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Feet Fitted with the Gospel of Peace (3)

We continue to meditate on Paul's thoughts about spiritual defense in the war between light and darkness. We have already talked about the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness. Let's now think through what he meant with the third part of the Roman soldier’s defensive capability, the ability to stand amid spiritual warfare. Here again, is the passage about our need for spiritual defense:

13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:13-15).

Paul next looked at the Roman soldier’s feet. He saw the caliga or half-boots with nails in them to grip the ground in combat. Without the studs in the soles, the Roman soldier would slip on the ground in battle. Paul compared it to having peace with God; if we don't have peace with God, we cannot stand before our spiritual enemies.

Jesus came as a mediator between God and man. Paul wrote that there was only one peacemaker or mediator between God and man; that person is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). When a man receives the gift of new life and is born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:3), there comes a deep settled peace with God, where that person knows in the depths of his heart that his soul is at rest before God. Paul the apostle wrote,

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

Not only does a Christian have peace with God, but he is given the peace of God: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27). When a Christian faces life-threatening danger or disaster, he has a deep settled peace that passes all understanding.

Eric Barker was a missionary from Great Britain who spent over fifty years in Portugal preaching the gospel, often under adverse conditions. During World War Two, the situation became so critical that he took the advice to send his wife and eight children to England for safety. His sister and her three children were evacuated on the same ship. Barker remained behind to conclude some mission matters. The Sunday after Barker's loved ones had left, he stood before the congregation and said, "I've just received word that all my family has arrived safely home." He then proceeded with the service as usual. Later, the full meaning of his words became known to the people. He was handed a telegram just before the meeting, informing him that a submarine had torpedoed the ship and drowned everyone on board. Barker knew that all on board the vessel were believers, and the knowledge that his family was enjoying the bliss of heaven enabled him to live above his circumstances despite his overwhelming grief.[1]

Another person who sees the same circumstances and does not have Christ ruling and reigning in his heart finds it difficult not to worry and be anxious. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). People often come to Christ when they see a Christian's peace in challenging circumstances. Everyone longs for this kind of peace. When we don't have this peace, there is irritability within our souls, which spills out in petulant anger with words we regret later, but our pride keeps us from apologizing. This kind of peace is given by God when we rest our souls on Christ. Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). When one feels tired of this world system and of having to face so much fear and anxiety pushed by the media, there is a place in the Savior where you may find a deep-settled peace. May this peace be yours today. Keith Thomas

This meditation is a shortened version of the more in-depth study: The Armor of God. [1] Edited by Michael Green. 1500 illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Baker Book House, page 260.

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