He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
When a police officer or FBI agent is in a dangerous situation, their standard protocol is to put on a kevlar vest to protect their bodies from gunfire (at least on television). Imagine what happens to the one who insists that a dress shirt and tie are enough protection? Unlikely.
The verse above is likely a source for Paul’s call to stand firm “with the breastplate of righteousness in place” (Ephesians 6:14). The breastplate was intended to protect the major organs of the body, so it was (and is) critical that it be made of the right stuff and in the spiritual battle, righteousness is essential. But whose righteousness?
The prophet reminds us that even our best isn’t good enough –
“all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
And so the righteousness that enables us to stand is found only in one place –
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
My best efforts to stand firmly on my own will fail because my righteousness is not good enough, but that is the beauty of the Gospel, isn’t it?
Christ’s righteousness means that it is His effort, not mine so that I will be able to stand. And it is because of His righteousness that I am motivated to resist sin and become a better representative for Christ in a world in need of light.
We can’t afford to let our guard down, so let’s remember what Christ has done for us and respond with a pursuit of His righteousness in our lives.