By now, most would have read about yet another horrific terrorist attack on Paris, one of the most iconic cities in the world. The disgust and sadness that followed, where unarmed civilians were brutally and calmly slaughtered were obvious. It is incomprehensible for fellow human beings firing assault rifles into unwary and inoffensive everyday-crowds of people. Even trained soldiers shudder at such thoughts.
The Islamic-State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Their call for Jihad, or “holy-war” is anything but holy. The attacks at a stadium, concert hall and cafes and restaurants in northern and eastern Paris where over a 120 were killed in cold-blood, is their way of fighting a “war”.
While much has been said and done, it’s too little, too late. I would insist that the top Islamic bodies and institutions condemn, re-educate and fight the theological extremism driving these terrors. However, in my spirit, I know I am barking up the wrong (fruitless) tree.
So, will the real gospel of Peace please stand up.
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s amour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s amour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body amour of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. (For shoes, put on the readiness to preach the Good News of peace with God.) In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesian 6:10-18
With the full amour of God, I used to think of the sandals/shoes to be the least important, preferring to focus on the more gung-ho sword or shield. Ignorantly, I missed the point that the solider and his entire amour is propped up solely by these very shoes-> the gospel or Good News of Peace, with God.
So, what’s so important about the gospel of Peace?
You see, the gospel of peace is the very foundation; the message that Jesus Christ gave Himself to those who would trust and believe in Him (John 14:27; Romans 6:22-23). This gospel of Peace establish our standing and assurance from God-the Father that we are His children and nothing can snatch us out of His hands (John 10:29; 1 John 5:13). The Good News outlines clearly what is required to become a child of God, that God is not angrily-unforgiving and that nothing more is required to be made right (relationship) with the Most High God. (Romans 10:5–10).
The gospel of Peace for us believers has a 2-fold function: both defensive and offensive. On the defensive, in order to defend ourselves against the accusations and “flaming arrows of the evil one”, we must have the confidence in the position of Jesus Christ (as God and Son) and also our position in Christ (the redeemed saved by grace). We must understand the grace and mercy of God, that salvation through Christ is fixed solely on God’s goodness, not based on our own abilities, worthiness or what we have done (Titus 3:5).
On the offensive, we have to bring this gospel of Peace-Jesus Christ to the world. We need to let people know that they will never be able to buy or earn their way into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9). Everything has been paid by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15); they just need to simply believe in Him. That’s it!
One of the main reason why such terrorism happens is because there are some very grave believes going around propagating. False ideologies and extremism that taught people to willingly commit cold-blooded mass-murders and blowing themselves up for a cause. We must counter these wrong believes that eternal salvation can be earned, a price able to be paid, to achieve a good position with a holy God; to have an access to express elevator into the heaven (with bloodied hands).
We need to let them know there is a better, surer way and only Way-> Jesus Christ, Who is the very gospel of Peace. Only when we have the peace with God, can we have real peace with ourselves and people around us.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. Romans 3:23-25