With the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left.– 2 Corinthians 6:7
There are weapons of righteousness for each of our hands. The phrase, “weapons of righteousness,” sometimes translated as, “armor of righteousness,” has been interpreted many ways, from the plausible to the ludicrous. These weapons are often linked to our spiritual armor found in Ephesians 6. Though I do believe there is likely some link to the armor of God, I believe John Calvin was closer to the mark when he linked these weapons to holy conduct and a clear conscience. Understanding it in this way, we can see them as both armor and weapons.
Nothing can hinder us in our work for the Lord more than sin and a troubled conscience. In both of these things, we find ourselves exposed to the attacks of Satan and unable to work to advance the kingdom of God. However, with a righteous life and a clear conscience, we can stand in the midst of adversity and persecution.
The real problem is that in and of ourselves, we have neither. We are guilty and we know it, but in Jesus we find our forgiveness and acceptance in the Beloved. Jesus is the foundation of our armor and weapons of righteousness. None of us have any ability or right to stand in truthful speech and the power of God unless we are in Christ, but with him we can stand with our conscious clear, justified by His blood.
From there we must grow in sanctification. This means we are not only declared righteous, but we also begin to be conformed to His image. If we plan to stand against the prince and the power of the air and the patterns of this world, both justification and sanctification are necessary.
As we grow in the Lord, we become able to work to advance the kingdom of God without any fault being found in our work. We must put aside underhanded ways (2 Cor. 4:2). In this way we can press on in the face of any mistreatment, knowing that we have conducted ourselves according to the word of God.
It is only with these weapons of righteousness that we can stand as servants of God and commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. Treated as impostors, and yet true; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything with our hearts wide open (2 Cor. 6:4-11).
2 thoughts on “The Weapons of Righteousness”
Wow, there really is a lot of different views on this one verse. He continues “by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report”, which tells me that my life in Christ is going to result in a full range of responses from the brethren to the worldly. I kept coming back in my mind to how Jesus said in regard to giving to not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing. Matthew 6 speaks convincingly about the motive for our actions.
Perhaps the key to understanding this passage in 2 Co 6 was back in verse 3:
“Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed.”
Doesn’t matter if we walk in truth and are called a deceiver (v.8), since Jesus was also accused of the same.
This text parallels Philippians 4:
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 4:12.
Okay, I am getting carried away. Great devotional, really made me think and led me into a sound 30 minute study. Very good word and work.
Peace of Christ
Jim, thank you for your thoughts. I think the passage hit us both in the same way. There is a lot to consider with this phrase. I really appreciate light you shed on the subject.