Ephesians 6:15. and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
There is a great paradox here: we fight in peace. The conflict is raging all around you but you are prepared with peace. Your feet have been fitted with the shoes of the gospel. And what has the gospel done for us? It has graciously given us peace with God. Peace that flows from our righteousness in Christ. Peace from the gospel of truth.
Put on readiness
The construction here is a bit different. We have put readiness or preparedness on our feet (the verse doesn’t actually say the word shoes). Readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. As a soldier you would hardly be ready without your feet being ready. Bad feet = bad soldier. Unsteady, sliding, slipping feet make you useless in a fight. Clearly the barefoot soldier suffers the disadvantage.
(Warning: language) Two standing orders: take care of your feet and don’t do anything stupid…
There is no greater footing than the gospel. Nothing makes us more steady in the trials and temptations of life. Literally nothing else can allow you to stand through life. Take the gospel out of the equation, where would your footing be? How would you stand in the sufferings and failures of this life? You would be reduced to counting on that which is earthly and temporal alone. But could anything in this life truly allow you to stand against your guilt, your shame, your mortality, your lack of self-control, your poor judgment, the evil inside of you not to mention the evil that attacks from the outside of you?
Praise God Christ is our peace. Not our own ability to make things right. Not our problem solving skills. Not any change in our circumstances (which come and go by the way). Our shalom is a person. A life. A substitutionary life. And the grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation it offers. Every other offer of peace depends on you and me. We have to generate peace with God and with ourselves by our own ability to make things right. But the very thought of that is quite the opposite of peace isn’t it?
But not anymore. We have peace with God, with ourselves, and with each other through the life and death of our Savior. He has made everything wrong right again. He has removed all debt and all destruction. He has unified us to God and to humanity. He has ended the law keeping which once produced only guilt and shame and a whole lot of stress (never peace). And he has given us direct access to God. To sit at his feet and rest. Really rest. Like Mary. Being OK with everything not being our definition of OK. Unlike poor Martha.
Ephesians 2:14-18. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Live in readiness
When we have put on the readiness of the gospel as our combat boots we are living in such a way that we are always ready to share the good news of peace with others. “How beautiful are the feet of those who share the good news” the prophet Isaiah said.
Look at Ephesians 2:14-18 above again. Jesus is peace. But what did he do with this peace that he personified? He preached it. Ephesians 2:17 is a really fascinating statement because Jesus himself never preached to the Ephesians as it says he did. So what does Paul mean? He means that Christians, who are the body of Christ, preached this peace to the people of Ephesus. Christians like Paul himself.
This is our war. Our fight. Our stand against the Enemy. To bring the gospel of peace to the world around us. We are not takers of life. We are declarers of Christ’s life. Livers of his life that expose his life to all we meet. We are ambassadors of his kingdom of light living in a kingdom of darkness. We stand and wrestle by picturing and proclaiming the peace of God that can only come through peace with God through faith in the life and work of Jesus Christ.
“To live is Christ” has given us a sure footing. A solid ground on which to stand. The life of Jesus Christ, the God-man, who is both our peace and fills our souls with peace. Again the paradox – this now is our fight, to share his peace with the world by living from our peace with God and by being ready to proclaim the gospel of peace to all who are weary and heavy laden seeking rest.