with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
(Ephesians 6:14 HCSB)
Righteousness, what is it?
A search in a Bible app for the word pulled up more than 250 verses. Many of them referred to God’s righteousness, God placing righteousness on his people, or righteousness through Jesus Christ. I wonder if I can be righteous without God’s help, but I know the answer is “no”.
A dictionary definition only refers to the word to mean righteous, uprightness, and morality. Again, what does that mean? For me to understand righteousness, I have to break the word down. I have to understand the root of the word; right. What does “right” mean? It’s an adjective meaning good, proper, just, fact, correct. Synonyms for the word: appropriate, good, honest, honorable, legal, proper, suitable, true. Antonyms: dishonest, evil, false, fraudulent, illegal, improper, invalid, misbehaving, unacceptable, wrong.
By adding the suffix “eous” we change the mean of the word to “full of”. In essence, changing the word from “right” to “righteous” means to change the meaning to “full of truth”. Then, by adding the suffix “ness” to the end of the word, we are creating the “state of being”. So, from “righteous” to “righteousness” changes the meaning to “the state of being full of truth”. I ask again, can I have righteousness without God’s help?
In Ecclesiastes, it says:
There is certainly no righteous man on the earth
who does good and never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:20 HCSB)
Solomon is said to be the author of Ecclesiastes. We know him to be the smartest man to live in his time, but even more important than that, God gave him discernment. The ability to see the “truth” in a way that can only come from God. Certainly, in Solomon’s time, there was no man who was without sin. But then Jesus came, was born, grew up, and died. Jesus was without sin. He walked the earth and was good and never sinned. One last time, can I have righteousness without God’s help?
No. The only way to do that is to accept the truth and wear it like a belt, as we established in last week’s blog. If “righteousness” means “state of being full of truth,” then “righteousness like armor on your chest” means the “state of being full of Jesus Christ.” So, to be full of Jesus Christ means to wear him like armor. Because to have Christ in your heart is better than any man-made armor covering your chest.
Lord, thank you for protecting my heart. Keep it safe from the falsehoods of this world. Let me have discernment.