The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
As we continue our 7-week series on the "whole armor of God," we will look at the "shoes of the gospel of peace" today. Ephesians 6:15 states, "...and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace."
As a way of reminder, Paul is admonishing his readers to trust in the Lord for strength amidst spiritual warfare. He reminds the Ephesian believers that their ultimate battle is not "against flesh and blood," but "against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
Gospel of Peace
Why does Paul describe the shoes as the “gospel of peace” here? Isn’t all of the gospel in view in every piece of armor? The answer is yes. But Paul hyper-focused on peace as describing the gospel when he speaks of the shoes.
This is because of the peace that Paul has already written about earlier in the letter. Remember, God has told us in His Word that we are not naturally born as His children. We are not naturally born right with God. We are broken sinners from conception, at enmity with the God of the universe. We need someone to make peace for us.
Ephesians 2:14-16 makes this clear. Not only that, but it explicitly states that Christ Himself is our peace. Peace is more than just an inner feeling (though that is part of it); it is cemented in the person and work of Christ. He makes us right with God. And He unites Jew and Gentile in peace as one new man. No wonder the angels sang as they announced the birth of Jesus in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Christ’s death and resurrection brings us into a right relationship with God.
As for the term “shoes," we must again look to the Old Testament. Isaiah 52:7 says this:
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who bring good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’”
Paul quotes this verse in Romans 10:15 to show that this is referring to those who proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. This means you and I are to be equipped and ready to share the gospel with those around us. We are to be the proclaimers of this peace. This is not simply the task of pastors and missionaries. This is the task given to all believers, in every place and every era. We have the most important message in all the world and we are called to proclaim it!
Iain Duguid says of this passage:
“…heralds primarily need good shoes to enable them to travel far and fast to bring their message to those waiting to hear good news.”
There are people waiting to hear the gospel all around us: in our communities, at our workplaces, around our nation, and throughout the world. Hence, the urgency with which the disciples spread the message of the gospel.
As with all of the pieces of armor, Christ is the ultimate model of this. He is the One with the “most beautiful feet.” He came and proclaimed the gospel. There has never been and never will be a better gospel preacher than Jesus. Mark 1:14 tells us, “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God.”
What does this mean for us in practice? It means that we need to know the gospel, constantly preach it to our own hearts, and are ready to share it with those God has placed in our lives. Iain Duguid says it like this,
“The task of being a herald is simple and twofold: to get the message right and to get the message out.”
Make sure you know the real gospel:
The gospel is not that you are good enough. The gospel is not that you must “try harder” to live like Christ. The gospel is not even your own personal testimony. Most people outside of Christianity think that in order to be a Christian, you must live up to a certain code and that your place in heaven is earned by a certain amount of good works. Many people know nothing of the death and resurrection of Jesus, even in the United States.
The gospel is what Christ has done. The gospel is that you and I are separated from God because of our sin. And left in our sin, we would be eternally separated from God. But Jesus came down, lived righteously in our place, was killed as the perfect sacrifice in our place, and rose again to conquer Satan, sin, and death. Only by trusting in His finished work can we have a right relationship (peace) with God and forgiveness of sins. Only when we repent of our sins and turn to Christ can we be made whole. (For more, check out the page on our website, "What Is The Gospel?")
Then, as you continue to grasp the depths of the gospel, share it with your words and with your actions to those you do life with. May we have, as Scripture says, "beautiful feet" equipped with the "shoes of the gospel of peace."
Sermon Series: Ephesians: Church Alive In Christ