeness of God and has been created in righteousness and holiness in the truth” (Eph. 4:24). Our breastplate is described well in Colossians 3:12: “And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other. And beyond all these things, put on love.” That is what our breastplate of righteousness looks like. These are the holy virtues of Christ, and we put them on when we put on His breastplate.

Battle-Tested. When we strap on the breastplate, we are putting on something that God is already wearing: “And He put on righteousness like a breastplate and a helmet of salvation on His head.” (Isaiah 59:17). God has already established Himself as a victorious warrior, His breastplate has been battle-tested. When we put on Jesus, we are putting on the King of Glory: “Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle! The Lord Almighty – He is the King of Glory!” (Psalm 24:8, 10). The Lord has already come to the rescue for His faithful ones who are being oppressed. He has already been on the battlefield against sin and the evil one. When we put on His breastplate, it is a victorious piece of armor that we can trust in.

Hid in Christ. When we put on the holy breastplate of Jesus, we are in a sense hiding behind it. We have found our hiding place. His righteousness is covering over us. We are “hid in Christ” (Colossians 3:3) when we put on the breastplate. We are confidently and faithfully hiding behind God’s declaration that we are now holy and righteous in His eyes. When God looks at us now, He sees Jesus. When God sees us with our spiritual armor on, He sees us wearing the holy, protective gear of Christ Himself. We can not generate our own righteousness and try to put that on. We instead participate in Christ’s righteousness. We do not declare ourselves to be holy warrior priests. We live into God’s calling us to those roles in His strength. “He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.” (Colossians 1:22). In our spiritual warfare, we stand firm and protect our hearts because we have put on the righteousness of Jesus. And we are expected to mature in that righteousness, walking in the holiness that has been declared by God and fleshed out in the Lord.

Dress Clothes. God’s grace provides the holy breastplate of Jesus. God’s strength is needed to put on this breastplate. God’s power will transform us as we wear Jesus Christ. Let us rejoice as we think about the time when we will take off the breastplate for good and put on the wedding garments of clean white linens. The warfare will have been ended, the enemy vanquished. There will be no need of protection, and the victory banquet, the wedding feast of the Lamb, will begin.

Soldier in the Army of the Lord – Blind Boys of Alabama – YouTube


Lyle Lovett / I’m A Soldier In The Army Of The Lord – YouTube