After tying his belt into place, the Roman solider settled his breastplate on his chest. He took the leather strings hanging from the breastplate and used them to tie the new armor piece to his belt. The belt had to be on before the breastplate. The breastplate protected the man’s heart and lungs.
Only after the belt of truth is put on can the Christian tie on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate of righteousness protects our hearts. The Greek word used here for “righteousness” means “justification” which comes from another Greek word that implies innocence and holiness. I looked up what, exactly, “righteousness” meant and I found one of its definitions is “the act, process, or state of being justified by God.” We are justified by God because of what Christ has done for us.
We cannot be righteous by ourselves, only when we are standing with Christ can we be righteous. In 2 Corinthians 5: 21 Paul states, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” When we choose to walk with Christ each day, we are choosing to walk in his righteousness. We find in Ephesians 4: 24 that we should “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
The opposite of righteousness is unrighteousness. Unrighteousness is sin and when there is sin in our lives, Satan has a foothold. Just as a Roman solider is much more vulnerable for defeat without protection of his vitals organs, Christians are exposed without the protections of Christ’s innocence and holiness.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness… (Ephesians 6:14)