This blog post is part of a series on spiritual warfare. If you need to catch up, click on these links to read previous posts:
Spiritual Strongholds: The Enemy is in our Camp!
How to Defeat a Spiritual Stronghold
The Armor of God: Stand Firm!
The Armor of God: The Belt of Truth
The Armor of God: The Breastplate of Righteousness
Our scripture passage is Ephesians 6:10-20.
Ephesians 6:15 – …and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace
Today, we are putting on our shoes. We have realized we are surrounded by spiritual warfare between God and our enemy, Satan. We have recognized his tactics of spiritual strongholds in our mind and heart. We have determined and are motivated by the commands of our Father to stand firm in the face of attack. We have wrapped ourselves up with the truth, being in Christ, who is Truth, and living truthful lives. We are secure in the righteousness of Christ which was given to us in exchange for our sin, and Christ being in us, living out His life in us of holiness and obedience.
Now it is time to put something on our feet: the preparation of the gospel of peace!
The word gospel (Strongs 2098) is euaggelion. It’s a compound word from eu, good or well, and aggello, to proclaim or tell. In other words, to tell what is good. The word originally denoted a reward for good tidings; later, the idea of reward was dropped, and the word stood for “the good news” itself.
The English word “gospel,” i.e. “good message,” is the equivalent of euangelion (English, “evangel”). In the NT it denotes the “good tidings” of the Kingdom of God and of salvation through Christ, to be received by faith, on the basis of His death, His burial, resurrection, and ascension. It is the root of our English words evangelistand evangelism.
Paul uses the word gospelin two distinct ways, though the two are connected.
(a) Historically: of the basic facts of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, as in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:
Now I make know to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
(b) Doctrinally: of the interpretation of these facts, indicated by the context, as in Galatians 1:6-9:
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospelcontrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospelcontrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
Have you ever heard someone say, “That’s the gospel truth!”? By using that phrase, their purpose is to convince you that what they are saying is absolutely true. The word “gospel” has become synonymous with “truth” although the unbelieving world does not accept the actual gospel of Jesus Christ as the truth.
It is important to remember that we are putting on the shoes of the gospel, and that our gospel must be the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ. We cannot stand firm, or walk confidently, if our shoes have holes of unbelief and doubt, or wrong doctrine. If we are going to battle in spiritual warfare, we must be standing on a firm foundation of the pure gospel.
This is exactly why we study God’s Word diligently, as we are encouraged in 2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
As we share the gospel, this is equally important. If we are sharing with a pre-Christian, we do not need to get caught up in pointless arguments or debates about things which are not essential for salvation. We should keep it to the simplicity and purity of the gospel. It’s interesting: that’s exactly the point and purpose of 2 Timothy 2:15. Let’s read the verses in context:
2 Timothy 2:14-16 – Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness.
Here’s an example: If you are trying to witness to a co-worker, don’t get caught up in political debates, even in your passion for truth and righteousness. Focus instead on speaking and living words of grace and truth to create a desire to know more of the God you serve, so that you do not inadvertently alienate a person before you ever get a chance to share the gospel with them! Remember: our enemy is NOT another person. Our enemy is spiritual.
Why do you think Paul uses the phrase “gospel of peace”? What is it about the gospel that is connected to peace?
Let’s look at another passage in which we find the word “peace” in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and see what we can learn about the gospel itself.
Ephesians 2:14-15 – For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near.
We are speaking of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself is our peace. The gospel makes peace between God and men. When Christ paid our sin debt as law-breakers, He abolished the enmity (what the Law held against us), and reconciled us to God. The gospel also made peace between Jews and Gentiles, as the Law was abolished and we now all come to God through Christ, not trying to keep the Law.
So, the gospel is a gospel of peace because it establishes peace between God and men. We once were enemies of God, but now we have been “brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).
So, practically, how do we put on the shoes of the gospel of peace and how does the gospel help us in spiritual warfare?
Here are few applications from scripture.
#1 – We put on our shoes by accepting the gospel, through personal salvation.
Ephesians 1:13 – In Him, you also, after listening to the message of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.
If you want to go out into battle unprepared, the easiest way to do it would be to run out barefoot! The physical shoes we wear are a great illustration of how we protect our feet. Settle with God the fact of your salvation. It is vital to your ability to stand in spiritual warfare. If you find yourself losing battle after battle, perhaps you need to go back and establish if you really, truly have given yourself completely to God, or have you only recognized God intellectually, but not surrendered your life and heart to His Lordship?
2 Corinthians 13:5 – Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?
(I’m adding that topic to my list of potential future blogs: How do you test yourself to see if you are in the faith?)
#2 – We stand in our shoes, by planting our feet firmly on the foundation of the gospel.
Ephesians 6:15 – …and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace
The word for preparation(Strongs 2091) is hetoimasia. It means the condition of a person or thing so far as prepared; preparedness, readiness. This would agree with our point #1, that we must first be prepared in our own life by accepting the gospel.
