Stand therefore, … having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace
Commentator Curtis Vaughan writes:
The well-equipped soldier in Paul’s day wore sandals with soles thickly studded with hobmails. Such sandals not only gave protection to the feet but also enabled the soldier to move quickly and surely. In ancient times, when warfare was largely a matter of hand-to-hand combat, this quickness of movement was essential. The Christian, Paul explains, must have on his feet “the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
The gospel is so designated because it is a peace-bringing power that destroys the enmity in men’s hearts ad established tranquility in its place (cf. Isa. 52:7). It is this heart peace produced by the gospel that gives the Christian warrior his readiness for combat. To have a conscience of peace with God and to live in tranquil communion with Him enables one to fling himself into the battle with strong determination and calm assurance.
Shalom! The Hebrew greeting which means peace, also describes the state or condition in which the soul of man is reconciled to God. Since man was removed from Eden, it can be said that his greatest need is peace. I’m not talking about peace as merely a state of mind, but a rich Biblical and relational shalom. To dwell in shalom is to enjoy living in Christ, to enjoy living in one’s physical surroundings, with one another, and to enjoy life with oneself.
The great enemy of shalom is sin. The Biblical doctrine of total depravity teaches that sin corrupts everything that man does – his thoughts, his actions, his relationships, both with God and with others. Our sin creates a true moral guilt before a righteous God; it disrupts family and friendships, creeps into our government and laws, it even spoils the created order itself. God takes his relationship with the creation, with the utmost moral seriousness. He cannot look upon sin – it requires a decisive divine response – the Gospel.
The Gospel then, is God’s grand plan to restore a lasting shalom to the created order and universe. He foreshadows this plan through a nation, Israel, with their temple and sacrifices, whose blood temporarily atoned for sin. He prophecies this plan though the prophets – Moses in Genesis 3:15, and Isaiah, who wrote (53:5): He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace (shalom) was upon Him …
Shalom is accomplished ultimately and finally, through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God, who while we were yet in our unreconciled, peaceless condition, died for us, because God loved us so greatly (Rom 5:8). On the basis of this finished work, God’s people are forgiven, cleansed, justified, redeemed, restored, in union with Christ, and is able to stand in the peace that comes only from the Gospel.