Sir Godfrey Gregg OHPM, ROMC
Ephesians 6:14: With the breastplate of righteousness in place…
On the Breastplate of Righteousness, Archbishop Simon remarks: “Now as the loins are the seat of activity and strength, so the breast is the seat of the heart, the fountain of the blood, which it propels through every artery–and of the lungs, which alternately inspire and expire the air, the vital breath of heaven. These are two vital parts. We need, therefore, to have this double seat of life specially secured.” He continues to explain that when viewed spiritually, “the HEART may represent two things– firstly the conscience; and secondly the affections” and “these vital parts – the peculiar seat of life and feeling, the special domain of heart religion – need to be covered with a heavenly breastplate; for if Satan could pierce any of these, that thrust would be fatal.”The Breastplate of Righteousness is a piece of armor that is used against Satan in battle by God and warrior alike. God himself is symbolically described as putting on a Breastplate of Righteousness when he goes forth to bring about justice: “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” (Isaiah 59:17).
The Breastplate of Righteousness gives us assurance that we take with us into battle. It’s what a warrior regards as passive, defensive armor—you strap it on and you know it’s there: A Christian knows that he’s forgiven, that God is protecting Him, and he doesn’t have to worry about it! Unlike a shield of faith, which WE need to maneuver to deflect against threats, the Breastplate of Righteousness is passive. You install it and don’t think about it or use it. But it can save your life.
The Breastplate of Righteousness does not come from us, it is given to us when we receive Christ and trust Him as our Savior: “Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith” (Philippians 3:9).
Another useful way to think of a breastplate is to consider it the piece of armor that holds together your emotions!