Most of us have heard about putting on the “whole armor of God,” but what, exactly, is this? And what are the verses that speak about it really saying? Last time we saw that the first thing we are to “put on” is truth–real truth, what God says is true in His Word–and Christ’s righteousness, which those who truly follow Him have attributed to them. But is there anything more? Are there any other elements of the armor of God that we are to equip ourselves with?
“And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15)
The word shod means covered, but even with that clarification, this verse isn’t easy to understand–“and having put on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace.” So what, exactly, is the preparation of the gospel of peace?
One of the ways we can better understand a more obscure verse is by looking up the confusing words in a Bible dictionary, perhaps the word “preparation.” Doing so in this case, unfortunately, give us little insight because the meaning of the word translated “preparation” is shown as “preparation” (albeit rarely, this does occasionally happen)!
Another way we can help ourselves is by checking different versions. The Amplified Bible renders this verse, “And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.”(Ephesians 6:15 AMP) The NIV translates it, “And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15 NIV)
Doing this alerts us to the fact that we’re not to put on “the preparation of the gospel of peace,” but rather that putting on the gospel of peace is in preparation for spiritual warfare–much a soldier prepares–in the words of the AMP, “to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news.” Knowing the good news–the significance of Christ’s coming, death, and resurrection and what it means to us today is what prepares us, what gives us stability and sure-footedness, in spiritual warfare. So what is the good news, or gospel of peace?
The gospel of peace is the message of reconciliation between God and man through Christ. Many times we misunderstand the peace that Christ brought. Bucolic Christmas scenes come to mind and we think of peace of mind and personal serenity. Alternately, we think of peace among men–yet we forget that the angel’s exact words were, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14) The goodwill toward men that Christ brought was God’s merciful goodwill toward us, even though “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jeremiah 17:9) The peace that comes to earth is a reconciliation between a holy, righteous God and sinful mankind, hopeless to extricate itself from its condition–an amelioration of His rightful wrath toward us. That is the gospel of peace, and it is indeed good news.
Yet it is recognized as good news only by those conscious of their guilt before God. As Jesus Himself said, “…Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (Matthew 9:12) Of course, He said this tongue in cheek, because while we are all in need of the Great Physician, only some recognize it.
So, what am I to put on? I am to put on a properly thought out comprehension of what Christ’s sacrifice for sins means, for me as an individual as I struggle in spiritual warfare, and for those to whom I am presenting the gospel.
How to Put on the Armor of God (So Far):
1) I am to know God’s truth, as revealed in His Word.
2) I am to truly follow Christ, that I may have His righteousness counted as mine.
3) I am to properly comprehend the gospel message and it’s impact for myself and the rest of sinful humankind.
Help me to understand the true significance–how big of a deal it really is, for me and for others–of Your death in my place on the cross and resurrection! Amen.