and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace
(Ephesians 6:15 ESV)
We are currently reading a passage in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in which he describes various pieces of metaphorical armor that anyone who is a born-again child of God [John 1:12-13] must “wear” in order to stand against Satan’s deception. Yesterday we learned that we must be girded in truth and we must protect ourselves with Christ’s righteousness.
The next item we should put on is shoes. In modern times war is waged mostly from long distances. But 2,000 years ago it was accomplished by man-to-man combat. In order to physically fight an enemy one-on-one a soldier needed to have secure footing. To that end, Roman soldier’s sandals were spiked much like modern athletic cleats to provide stability and leverage.
Likewise Christians needs to have a solid foundation in order to fight Satan. That foundation is the gospel. The Greek word translated “gospel” is εὐαγγέλιον (pronounced: yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on) which means “good news”. This is the overall message of God’s love for all people that permeates the entire Bible. The famous verse John 3:16 sums it up nicely.
Notice that the gospel provides a certain readiness. In other words, without having the gospel as our foundation we are not ready to fight. Therefore we must understand the gospel and we must be embrace it as the source of power in our lives.
In boxing, punching power is derived from the legs. The leg muscles are the strongest muscles in the body and a boxer is taught to pivot his torso using the power of his lower body. This makes each punch more powerful. But in order to do this, he must be stable – his feet can’t be slipping from underneath him.
The context of the passage we are reading is standing firm against Satan’s lies. We cannot stand firm if we are not standing on solid ground. Unlike a boxer Christians are never called upon to take the offensive. Nevertheless, we need to derive our power from the solid foundation that is the gospel. Otherwise we’ll get knocked over.
Notice that the gospel is a message of peace. The gospel offers peace between God and His creation [Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:14] – peace that was lost when sin entered the world. The gospel also brings peace with one another [Ephesians 2:16]. We must remember this when we stand up to Satan. His attacks always tempt us to do or say something that would damage our peace with God and/or with other people.
The reason why the world is in such disarray is precisely because the gospel is not the foundation of people’s lives. Hence they unwittingly fall prey to the lies and deception of Satan which aims to create discord on earth. Obviously Satan is achieving his goal.
Isn’t it sad that Satan wages war against peace? But that is exactly what he does. And isn’t it ironic that the Prince of Peace leads an army? But that is exactly how the Bible describes our existence on this earth. Until Satan is defeated at the end of Jesus’ 1,000 year reign on earth [Revelation 20:7-10], we will need to be ready by standing firm upon the gospel of peace.
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