I CAN HEAR THE SOUND: GOSPEL PEACE
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace and Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (Ephesians 6:15; 1 Corinthians 12:7)
What is spiritual warfare? Doing battle against the powers of darkness; Expanding to receive the possibilities of your life; Warring against the flesh. It’s also learning to listen to the voice of our Commander in Chief, Jesus.
Winning in the war is a major part of the Spirit Filled Life. The sixth chapter of Ephesians shows us how to win the victory in the spiritual battles we face. This principle exists alongside every “Gifts of the Spirit” passages of Scripture. Strong Christians who know how to engage in effective spiritual warfare are necessary in the church-not only for their own personal benefit but also in the role of discipling and mentoring younger Christians. Let’s look at several important things that will help us win in any spiritual battle that comes our way.
- Relationships order (Eph. 6:1-9). These verses outline the proper way to submit in various types of relationships. Honor and mutual respect are paramount. This is critical for those who wield authority and those who submit to authority. Healthy relationships that exist according to the principles laid out in God’s Word afford protection against the devil’s attempts to gain entrance in our lives.
- Power and Strength in Presence (Eph. 6:10). This verse is the most significant key that we have been given in winning any spiritual battle. It is only God’s power that has been released within us through Holy Spirit that can help us overcome in the day of battle. We cannot win on our own, relying on our own power, intellect, or ability. As we yield and submit to the Spirit who lives in of us, we will find the strength and ability to fight and emerge victorious over the principalities and powers of darkness that attack.
Questions: (1) How can you tell if you are relying on your own power rather than God’s power in a spiritual battle? What are the results of trusting your own ability?
- Armed for Conflict (Eph. 6:13-17). The belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit are all included as pieces of God’s armor. The first five parts are defensive, while the last (the sword of the Spirit) is offensive in nature.
Believers are to build and to battle. There are two basic facts of believing life:
- Building – Nothing will ever be built until someone is willing to count the cost and respond to the need for the building. When we build wisely, like Jesus does, what is built will both last and it will be very fulfilling.
- Battling – No battles are ever won without troops being organized and making sure that you’re ready for battle. There is no and can never be neutrality in spiritual warfare.
REQUIRMENTS FOR BATTLE
Proper footwear is required for soldiers to be ready for combat. ὑποδήματα, “sandals,” could be used of military sandals (Josephus, J.W. 6.1.8), and the Roman soldier frequently wore the caliga, a half-boot, which was part of the equipment for long marches and which could be studded with sharp nails to enable a firm grip.
Roman soldiers wore sandals and boots that were bound by throngs over the instep and around the ankle, and the soles were thickly studded with nails. This would give him firm traction in case of attack. They were kind of like cleats.
Paul talks about the feet being fitted or shod, showing us that he is primarily influenced by the language of Old Testament passages that mention feet in connection with the proper proclamation of the Gospel of peace.
The text in question is LXX Isaiah 52:7, “as the feet of one preaching glad tidings of peace,” and (Nahum 1:15), Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Paul had used this verse in connection with the preacher of the Gospel in Romans 10:15, And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” but Paul does not link the equipping of the feet with the proclamation of the Gospel of peace in Ephesians, rather he connects it with the ἑτοιμασία, “readiness,” of the gospel of peace.
The term doesn’t actually mean “firm footing” primarily, its more usual sense is readiness, preparedness, or preparation. The word “preparation” is hetoimazō (ἑτοιμαζω), which was used in classical Greek in the sense of establishment or firm foundation.
The reference is, therefore, not to readiness to proclaim the gospel but to the readiness or preparedness for combat and for standing in the battle that is bestowed by the Gospel of peace.
In other words, Paul’s emphasis is paradoxical. It is the appropriation of the Gospel of peace that makes you ready for war.
The gospel of peace is embodied in Christ who “is our peace,” and this is a peace with both vertical and horizontal axes: peace with God the Father and peace between human beings, Jews and Gentiles, who were formerly at enmity. It’s the natural/supernatural component of faith. Up/down and spread in/out.
