I thought this was going to be an extremely short post because I could not think of a verse explaining why we need a breastplate of righteousness apart from Job clinging to his which was actually Jesus, Job 29:14 and Ephesians 4:24, but then I was prompted to search the term in Biblegateway.com. <That’s a link so you can search in the version you choose. Check Acts 1:1-5 against the NIV, the ESV or the NASB, or even the King James to find a reliable Bible translation. I selected only a few of the 213 results. This post, while public, is a work in progress.
What is righteousness?
Romans 3:9-18 (1987 NIV) – tells us some things that are not:
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not want to know. There is no fear of God before their eyes. [This passage is part of a letter by Paul telling the Romans there is no hope in following the law. Instead, attempting a righteousness by the law kills and separates us from Christ because no man is able to keep the whole law perfectly.]
We can reverse engineer this passage to find that righteousness may be:
- one who understands
- one who seeks God
- turning towards Him
- becoming worthy/worthwhile
- doing good
- telling the truth
- having an antidote to poison or food instead of poison (?)
- mouths full of blessing and joy
- swift to save lives/souls and to staunch bleeding
- building up/protecting/restoring/mending**
- not suffering and free of pain and trouble**
- knowing the way of peace
- fearing God
Where does righteousness come from?
From the 1987 NIV, Romans 3:21-26:
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
God’s word says to guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life, Proverbs 4:23. Philippians 4:7 says the peace of Christ will be a garrison to our hearts. My old Webster’s from 1979* defines garrison as a fortified place stocked with all kinds of provisions and armament.
[May 24, 2016: After reading I Don’t Get You I have decided I want to think/pray more on the topic of guarding the heart, I have not yet decided if it should be here or in another post. The verse that has come to mind says, “Do not let your heart be troubled,” John 14:1 and 27.]
A breastplate covers the heart and vital organs. So our breastplate is made of righteousness. Who was Job’s righteousness? Christ. Elsewhere, 1 Corinthians 1:30, the Word says, “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.” Does this mean that Christ is our breastplate? John 15:7 says that if we remain in Him and He in us we will bear much fruit and receive whatever we ask for.
Clinging to Jesus as righteousness
My thoughts keep going back to Job clinging to his righteousness, Job 27:6 – essentially clinging to Jesus in light of criticism of his friends. Then I think of a recent trial where I felt like I was being tempted to fling away my hope. [Purposefully stated this way to avoid blaspheming celestial beings, Jude 1:8.] In the end, the Holy Spirit reminded me that if I have hope to fling away then I have hope; hold onto it, Hebrews 10:23. My hope is to be set fully on the grace to be given me when Jesus Christ is revealed, 1 Peter 1:13.
Consequence of righteousness
- 1 Samuel 26:23, “the Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness”
- 2 Samuel 22:21, “the Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness”
- 2 Samuel 22:25 repeats “the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness”
but take note! It is not our righteousness – all our works are menstrual cloths, Isaiah 64:6.
So, David said:
- Psalm 5:8, “Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies…”
Praise/Adoration for righteousness
- Psalm 40:10, “I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.”
- Psalm 45:7, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you [Jesus the Messiah] above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
clothe yourselves with christ ?
put off the old man and put on the new?
Job clung to his Righteousness – he would not agree with the friends’ accusations – meaning of this? the curse not deserved from Proverbs
Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness
I am seeking to understand what God means – not man’s interpretation
*(1979.) Guralnik, David B. Ed., Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language. Second College Edition.
**(August 1995.) Laird, Charlton. Webster’s New World Thesaurus