According to Vines Expository Dictionary, the word “preparation” also has the meaning of firm footing (foundation). Vines proposes, if that is the meaning in Ephesians 6;15, then the gospel itself is to be the firm footing of the believer, his walk being worthy of it and therefore a testimony in regard to it.
Zodhiates Complete Word Study Dictionary agrees with Vines. I’m paraphrasing him below.
This meaning (foundation, basis, firm footing) best agrees with the scope of Eph. 6:15, the only passage in the NT where the word occurs in relation to the use of the military shoe. Paul advises Christian converts to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil,” “having done everything, to stand firm,” and “stand firm, therefore…” This intimates the firm and solid knowledge of the gospel in which the believer may stand firm and unmoved like soldiers in their military duty. The Roman soldiers were furnished with shoes that had cleats on the soles for this purpose.
Paul warns the believers about deserting the gospel they heard (Galatians 1:6) and the necessity of continuing in our faith, firmly established and steadfast, and not moving away from the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23).
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
How does this enable us to stand firm?
We have a cause to stand – the gospel of Christ. Anything that raises itself against the truth of the gospel must be our enemy. Having a solid footing, a firm foundation through first of all, a personal experience of the gospel – we are truly believers and are not “intellectual assenters” acting like we believe, and then through a thorough and complete understanding of the gospel, as our minds are enlightened by the Spirit of God through His Word, allows us to stand firm in spiritual warfare. We are unable to be shaken or moved away from this firm foundation of truth. We “dig our heels in” so to speak. We are not standing on rocky or sandy soil trying to do hand to hand combat with the enemy. If we are not firmly grounded in the truth of the gospel, we will be easily swayed – pushed away, discouraged and defeated.
How do you respond when spiritual warfare comes? If we run, turn our backs, abandon the truth of the gospel and embrace the sin and the world God rescued us from, we are not standing firm in the gospel. We have forgotten to put on our shoes!
Here’s a practical example of standing firm in the gospel:
Something happens in your workplace where you just don’t do your best. For whatever reason, you fail at a project or at least feel like you weren’t able to achieve what you wanted. Satan whispers in your ear, “You are worthless. Another person would be much better at this job. You should just give up and quit.” To make matters worse, your boss brings you in and confronts you about the failure. You feel humiliated. You have two choices. You can believe what that little voice is whispering in your ear, and agree with it, and lose confidence in your ability to do your job, or even worse, become angry at your boss for confronting you and walk out. Or, you dig your heels firmly in the gospel and remember what God says:
I cover all your mistakes!
I love you despite any human failures!
You don’t have to be perfect, because my perfect Son covers you!
Humble yourself, accept discipline and teaching, and wait for me to exalt you.
#3 – We walk in our shoes, by an obedient life, worthy of the gospel.
Ephesians 4:1 – Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.
Ephesians 4:17 – So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind…
Ephesians 5:1 – Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
The gospel transforms us, so as we move forward in our Christian life, we walk in awareness that we are propelled by this gospel, changed by it, and motivated to obey God because of its power in our life. There are many, many verses in Scripture about how we proclaim the gospel just by our actions, without using words.
#4 – We leave footprints of our shoes, by proclaiming the gospel.
Remember what we just learned about the gospel of peace? This amazing grace which God extended to us reconciled us to God! The longer we walk with God, the more we begin to understand the significance and value of this great gift, and this creates in us a passion for others to know Him.
Paul says it this way:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
We are to be ministers of reconciliation.
What a great concept! Remember, we are talking about spiritual warfare, and we began this study to learn how to defeat spiritual strongholds in our mind and heart. What better way to keep Satan out of our mind and heart than to think about, ponder, talk about, write about, speak about, the gospel of Christ? He hates the gospel. By sharing the gospel, we are continually reminding ourselves of the power of God in our life, and all the wonderful, victorious things He has done for us and provided to us! As we are continually grateful for what God has done in our life, our words and life will spill over into sharing that with others, proclaiming the gospel, deepening and strengthening our own faith,
By proclaiming the gospel, we can be used of God to snatch other precious people from Satan’s kingdom, and watch as God gloriously transfers them into His own righteous kingdom! How’s that for a strategy to defeat the enemy?
Ephesians 6:19 – …and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel…
Isaiah 52:7 – How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Romans 10:13 – For “Whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
2 Corinthians 2:14 – But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
The shoes of the gospel of peace leave footprints. Some of us have little feet, some have bigger feet, and every footprint is unique. If you walk across a sandy beach barefoot with your family, you can look back and see that each person’s imprint is absolutely unique to them. We all walk “differently” in the way our feet land on the ground, and how we push off on the heels. But covering all of our differences is the precious gospel of Jesus Christ, and as we walk through life, fighting spiritual battles, we can all leave footprints of the sweet aroma of Christ—the gospel.
So…I ask you. What is the condition of your shoes? What prints are you leaving? How are you standing firm? Are you on firm footing? Are you leaving the aroma of Christ where you walk? Are you laboring as a minister of reconciliation?
Do you have “beautiful feet?”
Stand firm…having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.