“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6.11-17).
This passage is frequently referred to as the text which identifies The Christian Armor. Armor is ordinarily associated with the equipment of a soldier, and a soldier is ordinarily associated with battle. In fact as we survey this text we come to see that a great struggle is anticipated in which those who adhere to the principles of godliness are pitted against anyone and anything that stands in opposition to God. The battle is one which depicts the Christian soldier in a life and death struggle against the forces of Satan. It is somewhat ironic that in the midst of outfitting the believer for this battle, Paul refers to the gospel of peace. This is a text in which a colossal struggle is occurring. What has this to do with peace? Why mention it just here?
In another passage, Paul referred to the “gospel of peace” and the beauty of the feet of those who declare this gospel (see Romans 10.15). Besides these two passages, there is not another passage which uses this terminology. However, there are passages which shed light on the subject. When the tongue of Zacharias, father of John the Immerser, was finally loosed after being without speech for a period of time, he said a number of things that had to do with the work of John and the One who was to come after him. Note this statement: “And you [John], child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1.76-79). The “way of peace” in Luke 1 is apparently equal to the gospel of peace in Ephesians 6 and Romans 10.
Jesus was the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9.6) but the Hebrews writer stated it correctly when he said that Jesus, “...endured such hostility from sinners against Himself.” (Hebrews 12.3). Is it not the irony of all ironies that the Man who came to give peace knew so little of it when it came to His earthly ministry? Some might also consider it strange that He told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14.27). Notice that Jesus said, “My peace I give...”! This qualifier changes the entire range of possibilities about the peace of the Gospel, or the Gospel of Peace.
One thing is for sure, the peace of Jesus is NOT the peace which the world gives! In fact, the peace of Jesus is a peace that the world CANNOT give. The peace of Jesus is the peace that is achieved when man's sins are forgiven. At this time the greatest reconciliation imaginable takes place; it is the reconciliation for which the great heart of God has longed since Adam and Eve fell from grace! The Gospel of Peace is the ONLY message that brings everlasting peace.
1. Does peace mean the absence of conflict in every case?
2. Why was Jesus the Prince of Peace? Was it because of the conditions in which He lived while on this earth? Why or why not?
3. What is the peace which the world gives and how is it different from the peace that Jesus gives?
4. Is the world able to give the peace of the gospel? Why or why not?
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