and lace up your sandals in preparation for the gospel of peace.
Whether this means being ready to spread the word of the good news of peace (Common English Bible) or being established by that peace to have a firm footing in life (New Living Translation), the peace promised as good news is included as part of the spiritual armor which the believer along with the church is to put on. Surely both are important for us. We share with others what is helpful for ourselves.
Peace in the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament is the word transliterated shalom which means not only the absence of conflict, but all that life is intended to be, which is a mouthful. It speaks of flourishing and all being well. Where that is most to be found today will be among and in the community of Jesus’s disciples. Jesus told his disciples that he gives them his peace, and pronounced the blessing of peace on them, telling them not to let their hearts be troubled, nor afraid.
God has made peace in and through Christ who by his life and death brings the final reconciliation of all things, enemies becoming friends, beginning now. This happens through the good news of peace, good news also named with the technical term, gospel, the gospel of peace. As the New Oxford Annotated Bible points out, it’s good to see what this letter, Ephesians says about peace.
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both* into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us, abolishing the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.
We share this good news of peace, a goodness that ultimately even if only in part now, is meant to bring reconciliation and healing into relationships, a peace to move us toward wellness in relationship with others. In which we can be confident through Christ that since all will end well, we can be rest assured in the midst of that being incomplete now.
This often seems like a pipe dream now, and there are after all limitations in this life. Those abused should not expect to see full reconciliation with their abusers. Often that’s not possible, and to try to force that, or expect more than possible is unhealthy and not wise. But insofar as it depends on us, we live at peace with everyone (Romans 12).
And we trust through prayer and thanksgiving that God’s peace which passes all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4). As we seek to stand firm in this spiritual battle on the footing of this peace, proclaimed and present in and through Jesus.
*Jews and gentiles.