|THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Oct 10 2008 08:00AM
The breastplate of the Roman legionary protects, above all else, one absolutely vital organ of the human body: the
heart. The Bible indicates that the heart is of supreme importance in our lives as stated by Solomon in Proverbs 4:23:
I (Derek Prince) was a teacher in Kenya, East Africa, for five years. I became acquainted with a number of the tribes
and learned a little of their languages. One day, on the wall of a student's dormitory, I saw Proverbs 4:23 quoted in the
Maragoli language. I translated it to myself literally, and I have always remembered the translation: "Guard your heart
with all your strength for all the things there are in life come out of it."
What you have in your heart must ultimately determine the course of your life, for good or for evil. It is essential that we
protect our hearts from all kinds of evil. Paul spoke about the breastplate of righteousness a protection of the heart.
We must ask ourselves what is meant by righteousness in this context. Fortunately, Paul returned to this theme of
armor in another epistle. In I Thessalonians 5:8, he said this:
for an helmet, the hope of salvation."
Here Paul described the breastplate from another point of view. He called it "the breastplate of faith and love." Put
these two passages together: "The breastplate of righteousness" (Ephesians 6:14) is a "breastplate of faith and love."
This tells us the kind of righteousness that Paul had in mind. It is not the righteousness of works, or religious law, but it
is the righteousness that comes only by faith.
Paul spoke about this kind of righteousness again in Philippians 3:9:
which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"
Paul now put the two kinds of righteousness side by side. First of all, he spoke about a righteousness of his own
derived from the Law and said this is not sufficient. As an alternative, he spoke of the righteousness that comes from
God on the basis of faith. That is the kind of righteousness that he had in mind when he spoke about the breastplate of
righteousness that protects the heart. As long as we are wearing a breastplate that is simply our own righteousness,
Satan can find many weak points in that type of righteousness and can often penetrate it with his attacks and damage
our hearts. We must put on a breastplate that is not our own righteousness but the righteousness of Christ. Second
Corinthians 5:21 says the following:
righteousness of God in him."
We must be convinced from Scripture and accept by faith that we have become the righteousness of God. That is the
only kind of breastplate that can adequately protect our hearts and our lives.
This kind of righteousness, Paul emphasized, comes only through faith. Therefore, it is a breastplate of faith and love.
There is no other way to achieve this kind of righteousness.
Let's look at the prayer of Jesus for Peter on the night before His passion, when Jesus warned Peter that he was going
to betray Him the same night. In the context of that warning, Jesus said, "Peter, I have prayed for you." Jesus did not
pray that Peter would not betray Him. In those circumstances, under the pressures that would develop and with the
known weaknesses in Peter's character, it was inevitable that Peter would betray Jesus. But Jesus prayed a different
kind of prayer, the only prayer that could really help Peter. Jesus said in Luke 22:31-32,
sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art
converted, strengthen thy brethren."
cowardly, everything could still be retrieved provided his faith did not fail. This is the breastplate of faith and love. Faith
is the essential element for this breastplate.
The kind of faith that we are analyzing works only through love. Galatians 5:6 says the following:
which worketh by love."
As I (Derek Prince) understand it, what Paul was really saying was, "No kind of outward ceremony or ritual, in itself, is
sufficient. The one essential thing, without which we cannot succeed in the Christian life, is faith the kind of faith the
works through love. It is not a passive or theoretical faith. It is an active faith that works only through love."
The more I (Derek Prince) meditate upon it, the more I am impressed by the irresistible power of love. I love the
passage in Song of Solomon 8:6-7:
jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all
the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned [scorned]."
Think of the statement "love is as strong as death." Death is the one irresistible thing that we all must encounter. There
is not one of us who can resist it. There is no way to avoid it. Scripture says that "love is as strong as death."
Think about it. Love is irresistible. It always conquers. There is no way it can be defeated. Love protects us from all
negative forces like resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, discouragement, and despair that can corrupt our hearts
and spoil our lives. Remember, all that there is in life comes out of the heart.
Paul described this kind of love in I Corinthians 13:4-8:
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth:...."
What Paul said there is so appropriate to the picture of the breastplate. Love always protects, always trusts, always
hopes, always perseveres. When you have on that breastplate of faith that works by love, it will always protect you. It
will keep your heart from every attack and attempt of Satan to penetrate that vital area of your life.
Spiritual Warfare, by Derek Prince, Copyright 1987, Whitaker House.
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