Indeed, throughout Paul’s writings he frequently refers to the gospel as the “gospel of God” or the “gospel of Christ.” In fact, this second expression, “the gospel of Christ,” is his most repeated favorite. So the question is this: Is the “gospel of peace” simply a synonym for the “gospel of Christ” or “the gospel of God?” In one sense it is, for it is clearly the same corpus of good news that Paul is citing. But in a different, dramatic way the “gospel of peace” refers to an element of the Gospel that is uniquely profitable to anyone seeking to stand in the midst of the spiritual battle all around us.
Prior to the 4th century BC, military leaders gave little or no thought to the feet of their soldiers. Today it seems almost laughable to think of soldier’s feet being considered so unimportant. As I think back over all the years of hearing war stories from the veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, etc., I distinctly remember infantrymen speaking passionately about their footwear. Over the past sixty years it’s no exaggeration to say that the United States Army has spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing the proper footwear for its troops in every conceivable environment. “As the feet go, so goes the soldier.” It’s as true today as when Alexander the Great first discovered it. So how is it that the “gospel of peace” is the footwear of choice in the spiritual war?
There are multiple translations of the word “readiness.” Some translate it “preparedness” or “watchfulness.” Paul says that there is a readiness, preparedness, and watchfulness that comes from putting on the “gospel of peace.” We will delve into all of this on Sunday. Perhaps it’s fitting that this Sunday at Hebron is not only Communion Sunday, but also the week in which we honor the Lord by recognizing our graduating high school seniors. They, like us, need their feet “shod” with the preparedness of the “gospel of peace.” They, like us, will find one place that’s most fitting to put it on – the table of the Lord.
In preparation for Sunday you may wish to consider the following:
1. How does Jesus’ act in John 13 inform us about the importance and significance of our feet?
2. Why do many commentators point to Romans 10:15 as a help in defining what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 6:15?
3. Do you think Paul’s reference to Isaiah 52 in Romans 10 is helpful in gaining an understanding of this piece of the armor of God?
4. What is the “gospel of peace”?
5. How is peace/shalom put on?
6. How does the gospel of peace enable us to stand?
7. What are the features of such footwear?
8. How does the gospel of peace make the Christian dangerous to Satan?
9. In the 16th century Martin Luther said, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” How did having the readiness given by the gospel of peace enable him to say that and mean it?
10. How does the gospel of peace give the Christian firmness, protection, and mobility?
See you Sunday!