It’s audio devo day!
Have you been hammered by thoughts of condemnation? Jesus wants to show you how perfectly righteous He has made you. The breastplate of righteousness is His powerful gift to you. It will keep your heart of hearts safe from the accusations of the enemy. Be wonderfully blessed as you listen here:
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Right now, on the inside of you, do you feel clean? Does your conscience feel easy and unburdened? Do you feel like you’re at peace with God?
Here’s a little secret for you: our feelings tend to follow the leadership of our thoughts and our beliefs. So if we believe that we are unacceptable in God’s eyes, then we will “feel” unacceptable. If we believe that we are perpetually stained before Him, then we will feel uncomfortable before Him. But if we believe that we are holy and righteous in His sight, then our hearts will abide in peace.
This, my friend, is why the breastplate of righteousness is absolutely essential to put on as we are getting dressed in the morning. Where does that breastplate go? Right over our hearts. Right over the center of our core beliefs. Putting on this protective plate of armor is our way to keep our hearts safe from another one of the enemy’s favorite weapons: condemnation.
How ugly condemnation feels! And the enemy would love nothing more than to get you to stay under it. Did you know that the word satan means “accuser”? Besides lying to us constantly, accusing us is another one of his main pursuits. Last week we began talking about how to take our stand against his schemes, starting with the belt of truth. We need to put on truth as a belt to protect our inward parts from the father of lies… and we need to put on the breastplate of righteousness to protect our hearts from his condemning accusations.
Yes, the heart needs special protection. In fact, during Jesus’ time on earth, one of the subjects that He most taught on was the importance of the heart. He repeatedly emphasized to us that God is interested in so much more than our external behavior; He is after our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 expresses this eloquently: “Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it” (GW). More than anything else! If God wants us to make highest priority out of protecting our hearts, you can imagine how important this breastplate really is. Your very life source flows from right under this essential piece of armor.
This is why Holy Spirit urges us, “Stand firm therefore… by putting on the breastplate of righteousness…” (Eph. 6:14, NET). What, then, does this breastplate do for us in the spiritual realm? Remember that each piece of armor is a piece of revelation. It’s called the armor of light. Light is revelation. God is wanting to impart to us a deeper, more complete revelation of the gift of His righteousness. As we receive that revelation light, it will form an impenetrable protective layer around our heart of hearts. Condemnation will no longer be able to get through.
Here’s how the Apostle Paul explained it to us: “I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ…” (Phil. 3:9-10, NLT).
Paul well knew that his own human righteousness could not be counted on. You know, neither can mine. Neither can yours. We can’t count on our own efforts to be good enough. We will always fail miserably, no matter how hard we try. What glorious news it is then, that we don’t have to count on our own merits! Paul was not at all worried about the inadequacy of his own righteousness. Why? He knew that God Himself had made him righteous. And you know, if God Himself makes you righteous, who can undo that?
In another place, Paul explains to us, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21, NKJV). Jesus knew no sin. In other words, He had no personal knowledge of what it was even like to sin. He had never experienced sinning. God the Father took the immaculate, sinless sacrifice of His Son, and He made Him to be sin for us. Jesus did not only carry our sin; He became sin on the cross. You and I cannot fully fathom that, but it is true. And the benefit we reap is stunning: “that we might become the righteousness of God.” Now, in Jesus, you and I don’t just receive righteousness. We become righteousness! No wonder Holy Spirit exclaims, “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one!” (Rom. 8:33-34, NLT).
You are the righteousness of God. Receive that into your spirit right now. You are His very righteousness. God Himself has brought you into right standing with Himself. Nothing and no one in all of creation has a right to raise a finger of accusation against you.
I want to show you something else about the same passage we were reading from a moment ago. Right before Paul labels his own righteousness as something he can’t count on, he says something breathtaking. He bursts out with this: “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness…” (vv. 8-9).
Wow. Do you see the connection in his words between knowing Christ and the gift of righteousness? If we, too, want to walk in the intimate, personal knowledge of Jesus, we desperately need this same revelation. We need God to reveal to us the gift of righteousness. If we are going to enjoy unhindered intimacy with Him, we need to be free of the devil’s condemning accusations.
Accusations steal our intimacy. Revelation of the gift of righteousness restores it back to us. Receiving from Holy Spirit the knowledge that we are perpetually right with God through Jesus’ blood… this knowledge becomes our breastplate. It shields the wellspring of our life, our heart of hearts. It protects our heart connection with Jesus.
So crucial is this revelation to our spiritual life, that we are going to soak together in a few more Scriptures about it. Here’s one of my favorites: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10, NKJV).
Joy! Breathtaking beauty! These spring out to us as we read these blissful words. Jesus has covered you with a robe of His own perfect righteousness. It is far more glorious than the most sumptuous wedding garments any bride and groom ever wore. Remember how putting on God’s armor means wearing the Light of the World wrapped around your whole being? That’s what Isaiah is talking about here. Jesus Himself has clothed you in the most stunning spiritual raiment that you could ever imagine.
Here’s a little more about it: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18, NKJV). White as snow. You. What a visual! This brings to mind a little slice of life I’d like to share with you. Here in the Amazon Jungle where I live, we don’t see a whole lot of snow. To be more exact, we never see any snow at all. So you can imagine the impact that seeing snow for the first time had on our four children. Looking out the minivan window, they exclaimed, “It’s so shiny!”
They were right. Have you ever seen anything more blindingly brilliant than snow when the midday sun shines on it? On a cloudless day, the glare is enough to make you run for your sunglasses. That’s what you look like in spirit when Jesus clothes you with His righteousness. You are spotless, blameless, resplendent. Your sins are completely gone. He took them away from you. You became His very own righteousness. You know what else? You get to wear this glorious robe for the rest of your life… and the rest of eternity. No one can take it from you. No one can bring any charge against the one that God has made righteous.
There is therefore now no condemnation for you, dear one. Not now, not ever. Put this revelation on like a breastplate. Guard your heart of hearts with it. Above all else, guard your heart.
When we stumble and miss the mark, do we become unrighteous in God’s sight momentarily until we ask for forgiveness again? When you become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, can you then un-become it? Does the following verse apply to you? “With one sacrifice he made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Heb 10:14, NCV). If so, what does it mean that He has made you perfect forever?