"And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:15).
What is the meaning of this? I invited you last Tuesday evening, to meditate on these verses; you may have considered it, but now consider it again with me. What is the meaning of this—“your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”?
These soldiers, of whom we have been speaking, did not go bare-footed into the battle; for if so, and it were man wrestling against man, how easily they might slip and fall down while fighting one against the other. Neither did they wear sandals, which would not have afforded full protection to the feet. The common thing amongst these soldiers was to wear strong boots.
Many of my friends may remember the name of one of the Roman emperors, Caligula, which means, “little boot.” He was called thus because he became a soldier when very young, and his feet were so small that none of the ordinary soldiers’ boots would suit him, and he had to have little boots made on purpose for him. I simply remind you of this to show that the common practice amongst the soldier was, to wear boots, in order that they might be the better helped with regard to their warfare.
Boots also were of especial importance, on account of marching. The roads at that time were rough and rugged, and thus these boots were of great service in the war, as they had to march in rank against the enemy. And so our spiritual boots protect us when on the rough march of life, as also in the hour of conflict. We, who are the children of God, have a provision made for us in this respect, and it is the gospel of peace which God has provided for us, that we may be able to march homewards through the rough paths of life, and even to stand in the hour of conflict.
What is this preparation of the gospel of peace? It means, we are the children of God, and we are no longer at enmity with God, but are at peace with Him. Our sins are forgiven in the Lord Jesus Christ. God is well pleased with us for Christ, His dear Son’s sake; and we, having no longer any fear, are at peace with God.
That is the preparation of the gospel of peace, with regard to our spiritual conflict and also with regard to our homeward march. Hold it fast; although thou art a poor, miserable sinner, yet thou art forgiven for Christ’s sake. ‘Through whom we have the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Though I am a poor miserable sinner, yet the heart of the Father loves me, and I am on the road to heaven, where I shall certainly be at last.
Lot the child of God held fast this hope, and this persuasion of his so rarity, as given in the simple statement of the gospel, and by this he will be able to pursue his march heavenwards, and in the hour of conflict he will be able to stand manfully.
All this by having the preparation of the gospel of peace! How deeply important, then, to have clear views of God’s gospel, and that we should receive it simply as the gospel, and not in any way mix it up with our own doings or experience. Some would seem to act as if they are to do what they can, and, what they cannot, the Lord will do. Far be it from us to have such thoughts. He and He alone must do all for us. By His atoning death on the cross, He has borne the punishment due to us for our sins, sins which deserved punishment—and nothing but punishment—and has brought us to this blessed hope and trust that all our sins are forgiven; that God is well pleased with us for Christ’s sake, and that, sinners though we are, yet He now delights in us for His dear Son’s sake, and He is willing to help us in all our conflicts for Christ’s sake. Thus we experience that joy and peace, which will help us on the march to heaven, and in the hour of spiritual conflict. So then let us make much of this preparation of the gospel of peace, which is spiritually the protection of our foot, even as the old Roman soldiers were protected by their strong boots.