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Shoes: The Church Wages Peace

TUESDAY September 19

Shoes: The Church Wages Peace

A Roman soldier, preparing for battle, would tie on a pair of sturdy, military sandals. A multilayered sole featured rugged hobnails, helping the soldier hold his ground and “stand” (Eph. 6:11, 13, 14). Paul explains this military footwear with language from Isaiah 52:7, which celebrates the moment when a messenger brings the news that Yahweh’s battle on behalf of His people is won (Isa. 52:8–10) and peace now reigns: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace” (Isa. 52:7, ESV).

Review the eight times Paul highlights peace in Ephesians. Why does he use a detailed military metaphor when he is so interested in peace? Eph. 1:2; Eph. 2:14, 15, 17; Eph. 4:3; Eph. 6:15, 23.

Paul celebrates peace as the work of Christ, “our peace,” the One who preaches peace “to you who were far off and peace to those who were near” (Eph. 2:14–17, ESV), drawing Jew and Gentile together into “one new humanity” (Eph. 2:15, NIV). By keeping alive the gospel story of Christ’s rescue and His creative work of peace, by celebrating His victory past and looking toward the victory shout in the future, believers shod their feet and stand ready for battle. Like the messenger in Isaiah 52:7, believers are messengers proclaiming the victory of Christ and His peace.

Paul, however, does not wish us to understand his call to arms as a call to take up military weapons against our enemies. That’s why he describes believers as proclaiming “the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). Nor does he wish believers to be combative in their relationships with others, since he has been emphasizing unity, edifying speech, and tenderheartedness (see especially Eph. 4:25–5:2). The church is to “wage peace” by employing the gospel arsenal of Christian virtues (humility, patience, forgiveness, etc.) and practices (prayer, worship). Such acts are strategic, pointing toward God’s grand plan to unify all things in Christ (Eph. 1:9, 10).

How does the following quote help us understand what Paul’s military imagery should mean in our lives as believers? “God calls upon us to put on the armour. We do not want Saul’s armour, but the whole armour of God. Then we can go forth to the work with hearts full of Christ-like tenderness, compassion, and love.”—Ellen G. White, [Australasian] Union Conference Record, July 28, 1899.

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1 Comment

Willie Johnson
Sep 22, 2023

Indeed, having this armor will protect us as our cry is PEACE. We are to spread the good news of peace through what JESUS has come and done for us. Having your shoes ready is will protect some of the weakest yet important members of your body, the toes. They are not seen often, sometimes even criticized but the help us with our balance as we move day to day, as GOD has blessed us. The shoes help us plant our feet for attacks and dig in as we move forward in this war. The church wages peace, we are a post of peace, a place of peace, a garrison of peace. I am not saying this to look the…

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