Armor of God Series, Part 2

The Sandals of Peace

“Finally, my brethren, he strong in the LORD, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
—Ephesians 6:10-17

SANDALS WERE WORN to protect the wearer’s feet from the rough, stony pathways that served as roads at the time of our Lord. Some Bible commentators think that Paul was in this reference speaking of military shoes worn to protect the feet during battle, rather than the ordinary sandals of those days which were open to the weather. Since he is describing the battle dress of the Christian, this is quite probable. But our theme Scripture does describe them as “the preparation for the Gospel of peace.”

How can sandals be preparation for the Gospel of peace? Let’s look at several translations of Ephesians 6:15. We have just quoted the King James Version; Knox’s Version reads, “In readiness to publish the Gospel;” Rotherham says, “In readiness of the glad message of peace;” and, finally from the Twentieth Century Translation, “With readiness to serve the good news of peace as shoes on your feet.” Notice that all these translations agree that the covering for the feet is the preparation of peace. When we leave our homes, we put on our shoes to prepare for whatever mission we have in mind to accomplish. If we were soldiers, it would be even more important for us to protect our feet before leaving for the battle. Our sandals, or shoes, are indeed important parts of our dress, and without them we might not be successful.

What was the message given so many centuries ago to Abraham? Was not the message, as recorded in Genesis 22:18, a glad message—a Gospel of peace? “In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” What comfort it brings to our hearts to realize that God has had a plan for the recovery of mankind from the thraldom of sin and death, and that it will bring blessings to every one of his human creation. What a wonderful message for us to publish abroad as the ‘feet’ members of the body of Jesus Christ. This is a message with which we are delighted to go forth, spreading to others the message of the kingdom—“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,”—the time when there will be peace between God and men, as well as peace among men.

To herald forth the message having our feet shod with this great Gospel of peace, the Lord’s people have become God’s ambassadors—ambassadors of the Heavenly King! An ambassador is a public minister sent from a sovereign government. Therefore God’s ambassadors have been appointed by him to declare his will and ways, plans and purposes, to promote his standards of righteousness to men, so that eventually a spiritual alliance with him will be consummated.

This is the work that we have been given to do; We have the privilege of promoting this blessed message of peace to all who will listen to it. We read in Isaiah 52:7: “Flow beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publishes peace that bringeth good tidings of good, that publishes salvation.” It is impossible for us to truly appreciate the privilege we have been offered—that of going forth as God’s ambassadors.

This message of peace among the nations, peace within families, peace between friends, and co-workers, peace between rival company’s, peace between neighbors, peace between husbands and wives, and especially, peace between God and man, is even more appropriate today than ever, because we are in a time when unrest, discontent, and disharmony is rife! Just as we have been prophetically warned concerning the discord and strife which would prevail on earth all throughout the Gospel Age, even until now—its harvest time—so we find it to be true. (Jer. 6:14; Matt. 24:6-9) We, the feet members of Christ’s body, have a responsibility as God’s messengers to give out the good news of God’s kingdom which will institute peace and harmony among men through the rulership of the Prince of Peace.—Isa. 9:6

In Malachi 2:7, God said to Israel long ago, “The priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law of his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.” And again in II Corinthians 5:20, “Now we are ambassadors for Christ.” Our feet are to be shod always with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. In other words, we are constantly to be prepared and ready to promote peace. We are to be the very embodiment of peace, as was our Savior, our example. But how is this accomplished? First we must make a full, complete consecration, to the doing of God’s will, just as our Lord Jesus did. We read in Proverbs 23:26: “My son give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Paul quoted from the “volume of the Book” concerning our Master, “Lo I have come to do thy will, O God.” (Heb. 9:7-9) He is our exemplar in all things. When we have followed in his steps, and have given our hearts fully to the Lord, we will have taken the first step of preparation to be ministers of peace.