The preparation—rather, “the preparedness,” or “readiness of,” that is rising from the “Gospel,” is seen as us being equipped by the LORD in Scripture, Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear (Psalm 10:17). Preparedness to do and endure all that God wills for you; acquiring a readiness for marching, as a Christian soldier. In other words, moving and grooving to His orders, going where He says to go, taking His presence where He wants to be. This includes our places of association for being equipped, as it’s important to be where we are celebrated and where we can honor what we are connected to for advancing the Kingdom.
Our “peace” within is designed to form a beautiful contrast to the raging of the outward conflict. This is why Paul speaks of the readiness to announce the Good News of peace as the shoes the Christian warrior is to wear.
The Greek noun “preparation or readiness” occurs only once and it’s here in the New Testament. This makes it difficult to know for sure in what sense the word is used here by Paul. Let me give you a couple of possible meanings:
(1) It could mean “readiness of mind,” or the attitude that is required by soldiers as they advance into battle; so this would be equivalent of courage or determination or readiness to fight. It equips the Christian soldier with this attitude, this readiness of mind. In order to walk this way you need to think this way.
(2) The RSV translates “(having shod your feet) with the equipment of the gospel of peace,” which is not very clear. They mean that the Gospel ahs a lot of stuff to it that you can use.
(3) Others take the Greek word to mean firmness, stability, sure footing. So for Barth, it’s “steadfast because the gospel of peace is strapped under your feet” NEB “to give you firm footing” Moffat makes it “stability.”
(4) Others, like TEV, take the phrase to mean “the readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace”:
Now for my opinion. In Scripture, some things are difficult to explain or understand, yet there they are. Acts 2:6 tells us about language expansion: When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language (Acts 2:6). The drawing of the crowd and their confusion is an amazing thing: what drew them? They heard the sound that the Disciples heard in the Upper Room: a mighty rushing wind. This is the preparation of the Gospels proclamation, the sound of heaven, the outpouring of Holy Spirit and our willingness to respond to His desire to use us to become His voice. This verse could just as easily be translated: “When they heard the noise, a crowd came together. And they were bewildered because each one heard them speaking in their own languages.”
The implication is that the sound of Pentecost attracted the crowd. This is synonymous with Rabbinic teaching about the giving of the Law at Sinai. When the law was given, the voice was singular, yet Exodus 20:18 says: “all the people perceived the voices.” Rabbinic tradition says that this shows that the one voice divided into seven spirits/voices that were then heard in seventy tongues, and every people received the Law in their own language. The connection between the New and Old is powerful. Obedience leads to the workings of God in life.
With the baptism in the Holy Spirit come such experiences as: an overflowing fullness of the Spirit: On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! (John 7:37-39; Acts 4:8), a deepened reverence for God: Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Acts 2:43; Hebrews 12:28-29), an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42) and a more active love for Christ, for His Word and for the lost: Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. (Mark 16:20).
Even though we live in an age that is sin darkened because of the overwhelming number of sinners who live in it, we have the distinct privilege of ministering the Word of Jesus to this generation. There’s never been a generational like ours before us. More lives have been won for Jesus, and more lives have been martyred for Jesus then all of the church’s history put together.
This tells me that we live in a time of acceleration. The work of the Lord any hour day is different than in all the previous generations. Peter spoke of what we’re seeing shortly after his reception of this commission, when he made a reference to the last day is that the Prophet Joel spoke of. As the end of the age approaches, we can expect to do great things for Jesus as we live in the mandate of his commission. This is not idle talk. We have a reason to be excited. We’re recipients of the great day of grace, and even though darkness may cover the earth thicker than ever before, we have the opportunity to shine with a radiance that has been birthed in heaven, as Jesus, God the Son shines through us.
The next time you face a significant trial or struggle, remember how Jesus up here to those who would gathered and fear. Jesus entered into their presence, met with them, and then sent them for boldly, filled with confidence. He gave them a mission that manifested through their commission.