Do you like winning? And do you like surprises?
Have you heard that the only way you can win in life’s ultimate contest is through the unselfish giving of genuine love? The meek and lowly win, and the braggarts and proud lose! Surprise!
The opposite principles of good and evil are not only the issues in conflict, but are also the weapons. Satan began the battle by speaking the lie, promoting selfishness, taking, even life, eventually even the life of Jesus. Jesus fought using the truth, unselfish giving, even giving Himself.
Righteousness describes the image of God in which man was created, but lost when the lie came. In other words, mankind abandoned faith and love. God restores sinful humans—He wins in the battle of no faith and love—by simply treating us sinners with faith and love. If we receive these gifts and return them to Him and pass them on to others, we wear the “breastplate” in the battle.
God’s restoration of His image in man is motivated by His core character quality, that of humble, unselfish love.
This is why Paul in one place stressed the importance of “having on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14), and elsewhere wrote of “putting on the breastplate of faith and love” (1 Thessalonians 5:8). A “breastplate” may appear to serve only a defensive function, but its effectiveness in protecting one against the attacks of faithlessness and lovelessness makes it a powerful, offensive weapon to win others to the same way of fighting.
God’s restoration of His image in man is motivated by His core character quality, that of humble, unselfish love. And this love He expresses in promises (“I will do…”) and commands (“[You will] do…”), words of creative faith, believing all things. The positive response to these words of God is described as faith also, a responsive faith. This faith God counts as righteousness, because it is, and it works by love, a love that is but a response to His love. And thus one overcomes evil with good.
In Jesus’ identification with sin and death, He overcame both by His faith and love, and on our behalf. By identifying with every sinner, He has included us in His victory, enabling everyone to experience all the good they have. We are now called to good cheer (John 16:33), and to overcome as He did (Revelation 3:21).
Surprise others by the simplicity of His victory!
Fred Bischoff became involved in Adventist history while working as a preventive medicine physician in southern California for Kaiser Permanente and serving on the clinical faculty, School of Medicine and School of Public Health, Loma Linda University. He found his greatest joy in exploring and explaining "the simplicity that is in Christ" in relation to history and prophecy, which culminate in the Adventist mission.