2010-07-02 - The Armor of God
The Boots of Gospel of Peace (v.15)
We are also to strap on the boots of the gospel of peace. The message of peace is three-fold. We can have peace with God. Colossians 1:21 says we were once alienated from God. In FAITH the letter I is impossible; it is impossible for a Holy God to allow sin in his presence. We were sinners so we were once at odds with God. But now we are on God's side. Our citizenship is in heaven and he is our king. If God is for us who can be against us that gives us the second peace - the peace of God. This is the "peace that passes all understanding" in Philippians 4:7. We can also be at peace with others. Various passages say we are to love our enemies, neighbors, one another, and ourselves. Look at Proverbs 16:7. "When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." If we follow God then even our enemies will be at peace with us.
The gospel message's representation as boots leaves two interpretations. Both may be backed spiritually by the Bible and historically by Roman soldier attire of era. The Roman soldiers had two types of footwear. They had a high-laced padded boot which was an early hiking boot. It was used for marching. We need to go and tell the gospel of peace carrying it throughout the world. We need to go out with the gospel of peace. The second type of footwear was, more or less, a spiked sandal. You can imagine them as early cleats. They were used for battle to give the soldier sure-footedness or traction. It's hard to fight if you're slipping and sliding in the mud of sin. We need to stand firm in our position and beliefs.
Shaquille O'Neal has arthritic toes ands must wear special shoes in order to play. He's not ready to play without those shoes. He is not ready for the playground and without the gospel of peace we are not ready to step out onto the battleground.
The Shield of Faith (v. 16)
Next we need to reach out with our hand and pick up the shield of faith. We are saved by grace thru faith. God strengthens us to hold that shield up and to hold it firm and defend against Satan's attacks. We hold it for two purposes.
First the shield was meant to protect you. A shield can protect your whole body better than any other single piece of armor. Faith is the first line of defense. Other armor only takes a beating when we drop our faith or allow something to get around it. William Gurnell announced, "Faith is armour upon armour, a grace that preserves all other graces."
Those who have served in the military may recall which side is the position of honor. It is to the right - right? Why? Well it goes back to these days when soldiers went shoulder to shoulder into battle. My shield covered my left side and the next guy's right side. Everyone was covered but the right most man. He had to be the biggest, baddest, toughest dude they had because if he fell they all could fall. But none could fall before him if they all held the line of shields. Herein we see its second purpose, the shield protected not just us but also others around us. When two lines joined together, one would hold low and the other high at an angle above the shield of the first row. In doing so they would form an almost impenetrable barrier that the enemy's archers could not penetrate. Faith unifies us as a team.
Notice in these purposes that beating anyone with it is not included. Don't hold it to beat anyone upside the head with faith. It might knock them down or even out but will likely only aggravate and alienate them all the more. This simply isn't what a shield was designed for.
Until next time
All verses are from the King James Version unless otherwise specified.