Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Whose Righteousness?

One of the questions regarding the breastplate of righteous (Ephesians 6:14) is whose righteousness is being referred to, Christ's or ours. When we put our faith in Christ we are declared righteous before God based on Christ's righteousness (Philippians 3:8,9: 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:21-26), But this should result in a change in our life (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:11-14; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Which is in view here?

I am convinced that the basic idea here is Christ's righteousness. It is this we should trust in and this we should build our lives on. And putting on the breastplate means trusting in and remembering that righteousness. But when we feel destructive guilt, guilt that does not lead to repentance and  going on with God, but to digging up old sins and inadequacies (2 Corinthians 7:10; Philippians 3:13-14; Proverbs 28:13), we must trust in God's forgiveness (Colossians 2:13,14; Hebrews 8:12; Ephesians 1:7). For accusing us of our sins is one strategy Satan uses to bring us down (Revelation 12:10,11; Zechariah 3:1-5; Job 1:9-12). (These verses specifically talk of Satan accusing us before God, but I think it is reasonable to infer that Satan's minions also accuse us to ourselves.)
But I also think that letting God change us does make a difference here. If we indulge our sinful desires, we give Satan an opportunity he can exploit (Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:26,27; Galatians 6:7). Therefore, it is helpful for us to cultivate righteousness in our lives so that we may not find ourselves sliding further and further down the road to sin. But ultimately, the chief thing is to trust in Christ's righteousness. 

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