Whole Armor of God
Scripture instructs believers in Christ to “put on the whole armor of God” as a defense against the enemy’s attacks. This armor includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:15 says, “And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” The New Living Translation words it this way: “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.”
The word readiness implies constant vigilance. A victorious soldier had to be prepared for battle. He had to have studied his enemy’s strategy, be confident in his own strategy, and have his feet firmly planted so that he could hold his ground when the attacks came.
Historically, Roman battle shoes, otherwise known as caligae or calcei, had spikes or textured soles. Not only would the comfortable, breathable structure allow the soldiers to march several miles without pain, but these spikes would help them stand their ground and stamp on the fallen enemy. Especially when a Roman army advanced, enemies would be trampled by the puncture wounds from several soldiers marching together. Not to mention, these spiked soles would help them navigate better over rough terrain, unlike other footwear of the time. The enemy couldn’t seclude themselves in a rough patch of land when facing the Roman army. The soldiers would advance with minimal pain rendered to their feet.
The “peace shoes” that God supplies His soldiers have two purposes: defensive and offensive. In order to defend ourselves against the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16), we must have confidence of our position in Christ. We must stand firm in the truth of God’s Word, regardless of how terrifying the circumstances may be (1 John 5:14). We must understand grace without abusing it (Romans 6:1–6), remember that our position in Christ is not based on our own abilities or worthiness (Titus 3:5), and keep our belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness securely fastened (2 Timothy 1:12).
Paul doesn’t use this historical information haphazardly. He understands the importance of peace in the life of a Christian soldier, and how much we need the shoes as well as the other elements of the armor, such as the sword or shield. When we are ready with the gospel of peace, we live with the understanding that we are continually under attack. Second Timothy 4:2 says to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.”
The Apostle Paul identifies these with the firm “footing of the gospel of peace.” The word “peace” her is emphatic. The gospel is looked upon as the declaration of “peace on earth, goodwill towards men.” The firm stand on this message is the firm assurance of God’s love.