Fundamental 2—Repentance (Breastplate of Righteousness) (Eph 6:14)
The breastplate protects a soldier’s most vital organs. The breastplate of righteousness we have is not because of our righteousness, but because of Jesus. When we are not righteous and holy as God is holy, it should lead us to repentance.
Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV) says, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles preached repentance, so why don’t we hear about it in some churches today?
Repentance is not only a one-time event at salvation. You don’t need to constantly repent in order to be saved, however we are called to example ourselves and repent when we grieve our Heavenly Father. The breastplate of righteousness is not our own righteousness, but Christ’s. Jesus said, “For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Matthew 9:13 NLT). Righteousness is found through faith in Christ (Philippians 3:9). It is not self-righteousness.
After we receive His righteousness, then we live out the righteousness of Christ, not in condemnation or self-inflicted burden of the rules of the Bible, but in the freedom Christ promises! This is not freedom to sin, but freedom to be a slave of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22).
Our daily discipline should be to examine ourselves and observe if there is any unrighteousness in us. David prayed a humble prayer: “Create in me a pure heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10 NIV). 1 John 1:9 (NIV) says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” That’s a big IF at the beginning of this promise. A wise discipline with confession is when you are in accountability with someone else. It’s sometimes too easy to say a quick prayer under your breath and go and do the same sin the next day. Being in accountability with someone means that you have to be vulnerable, open, and honest. Confession is not just telling a good story of what happened, but it needs to be partnered with repentance, which is turning away from that sin. Our goal in the process of sanctification is to be more like Christ every day.
You can’t desire both sin and Jesus at the same time. If you see sin for what it truly is and the reason for your Savior having to go to the cross, your desire for that action should diminish and eventually fade away completely.
What does confession and repentance look like in your life? Do you have someone you are in accountability with when you do need to confess your sin?