Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
“And as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15)
A soldier’s shoes are very important so that the soldier can march on into battle. Imagine walking around barefoot for a day. Even more, imagine trekking through forests, climbing mountains, traversing hot desert sand, all with bare feet. Unless you have feet of iron, you would be left with a cut and wounded feet. There is no way a soldier could run and be swift in these conditions if his own feet became a hindrance.
And so, it is the same with our souls. Unless our hearts are fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace, we are not able to run and march on in our spiritual battle. If the gospel of peace is not deeply planted in our souls, we give the devil easy ground to tear us down.
The gospel of peace consists of two meaningful words that we will now consider. First, what is the gospel? In its original language, the gospel simply means good news. The story of Jesus is called the gospel because it is the good news of the universe. It is the greatest news.
God came to earth in the form of a man to die on the cross. God entered the problem of our sin and evil to be our atonement and redeemed us to life despite our dire condition. God’s love for us was infinitely displayed on the cross because He saved unworthy sinners like you and me. He defeated the dominion of death and evil by raising from the dead, and our hope is actual fact secured in history. He has made us His children, and He is now in heaven, interceding for us continually. One day He is coming back to wed His bride, the church, whom He will present to Himself as glorious and blameless.
This is good news. Even the angels knew it when they announced to the shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
From this gospel flows true peace in which we can rest and be ready in God. William Gurnall says in The Christian in Complete Armour, “True peace is the blessing of the gospel, and only of the gospel.” Apart from the gospel, there is no true peace because from the goodness of the gospel flows peace with God, peace with self, peace with others, and peace with the natural world.
Briefly, in the gospel, we can have peace with God because we have been made right with God in Christ’s death and resurrection. Our relationship with God, which was previously broken because of sin, has now been restored. We can now approach the throne of God as His children without fear. We have been reconciled with God, and judgement no longer awaits us. Rather, we can have eternal life, that is, to know Him (see John 17:3).
Because we have been reconciled with God, we can now have peace with ourselves. Our soul's deepest need is a relationship with God. Without it, we would never have a peaceful conscience. Only because of the gospel we can be truly satisfied and content. We can rest in peace in the relationship we can now have with God.
Also, the gospel creates in us a new heart that can love others. Hence, there can be peace in the community within the church. Apart from the gospel, true love and fellowship do not exist. However, peace has befallen us now; therefore, dwell in it!
Last, we have peace with the creatures of this world. For unbelievers, natural disasters are but a great tragedy. However, the Christian knows that “all things work together for the good of those that love him and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Though the winds may blow and the waves billow, our life is secure in the sovereignty of God.
Thus, to ready ourselves in the gospel means to take the gospel to heart, rejoice in the good news and rest in the peace God has given us. Thomas Watson would say there are two difficulties in pastoral ministry. One is to make the unbeliever sad in recognition of his need for God’s grace. The second was to make the believer joyful in response to God’s grace. Until we can really taste and savour the joy of the gospel, our Christian lives will be mundane. Until we experience the gospel for ourselves, there will be no true zeal and no readiness to serve God and resist the devil. Have you ever experienced the joy and peace of the gospel? Ponder on the goodness of the good news. There is nothing any better.
Lord, Thank You for the gospel of peace. Please help me to know You and what You have truly done for me. Help me to experience the joy and peace You offer, and let me be ready in my heart to obey You and live for You and resist the devil and his temptations. Thank You, God. In Jesus’ name, amen.