Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ephesians 6:15 comments: the gospel of peace

15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

To the worldly minded this would appear to be about being a maker of peace between men. When Henry Kissinger was making his rounds in the Middle East in the early 1970’s the verse in Matthew was sometimes used.

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

But the context is wrong for that interpretation. If you go back to Ephesians 2 you can see that Christ made peace between Jew and Gentile and peace between God and man. Paul said in Romans;

Romans 10:15  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Alluding to this verse in Isaiah;

Isaiah 52:7 ¶  How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

We know that the gospel is good tidings (news) from one way the Bible defines itself by word replacement between quotations from the Old and New Testament. Here, Jesus is speaking;

Luke 4:18a  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…

He is alluding to this verse in Isaiah.

Isaiah 61:1 ¶  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek…

So, gospel means good tidings (news). But, what is the “gospel of peace”?

Romans 5:1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Mankind, because of his and her sin nature, which we inherited from our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, is, in their natural state, at war with God. Our natural destination without God is a fiery Hell that was not prepared for us but for Satan and his angels.

Matthew 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Nothing you could do is able to make peace with God. No work, no good reputation, no sterling character can cross that divide between God and man created by man’s rebellion against God’s authority, most notably as Genesis 3 points out, against His word. The main question that Adam failed was over what God said which led to his disobedience. It is a short step to disobedience from doubting God’s word. Liberal and conservative Christians both change the meanings of verses and words to suit their own agenda and the affront against God continues. And so it is today still.

Genesis 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

If a person wishes to trust in their own righteousness to obtain eternal life they will always run up against one incontrovertible fact, that it is impossible for them to comply with God’s standard. The Law, God’s standard of righteousness, was given to the Jews as their ceremonial, religious, civil, and social law.

The Law was that body of commands given to Moses for the Hebrews.

Deuteronomy 30:10  If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

Sin is a violation of that law.

1John 3:4  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

One sin violates the entire body of law.

James 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

We are not under the law.

Romans 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Galatians 3:23  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Galatians 5:18  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Christ has made peace between us and God. We, Christians, are ambassadors of that peace and are called to proclaim it with our words and in the example set in our daily lives and treatment of others.

Preparation comes from prayer and submitting to God speaking to you through His words in His Book as you read them and as they are preached by faithful messengers who do not alter or change those words to suit their own agenda. We are told to constantly be in a prayerful state of mind, to pray always.

Romans 12:12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

1Thessalonians 5:17  Pray without ceasing.

We are to read the Scriptures.

1Timothy 4:13  Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

And think on them always. These verses in the Old Testament in no way contradict what we as Christians are told to do so they are also doctrine for us.

Joshua 1:8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Psalm 119:11  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Prepare yourself to deliver the gospel of peace wherever you go with your actions and your words. Remember that your actions can speak so loud that people can’t hear your words, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson. You can come to church whenever the doors are open, have gospel tracts hanging out of your pockets, and street preach every spare minute but if you don’t have the fruit or evidence of having the Spirit of God in you there will be little result.

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

We talk about preparing for worship. Now, let us talk about preparing to be a witness for the gospel of peace so that wherever our feet go there we will preach and teach peace with God.

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