Helmet of Salvation
Ephesians 6:18 reads, “Take the helmet of salvation.” Think about a Roman soldier and the helmet he wore and why such a helmet was so important.
Roman soldiers wore helmets shaped out of metal. The helmets had a band to protect the forehead and plates for the cheeks. Most extended down in back to protect the neck. When strapped in place, little was exposed besides the eyes, nose, and mouth.
The helmets often included a ridge on top so that some type of plumage could be attached to identify an officer’s rank. High ranking officers often had gold and/or silver alloy helmets.
The helmet was essential because the enemy soldiers carried a large broad sword with one idea in mind, killing the enemy by hitting him over the head. The helmet was a soldier’s protection against that as it caused the sword to glance off and do no harm.
Helmets were not only essential for soldiers in Paul’s day but they are essential for many today, especially those playing sports.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus and through them to us, “Take the helmet of salvation.” Once in place the Christian soldier has a key element of protection that is essential for his safety against Satan’s attacks.
In the Bible the word salvation carries three meanings. First, salvation is used to describe what happens when an individual asks Jesus to apply His provision on the Cross to him or her. The Bible talks about that aspect of salvation as being saved from the penalty of sin. Theologically we call that justification.
Second, the Bible uses the concept of salvation to describe the provision for power over sin in one’s life. Theologically we call that sanctification. Whereas justification is a one-time commitment to Jesus as Savior, sanctification is an ongoing process whereby a believer grows in his daily walk with God.
Third, the Bible uses the idea of salvation to describe the promise that ultimately the Christian will be saved from this world of sin and will spend eternity in God home. Then a Christian is saved from the presence of sin. That is called glorification.
Which helmet is Paul asking us to put on? We know it is not the helmet of justification because this letter was written to Christians, that is to those who already put that helmet on. That leaves us with two options. One is to assume this applies to the present aspect of salvation, that is sanctification or gaining victory over the power of sin. The second is to see this as applying to our ultimate salvation, that is when we are in the presence of God, and we are saved from the very presence of sin.
It is possible that the helmet of salvation is something one wears to protect the brain from the lies of Satan. Wearing a helmet of salvation to protect the brain would include knowing the Scriptures so Satan cannot destroy us with false doctrine. It would include an understanding of Scripture in order to protect us from doubt or depression. When applied to sanctification, the helmet of salvation helps us think straight even in unsettled times such as we are living in today. When applied to sanctification the helmet of salvation enables us to make some sense out of the evil age in which we live. Read what Jesus said in Matthew 24:4.
It seems best, however, to see the helmet of salvation that Paul urged Christians to put on as referring to the hope every believer has of ultimately being with Jesus in His home. Read what Paul wrote I Thessalonians 5:8. Paul said, “Put on the helmet of the hope of salvation.” This is not “hope” in the sense of I hope it will happen but the biblical sense of hope that is a guarantee designed to encourage us. Read Galatians 5:5. As used there, hope is that which is so certain that we can eagerly await it. Read how Peter expressed that same hope/assurance in I Peter 1:3. The helmet of salvation is not wishing upon a star but a living hope based on the reality of the resurrection of Jesus.
The helmet of salvation is the helmet that continually reminds me that God loves me and will one day come for me or take me unto himself. There is great joy, comfort, and assurance in that hope. Satan tells us that God does not really love me but the helmet of salvation reminds us of what God said through Paul in Romans 8:37-39. Read those verses. Satan declares that this life is all there is, once you die, it’s all over. The helmet of salvation announces, “No it isn’t, there is an eternity ahead with Jesus.” Satan declares that not only does God not love you, but He doesn’t even know you exist. Satan asks, “What makes you think that of the millions of people living on the earth God knows you exist?” The helmet of salvation declares, “Not only does God love you but there is nothing that can ever separate you from the love of God”.
Read I John 3:12 where John expressed the reality given when we wear helmet of salvation that assures us that we belong to God this way.
Read how Paul expressed that certainty in Philippians 1:6. The helmet of salvation reminds us of that great truth.
Unfortunately, we only think about heaven when we think about death. At a funeral we hear the promise of God that our loved one is heaven with Jesus. Whenever we think about our own death, we take comfort in the belief that to be absent from the body is to immediately be with the Lord. The helmet of salvation, however, is designed to remind us constantly that this world is not our home. Because of our salvation we are more than just on the winning side but we are on the side where everything works for good. Read Romans 8:28.
We must never lose sight of how important the resurrection of Jesus is to Christian theology and the implication of His resurrection for us. In I Corinthians 15 Paul wrote that the resurrection is important for 4 reasons:
- It demonstrates who Jesus is and what He came to do.
- It shows that since God raised Him from the dead that proves that the sacrifice of Jesus was acceptable so we can know that we can be forgiven.
- It means that He lives to be with us today and can keep His promise to never leave or forsake us.
- It assures us of the ultimate victory over death.
The truth of the resurrection must be a part of our thinking.
The reality of the resurrection is a major truth/promise that should encourage us continually as we step out in faith and seek to live for Jesus in a world that is ruled by God’s enemy, Satan.
Satan whispers that because this life is all there is to our existence, we are missing out on what he calls the fun things. The helmet of salvation reminds us that this is not all there is. An eternity awaits, and we live our daily lives not just for today but with that eternity in mind.
Satan tells us that what matters is the quality of life here and now so gather and store up here. Satan urges us to count out wealth by the size of our toys and bank account. The helmet of salvation reminds us of what Jesus declared in Matthew 6:19-20. Read those verses.
Put on the helmet of salvation that reminds us that in the end, there is no end for a Christian. That reality impacts not only what we await as God’s children but how we live each day in light of the full salvation that awaits us.