A. The first piece of the Christian’s armor was the truth. You will never be a good Christian until you both know and are saturated with the truth! Satan’s first attack upon mankind was to distort the truth to Eve. Truth has been attacked and distorted ever since. Truth girts the loins of the mind.
B. The second piece of the Christian’s armor is the breastplate of righteousness. As the “loins girt” with truth protects the mind, the “breastplate of righteousness” protects the heart. The breastplate is comprised of righteousness! There are three kinds of righteousness found in the bible with two being godly and one ungodly.
1. The ungodly “righteousness” is self-righteousness. In the story of the Publican and the Pharisee, we find the self-righteousness of the religious man contrasted with the contriteness of the sinner. The Publican left justified (or righteous) while the Pharisee prayed thus with himself and left self-righteous.
2. The godly “righteousness” of imputation. When the sinner comes to Christ, God imputes to him or her the righteousness of God. Perfect righteousness brings about positional salvation which is eternal life.
3. The godly “righteousness” of personal righteousness. The child of God living a life that is pleasing to the One who saved him or her. “For to me to live is Christ!”
C. I must note at this time that neither self-righteousness nor personal righteousness can save! Isaiah 64:6 declares that “all our righteousness are as filthy rags” when it comes to salvation. Not matter how righteously we live in this present evil world, we can only be right with God through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ!
D. Secondly, it is a breastplate. The breastplate protects the vital, especially the heart. Therefore, the breastplate of righteousness protects our heart. As the metal breastplate protects the physical heart, the righteous breastplate protects the inner man or the seat of our affections.
E. When the Bible speaks of the heart, it is not speaking of the organ that pumps your blood, but of the very soul of man wherein lies the seat of his affections. Man was made in the likeness of God when created. Man is a trinity: body, soul, and spirit.
1. The body is world conscious with five senses: hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch. With our bodies, we perceive the world.
2. The soul is self-conscious: it is what we desire and what we desire is what we are. With our soul, we perceive our wants.
3. The spirit is God conscious: it is with the spirit that man seeks after God and worships in His presence. With our souls, we perceive our worship.
F. It is of no wonder that the Bible says to “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (issue: going forth or outgoings)
1. The heart controls the body by either suppressing or encouraging its desires.
2. The heart controls the spirit by either turning to God or turning away from God.
G. I want to quickly deal with two areas concerning the heart: 1) Realization 2) Responsibility
1. A Realization concerning the Deceitfulness of the Heart.
a. The Sinfulness of the Heart - Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
b. The Secrets of the Heart - Psalms 44:21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
c. The Searching of the Heart - Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
2. A Responsibility concerning the Diligence of the Heart.
a. The Diligence of Saturation - Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. (God’s word is more necessary than physical nourishment!)
b. The Diligence of Limitation - Psalms 4:4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
c. The Diligence of Meditation - Proverbs 23:7a For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
d. The Diligence of Adoration - Psalms 9:1 I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.