In [the true Shepherd’s] days, Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. This is the name by which He will be called: “The Lord our Righteousness.” … Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. … I count all things loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, [that I may] be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God depending on faith. … How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You. Let me not wander from Your commands. I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. [Jeremiah 23:6; Matthew 6:33; Philippians 3:8-9;Psalm 119:9-11]
Please keep praying for this congregation’s Kids Club and the covenant children who are benefiting from your commissioning of our Children’s Ministry Leaders for several years now. In the first year the children considered simplified catechisms about the basic gospel message. In this second year we have sampled the fruit of the Spirit (from Galatians 5) & now the spiritual armor (from Ephesians 6). We are learning about all six armor parts and how we put them on (through prayer): the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Belt of Truth, feet shod with the Readiness of the Gospel of Peace (whew!), the Shield of Faith, and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Though we are instructed to obediently put these on, we see them in the first place as gifts of grace from our Savior Jesus Christ, who bought them for all of His people at great expense (His own blood). Jesus defeated Satan, but these armor pieces help us to “Win Against Sin” every day (that’s the goal)!
Recently we learned about the Breastplate of Righteousness; this involved simple principles which we believe even some adults can understand! “Righteousness” involves being completely right or good before God, as He defines it (that is, perfectly perfect)! Nobody here (among the mere humans in this room) is that or achieves that. This sad reality matches what Scripture tells us, then, that we begin our lives as enemies of the holy God. Far from having God’s help to “Win Against Sin,” we ourselves were actively fighting against the all-powerful God, who always wins against all of His foes.
So we are doomed, unless God in His mercy works a rescue plan: He does! This involves His perfect Son (Jesus) becoming a man, living a perfectly righteous life (proving Himself to be God’s Friend, not His enemy), but then still paying the penalty which God’s people deserve for their rebellion, their sin nature, and their many individual sins. Once finished (and it is … our full release and debt paid for), the Lord our Righteousness (Yahweh Tsidkenu is one of the many names God announces for Himself) supplies all of His people with His own Breastplate of Righteousness (or we might even regard it that Jesus Himself covers us, in the fullness of His resurrected life).
A breastplate provides covering for the chest area, making a hard barrier against weapons that would otherwise pierce the heart and lungs (etc.). So this covering is a matter of life and death. In the first place, this breastplate (which is the righteousness of Christ, OR the righteous Christ) covers us from the holy wrath of God the Father. One fascinating feature of this particular breastplate model (which has a reflective surface) is that what God would see is Himself! But that old fight is over, done, and finished … behind us for those who are adopted by God, but not a thing for us to forget. Our happy union with the perfect God depends upon Jesus Christ. Then the Breastplate of Righteousness becomes that protection against Satan and his dark forces, to help us Win Against Sin in daily battles.
- But on Day 1 … I forgot to put on any breastplate. So I was pretty much toast. Sin won that day.
- So on Day 2 … I remembered my breastplate … and I do mean MINE! It was way too thin (like Saran wrap)! Sin won again.
- So on Day 3 … pain was a good teacher, so I put on Christ’s righteousness. But Satan is clever, and he worked all day to remind me of my sins, weaknesses, and failures (past and present). Dropping my guard (that is, switching out Christ’s armor-plating for my plastic wrap!), sin won again.
- So on Day 4 … we taught the kids to truly battle against the world, the flesh, the devil … and sin … pointing one and all (especially the self) to the natural, achieved, proven, expensive righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are more than conquerors … eternally and daily … through Him!