Eph. 6.15 (AV) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Eph. 6.15 (TR) και υποδησαμενοι τους ποδας εν ετοιμασια του ευαγγελιου της ειρηνης
The passage above is taken from the armor of God section in Ephesians 6:11-18. It would be easy to assume that the gospel of peace only applies to that good news concerning the Lord’s death burial and resurrection, the gospel that we all need to hear and respond to and which is rooted in that which the Lord Jesus accomplished as a finished work on the cross at Calvary. This however is not the major subject of Ephesians and we need to be careful to rightly divide the word of truth and discern the things that are different.
As we have established many times on this site and in the preaching of God’s word through the years, Paul has a two-fold ministry:
- Acts – Jew first (Paul)
- Prison – gentile (PAul)
These ministries are different. In Acts Paul gives the Jew the advantage and abounds in signs and wonders proclaiming the hope of Israel. At the end of the book of Acts we find that the local turnings from Israel culminate in a national turning away from Israel and a solid embrace of the gentiles.
Could it be that the armor God has reserved for us in this age is defined differently than in other ages? There are many types of helmet, breastplate, girdle etc that could be imagined for a soldier. The instructions for their individual use and how the soldier should deploy on a particular battle may depend on the nature of the enemy, the stage of the battle and the country in which the battle takes place to list some of the more obvious considerations.
In Ephesians 6 we find PAul giving instructions to soldiers whose enemies are specifically mentioned
6.11 (AV) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
6.11 (TR) ενδυσασθε την πανοπλιαν του θεου προς το δυνασθαι υμας στηναι προς τας μεθοδειας του διαβολου
6.12 (AV) 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.
6.12 (TR) οτι ουκ εστιν ημιν η παλη προς αιμα και σαρκα αλλα προς τας αρχας προς τας εξουσιας προς τους κοσμοκρατορας του σκοτους του αιωνος τουτου προς τα πνευματικα της πονηριας εν τοις επουρανιοις
Our wrestling is NOT against flesh and blood — that is it is not a matter of being face to face with human beings in battle BUT face to face with:
- rulers of the darkness of this world (world rulers of the darkness of this age)
- spiritual wickedness in high places. (heavenly places).
PAul tells us that we have been blessed with every blessing that is spiritual and that these collectively find their origin in the heavenly places:
1.3 ¶ (AV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
1.3 (TR) ευλογητος ο θεος και πατηρ του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου ο ευλογησας ημας εν παση ευλογια πνευματικη εν τοις επουρανιοις χριστω
It should also be recognized that the passage concerning the armor Eph. 6:14-18 is in structural alignment with the section on spiritual blessings Eph. 1:3-14.
We are therefore not surprised to find that not only do we have a ministry to principalities in heavenly places concerning the manifold wisdom of God
3.10 (AV) To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
3.10 (TR) ινα γνωρισθη νυν ταις αρχαις και ταις εξουσιαις εν τοις επουρανιοις δια της εκκλησιας η πολυποικιλος σοφια του θεου
but that we have a battle now and also in the future with spiritual beings!!
6.13 (AV) 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.
6.13 (TR) δια τουτο αναλαβετε την πανοπλιαν του θεου ινα δυνηθητε αντιστηναι εν τη ημερα τη πονηρα και απαντα κατεργασαμενοι στηναι
One day we will be resurrected and glorified with a body suitable for our distinctive calling Col. 3:1-4 and take our place in God’s kingdom as it relates to the heavenly places. Our fight now is but preparatory to that evil day when we must stand to fight our real adversaries.
It may be that the reason there are six pieces of armor and not seven is because of this very fact.
What then is the gospel of peace and why is it distinctive to this age? To help answer this we will make a concordance of the word “peace” in Ephesians.
Eph 1.2 Grace be to you, and peace <1515>, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 2.14 For he is our peace <1515>, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Eph 2.15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace <1515>;
Eph 2.17 And came and preached peace <1515> to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
Eph 4.3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace <1515>.
Eph 6.15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace <1515>;
Eph 6.23 Peace <1515> be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We notice that within the practical section of Ephesians there are only three uses of the word “peace” beginning with Eph. 4.3. The unity of the spirit is unique to this age and cannot be extrapolated backward into the Acts of the apostles without breaking the bond which the scriptures declare. This unity is what God has made and we are asked to practically keep it. The context of the word relative to our understanding of the “gospel of peace” elucidates the peace we experience as gentiles in relation to the Jewish believers. We are not “under the table” nor are we second, it is significant that Jesus through PAul and his companions brought that gospel to us, breaking down the middle wall of partition between the gentiles and the Jews. The “new man” was created by God and did not evolve out of the acts.
The gospel of peace in Ephesians is the good news that we are on equal ground with Jewish believers and that we are not second to Israel but have been made nigh not by being grafted into the Olive of Israel but on the basis of the Mystery kept secret in God and revealed to PAul the prisoner Eph. 3:9.
We are not to take the doctrine and warfare particularly associated with Israel from a past age (like that which occurred in Acts) since we are not partakers of the promises given to Israel and do not have the gifts of the Spirit as were promised to believers then. Our warfare is different and the armor of God is specially adapted to this age.
Let us declare the gospel of peace and not confuse the things that differ by taking to ourselves things that belong to Israel or gentiles who had been grafted into Israel’s olive.