06-03-2016 SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION

OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE

Published 06-03-2016

By John Aldworth

            Eph. 6:15: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Deut.29:5: And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.

Ezekiel 16:10: I clothed thee also with broidered work and shod thee with badger’s skins and I girded thee about with fine linen and I covered thee with silk.

Eph. 2:16-17: And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace unto you which were afar off and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

What is the preparation of the gospel and how do we ensure our feet are shod with it?

Clearly here the Apostle Paul is teaching us something of importance. Wearing the right footwear is part of our spiritual armour and is as important as the shield, helmet or sword we take unto ourselves as ‘the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil’ (Eph. 6:11). Obviously, a soldier cannot stand, walk or fight if his foot has been thrust through with a spear

Fact is, scripture has a lot to say about having wearing the right shoes in both the Old and New Testaments. At the beginning of their exodus from Egypt, Israelites were commanded to eat the Passover ‘…with your loins girded and your shoes on your feet and your staff in your hand’ (Ex. 12:11).

In haste to depart the Israelites were to ready themselves, or prepare, for a long journey. The same picture holds true for grace-saved believers today. We are advised to ‘flee youthful lusts’ (2 Tim. 2:22) and also to flee the ‘love of money’ and other ‘foolish and hurtful lusts’ (1 Tim. 6:9-10). And, if you’re fleeing then you’re making haste.

A hasty departure then from lust and unbelief is part of the preparation of the gospel. Just as it was when Jesus sent forth his disciples to preach the good news of the kingdom of heaven. In Mark 6:8-10 we read:

And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip (packed lunch), no bread, no money in their purse. But be shod with sandals and not6 put on two coats.

In short they were to trust God to supply all their needs on the journey, just as we must do. So, absolute trust in the full provision of grace for our needs is part of the ‘preparation of the gospel’.

But there’s more. The Israelites wilderness journey, the Apostle Paul says, is an example for us. Amazingly in the 40-year trek nobody’s shoes wore out. (Deut. 29:5). Neither did their clothes. Spiritually speaking, our God-given shoes of the preparation of the gospel won’t wear out either.

But, according to Eph. 6:15, we have to be ‘shod’ with them. To me this suggests that like horses, about to race or go to work, we have be shoed by a farrier or blacksmith. Did you know that racehorses wear iron shoes during training but are shod with lighter aluminium plates to race?  And, we have “a race set before us’ that we should run with patience (Heb. 12:4). Mind you, badger skin shoes sound a lot more comfortable that metal shoes!

The message thus far is clear: we have to be shod with something only God can shoe us with and we need to be ready to leave on a long journey. However, before we move out to stand in the battle there must be preparation of the gospel of peace.

Scripture has much to say about preparation and the need for it. John the Baptist sounded the call to ‘prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’ (Matt. 3:3); Jesus assured his earthly disciples before He left that ‘I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:23). In his last letter the Apostle Paul urged Philemon, ‘But withal prepare me a place also’ (Philem. 22). It’s a call many Christians fail to heed. In their belief system they have prepared no place for Paul; consequently, the glorious truths of grace and the mystery are hid from them.

And so is real understanding of what the apostle meant when he spoke of the ‘preparation of the gospel of peace’. Peace here does not mean just being nice to everybody as some think. We’re in a fight; we must ‘stand again the wiles of the devil’, remember? Does no good to offer peace to him.

Actually, in and of itself, peace is the preparation of the gospel. But it’s a special peace. It’s not peace between Jews and Christians, nor is it a ceasefire between believers and the devil; he’s going to keep shooting anyway.

No, this peace is a total unconditional proclamation of peace from God the Father to all sinners and to Gentiles in particular. You see Christ through his death for sin and resurrection in righteousness has already made peace with the Father on our behalf. And, as the Apostle John, says, ‘…He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world’ (1 John 2:2).

All the world can be saved because God has already forgiven everybody because of Christ’s payment for sin. Most of mankind is at war with God and won’t come to Him, but God is not at war with them. Actually, He is offering peace to all, in the form of unconditional forgiveness that cannot be revoked.

Thus in Eph. 4:32: we are told: ‘…God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you’. And He has already forgiven everybody else if only they will believe it.

This is why Paul in all his epistles greets his readers with ‘grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Eph. 1:1).

The gospel of peace is that all sins have already be paid for and the way made for all men to come home to Father as his children. But before we can proclaim this to others we must first be sure we have fully believed it ourselves and know the peace of God in our hearts. This is the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Col. 1: 20:22: And having peace through the blood of his cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.