Along these lines we have the Apostle Paul’s words recorded for our admonition, when he encouraged us saying: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”—Rom. 12:1

Yes, a life of sacrifice begins with the heart, the will, and extends outward to every avenue of our lives. One of these avenues is our time, and one beneficial use of our time is the study of God’s Word. To be prepared as ministers of peace, we need to study what is acceptable behavior in the sight of the Lord. We are told in II Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”

Ephesians 5:15-16, reads “See then that you walk circumspectly not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” And we will certainly agree that we live in evil times. There are many voices calling us out into the world, demanding our time. Many are worthy causes, fighting this or that form of evil in the world. But, as Christians, we cannot spare our time to ‘push back the tide with a broom’, despite our instincts to do what we can now to fight against the evils we see all around us. We know that a day, specifically designed for that purpose, is coming when the great Prince of Peace, the Lord of righteousness, will right all wrongs, and conquer and destroy all evil.

So we must walk circumspectly, being aware of the allurements to join with these well-meaning but unenlightened folk, knowing that life is very short and we have only been given a very short time to know and do his will, proving that we will be worthy to be the ministers of peace in his kingdom. We must spend as much time with Jesus as we possibly can by sacrificing some of life’s pleasures and interests, toward learning more of God’s will and ways. Paul advised, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” (Col 4:5) We are to ‘search the Scriptures’, and speak to one another of Jesus, his life, and his message. (Acts 17:11) We are told that we have been called for this purpose, “because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps.”—I Pet. 2:21

Learning what it means to be a disciple of Christ is part of putting on the sandals of peace. It is necessarily the first preparation for our proclamation of the Gospel of peace. Our message is a message of peace. We are to be peacemakers. Our anointing is to bring the message of peace and comfort, and therefore we must be examples of these beautiful qualities. Isa. 61:1,2 says: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord bath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” This is a message of peace between God and man.

The word peace brings beautiful visions to our minds. It means ‘rest’ or ‘quietness’. It means different things to different people. Our Lord spoke to his disciples, saying, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) This is true heart peace! This is peace that is not dependent upon outside forces. The Apostle Paul knew where this peace came from. He said, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13) Peace always comes to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a message or tribute from the Heavenly Father of his acceptance of us through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Without the Holy Spirit, we would not know the way to follow in his steps.

True peace in the church and among the brethren starts with each individual member of the body of Christ. If we do not have peace ourselves and among ourselves, how can we share it with others? “We beseech you brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”—I Thess. 5:12,13

How do we go about spreading this message of peace? In Matthew 10:11, we are told, “Into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.” This is a message that is appropriate for all God’s people, to be used in their endeavors to preach the good news of the kingdom. This describes concisely what we try to accomplish. We have follow-up privileges, calling on those who have shown an interest in the good news presented to them by means of “The Bible Answers” TV programs, or “Frank & Ernest” radio programs, or possibly by reading about the glad tidings of salvation on a tract.

In the apostles’ days, the message went forth from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and later on, at the village square. Their message sometimes fell upon deaf ears, but it was never forced upon their listeners. Of their efforts we read: “They shook the dust off their feet and left,” if none were interested. If the message falls on ‘deaf’ ears, we move on to ears that are tender and open, ones that God is working with. If the message is received, we rejoice to pass on our peaceful message to the hungry, weary ones, with ears to hear.

We do not speak the truth without having given our presentation a great deal of thought. We must know which scriptures we wish to share on a particular subject. We must take time to search them out, and sort them into an orderly fashion in our minds. Having done this, we should take the matter of witnessing to others to the Lord in prayer. With the aid of the Holy Spirit we will clearly sound forth the message of peace and goodwill.

This is the harvest time. This is the time for gathering the ripe wheat. The Scriptures tell us that the harvest is the end of the age, and we know that there is but a little time left to seek out the remaining grains of wheat before the close of the Gospel Age. Let us go forward, shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. May God help us to this end!

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Dawn Bible Students Association
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