Ephesians 6:14, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;"
A lot of people today are believing a lie. The lie is that they don't need to surrender all to Jesus and put their trust and faith in Him. Many feel that simply going to church once in a while is all they need to do in order to be assured of heaven. Some try to 'be a good person', others simply ignore the question, not thinking that what happens to their spirit after the body dies is important enough to concern themselves about it. . . . "After all, that's sometime in the future and I'm busy worrying about today and I've got things happening right now that I have to deal with."
Well, first of all, you don't have to spend all that time and energy worrying about this or that. In fact Jesus had something to say about worrying about the things of daily life in this world. He told us not to even accept the thought of it
Matthew 6:31, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?"
Why doesn't he want us to be concerned about these things? I can just imagine Joe Christian down at the first-whosiwhatser-church talking to the pastor about the sermon he just preached about this same subject: "I don't know bout that not thinkin bout stuff Pastor Bigbible, it's just a fact of life that there's things you gotta worry about, like the fact that we've got bills to pay, the kids need new clothes for school, and aunt busybody is gonna come spend a couple of weeks next Christmas and that means we either have to have her stay with us or help her pay for the motel. And dontcha just know that no matter which way it goes we're gonna end up footing a bunch of that bill just cause she really don't have much and it wouldn't be right to not help her out. So, you see Pastor, I gotta worry about that, cause things have been slow at the plant lately an I'm liable to get laid off"
Sadly, Joe Christian isn't much different from many of today's Christians. They are saved, and many are even filled with the Holy Spirit, bible reading and even studying and praying people. Many of these folks know how to witness, lead a repentant, soon to be ex-sinner to the Lord, and as long as you catch them in church or some 'spiritual' setting, you can tell that they've learned a few things about God and know a little of whom they are in Christ. But catch them anywhere else on a day when things are not going as well as they should or when the bills are mounting faster than they can pay them, and they don't sound any different from the unsaved who have never set foot in a church and don't know the first thing about God.
The problem that these folks have is that while many of them are willing to put faith in God for salvation and so-called 'spiritual matters', they are unwilling to take God at His word in everyday matters. In short, whether they admit it or not, they don't really believe God. And that is what's standing in the way of their being able to receive the blessings, provision and protection that He has ALREADY made available to anyone who will simply BELIEVE HIM that He's done it and accept it. They think of themselves as undeserving of anything like God providing what they need, income, or healing, and therein lies a pitfall.
Romans 4:3, "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
If you ask most Christians, if they are righteous, a lot of them will tell you that they try to be righteous as much as possible. Others will make it clear in no uncertain terms that THEY are not righteous, They're "Just an old sinner saved by grace" and quite a few of them will quote from the bible:
Romans 3:10, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"
And to a point, these well-meaning folks are right. But they haven't been willing to believe God. Yes, every Christian starts out as "a sinner saved by grace," but once they ARE saved, that condition changes.
2 Corinthians 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
When a person accepts Jesus and His sacrifice for their sins and makes Him the Lord of their life, that person becomes the righteousness of God! Just as in Abraham's case, when we believe God, that He sent Jesus to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins and accept that free gift, that is accounted to us for righteousness. This means that as far as God is concerned that person is no longer a sinner! Just as if they had never sinned!
However in the war that satan is waging against God's people, he has conned people into accepting the idea that actually claiming something like being the righteousness of God is too much. It's overly presumptuous, prideful, and that while they may be saved, God knows all the low down nasty things that they've done in their lives and they really don't deserve to call themselves righteous. They believe that they should be 'humble' and not presume to think of themselves as more than they are.
The problem here, is that this is not really humility before God, it is actually quite prideful. To genuinely be humble before God is to agree with Him that you are exactly what HE says you are. And since Jesus was made to be sin for us, so that we can be made the righteousness of God, then if you have made Jesus the lord of your life and been born again, you ARE the righteousness of God! This means that you are not a sinner anymore, and while it is true that many people sin even after being born again, we don't have to stay in that sin:
1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
If someone sins, and if they confess, or admit to those sins, then they are not only forgiven, but that sin is cleaned off of them. You see, Jesus didn't simply cover our sins, He Washed them away! And of course this applies to those who those just coming to Jesus as much as it does to the person who's been born again for 30 years. And while yes, it is true that we can never measure up if we try to do so by our own righteousness, God has GIVEN us His!
Isaiah 54:17, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD."
This means that people who are born again have righteousness, and it's a gift from God. And for anyone who has been born again to say that they are anything else, is pride. It's pride because they are deciding what the situation is, instead of accepting what God has already said it is.
Another important thing about righteousness is that most people don't really know what it means. It has become more of a 'church word' than anything else. Righteousness refers essentially to two things:
(1) God's way of doing and being right.
(2) The condition of being in right standing with God.
Knowing this about what righteousness is, we can now begin to understand why the armor of God has righteousness as the breastplate. This central part of God's armor stands between us, and a lot of satan's attacks on us. He's constantly trying to tell us that we're no good, unworthy, worthless, and should therefore not bother trying anymore. But we don't have to accept those thoughts that we're not going to get healed, provided for, or protected because we're such nasty sinners. When he tries to tell you that kind of thing, you can go to the word of God and remind him (and yourself) that 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that you have become the righteousness of God, and that means that you ARE entitled to God's provision, divine health, and protection.
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