Sabbath, August 4, 2018

Lesson 5 – Breastplate of Righteousness

“Fiction, spurious interpretations of the Scriptures, dishes of fables, are everywhere presented for your acceptance. But great discernment is needed that the girdle should be the golden chain of truth. ‘And having on the breastplate of righteousness’–not your own, but the righteousness of Christ. This is the fortress of the soul. We may, with Christ’s righteousness going before us, withstand the moral darkness and penetrate the devices of the satanic agencies.” –That I May Know Him, p. 346.
“All who have put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness will stand before Him as chosen and faithful and true. Satan has no power to pluck them out of the hand of the Saviour. Not one soul who in penitence and faith has claimed His protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy’s power.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 31.

Clothed with Christ’s righteousness

1. What protective gear must be worn by the Christian who engages in the battle against the great adversary?
Ephesians 6:14, last part. … And having on the breastplate of righteousness.
2 Corinthians 6:7. By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.

“To be independent and self-reliant in some respects is [a] duty that we owe to ourselves. But here, where the enemy will come in with his delusive snares, pride takes the place of humility. And when you or I trust to our own resources, our own wisdom, and seek counsel of our own heart, then certain disappointment, shame, and confusion will be our portion at last. We are in a fair way to triumph only when we are closely connected with God, and have on the whole armor of righteousness.” –The Upward Look, p. 349.
“These words inspired of God are appropriate for us. They apply in a special manner to those who are endeavoring to keep the commandments of God amidst a crooked and perverse nation among whom they shine as lights in the world. O how solemn, how fearfully solemn is this time for the youth among us who have had great light,… that their words, spirit, and character shall not be misleading to those with whom they associate….” –That I May Know Him, p. 346.

2. What must the Christian do so Jesus can clothe him with the breastplate of righteousness?
Isaiah 64:6. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Romans 13:12.The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Proverbs 28:13. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

“Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. ‘I counsel thee,’ He says, ‘to buy of Me … white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.’” –My Life Today, p. 311.
“No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 555.

3. What does it mean to be clothed with Christ’s righteousness?
1 John 2:6. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
1 Peter 2:21. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.

“When on earth, He said to His disciples, ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ John 15:10. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 312.
“When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin; for Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin that caused the sufferings of the Son of God.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 360.

The crusade against Satan

4. Girded with truth and clothed with righteousness, what will the Christian do?
2 Corinthians 10:3-5. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Song of Solomon 6:10. Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?

“Church members, awake to the importance of the circulation of our literature, and devote more time to this work. Place in the homes of the people papers, tracts, and books that will preach the gospel in its several lines. There is no time to be lost. Let many give themselves willingly and unselfishly to the canvassing work, and thus help to sound a warning that is greatly needed. When the church takes up her appointed work, she will go forth ‘air as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.’” –(Southern Watchman, November 20, 1902) Christian Service, p. 147.
“Clad in the armor of Christ’s righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. ‘Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,’ she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer.” –My Life Today, p. 311.
“There is a great work to be done in a short time. We need to understand our work, and to do it with fidelity. Everyone who is finally crowned victor will, by noble, determined effort to serve God, have earned the right to be clothed with Christ’s righteousness. To enter the crusade against Satan, bearing aloft the bloodstained banner of the cross of Christ–this is the duty of every Christian.” –Counsels on Stewardship, p. 43.

5. What characterizes those who are clothed with Christ’s righteousness?
Psalm 119:7. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
Proverbs 14:2, first part; 8:13, first part. 2He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the Lord…. 13The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.

“We must put on every piece of the armor, and then stand firm. The Lord has honored us by choosing us as His soldiers. Let us fight bravely for Him, maintaining the right in every transaction. Rectitude in all things is essential to the welfare of the soul. As you strive for the victory over your own inclinations, He will help you by His Holy Spirit to be circumspect in every action, that you may give no occasion for the enemy to speak evil of the truth. Put on as your breastplate that divinely protected righteousness which it is the privilege of all to wear. This will protect your spiritual life.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1119.

The watchword

6. What should be the Christian’s watchword in the spiritual battle?
Galatians 2:20. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
2 Corinthians 5:15. And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

“Jesus wants you to be happy, but you cannot be happy in having your own way and following the impulses of your own heart…. Our notions, our peculiarities, are wholly human and must not be humored or indulged. Self is to be crucified, not now and then but daily, and the physical, mental, and spiritual must be subordinate to the will of God. The glory of God, the perfection of Christian character, is to be the aim, the purpose, of our life. Christ’s followers must imitate Christ in disposition…. Like Christ is the watchword, not like your father or your mother, but like Jesus Christ–hid in Christ, clothed with Christ’s righteousness, imbued with the Spirit of Christ.” –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, pp. 643, 644.

7. What is one who wears the breastplate of righteousness assured of?
Revelation 17:14. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of Lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Romans 16:20. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

“In life’s conflict we must meet evil agencies that have arrayed themselves against the right. Our hope is not in man, but in the living God. With full assurance of faith we may expect that He will unite His omnipotence with the efforts of human instrumentalities, for the glory of His name. Clad with the armor of His righteousness, we may gain the victory over every foe.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 111.

For additional study
“The people whom God is leading must venture out upon His word. They must walk forward by faith. Truths have been committed to them which they must obey. The work of God is aggressive. No one can stand in a neutral position and yet be a soldier in the Lord’s army. God has commands for His people, and if they keep in close connection with Him, they will hear His voice, and will keep in step with their Captain. They will go forward in the conflict to fight the battles of the Lord. But those who place themselves in an indifferent, noncommittal position will gain no victories.” –The Upward Look, p. 339.
“Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. ‘I counsel thee,’ He says, ‘to buy of Me … white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.’…
“To every one God has made an offer that will help to brace every nerve and spiritual muscle for the time of test that is to come to us all. I am charged with the message, Clothe yourself with the whole armor of Christ’s righteousness…. And, having done all you can do on your part, you have the assurance of victory. To every soul is granted the gracious opportunity of standing on the Rock of Ages.” –My Life Today, p. 311