In Roman times, a soldier would wear a breastplate over his chest to protect his vital organs. Of course each piece of armor he would wear was important for various reasons, but the breastplate made sure that his heart and lungs were protected from blows from a sword or a ﬁery dart shot from an archer. While the Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he observed how the soldiers depended on their armor to keep themselves alive and protected in battle. When he used the different pieces of armor to describe spiritual armor, he used the breastplate to illustrated righteousness.
Righteousness comes from the Greek word, “Dikaiosune.” This is a word that describes the “gracious gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God.”
Simply stated, to be righteous is to be right with God. Righteousness is a characteristic of God that is the essence of perfection and holiness.
Man cannot earn this righteousness by his own merits, nor can anyone create his or her own righteousness. When a person comes to Christ through faith and is born again, he or she is clothed in the righteousness of Christ. It is a judicial act of God, whereby He imputes or declares that we are righteous as His Son Jesus. And so it is Christ’s righteousness that we wear as a breastplate. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, the Bible says, “ God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
As a breastplate, righteousness is used to protect a Christian from the attacks of the devil. These attacks could be doubts of salvation, pride, bitterness, anger and any other destructive force that distracts a Christian from his or her walk with God. Because Christians are clothed in the righteousness of God, they know that Satan’s lies and deceit have no place in their lives and they can withstand every one of his attacks. Satan is a defeated foe.
Stand secure brothers and sisters, in the breastplate of righteousness, and let us daily strive to live more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.
1 Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W. E. Vine, Fleming H. RevellCompany, New Jersey, 1966