The Helmet of Salvation – Ephesians 6:17
Ephesians 6:17 – And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Verse 11 and in verse 13 says, “put on the whole armor of God.” Every single piece is important. A believer needs all of them to be protected and to be successful in spiritual warfare. We could debate about which piece is more important, or which piece you wear all the time, or which piece gives more protection in the battle.
But the emphasis on putting on the whole armor of God tells us that ALL of these pieces are vital. If a soldier goes into battle with a hole in his armor, he is in deadly peril for a wise enemy looks for weaknesses to attack.
Today our focus is on the helmet of salvation. Like other armor pieces, the helmet was essential, especially for soldiers in New Testament times. A helmet offered protection from arrows and swords. At the same time, a helmet could identify which army you were in as different armies would outfit their soldiers with different types of helmets.
The Helmet of Salvation Identifies Which Army You Belong To
Sometimes when I watch a battle scene in a movie I ask myself, “How can they tell who is who?” One easy way to distinguish is by the helmet.
Our entire identity is based in our salvation. As believers, we often ask others, “Are you a follower of Jesus?” Or , “Have you been born again?” Or, “Are you saved?” When someone answers “yes” we know that no matter the background or nationality or anything else, that we belong to the same army.
The answer to the question “are you saved” is the most important you can ever answer. The answer to that question will decide your eternal destiny.
Are you saved?
We need to be clear about what salvation is. And we should not assume that because a person goes to church he understands it. My father went to church his whole life and did not know what salvation was until he went to university. He thought he was a Christian because he went to church.
What is salvation?
Romans 3:22 – 24 – The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
The passage is clear. We are all sinners. We all fall short of God’s standard. None of us are good. We can all think back and remember many times we have fallen short. And yet God gives His righteousness. The breastplate of righteousness becomes a reality when a person is saved.
And how does that happen? It says to all who “believe.” There is no distinction of persons. Poor or rich. Asian, American, African. It is for all who believe. Believe in what? Believe in Jesus. There is no other name under heaven, given among men, but which we can be saved. When a person does this, he is justified.
That is a legal word. It refers to a court room decision. The judge makes a decision and the defendant is either declared righteous or declared innocent. When we place our faith in Jesus, we are declared as righteous in His sight.
Not by church. Baptism. Reading Bible. Prayer.
When I meet people who profess to be believers I often ask them how they became a Christian.
And a number of people have told me, “I was born a Christian.” You were not born a Christian. You were born a sinner. Your parents were Christians? Good. But God has no grandchildren.
Every person must make a personal decision to believe and to repent of their sins.
It’s all about the cross. We don’t go to church and read the Bible and pray to get saved. We do it as a response because of what Jesus did for us.
When you are facing the enemy, remember what Christ did for you. He gave His everything for you. So we should do the same for Him.
We fight that spiritual war because we love Him. A soldier who does not love his country will not make a good soldier. He will abandon the cause as soon as he can.
And the helmet of salvation reminds us we are not alone.
Can you imagine trying to wage war against Satan and his demons without God on your side? Without the Holy Spirit? Without salvation, you would be naked. You would be alone. Exposed and vulnerable. You would have no protection.
Before Jesus ascended He told His disciples,
Matthew 28:20 – And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
He is with us because we are saved. He seals us. And the helmet of salvation reminds us of the victory that is ours. Death is defeated. Sin is defeated. The enemy is defeated. At the cross Jesus check-mated him. Satan still has some final moves, but the outcome is already guaranteed.
In the book of Revelation we learn that one day the antichrist will require his followers to receive the mark of the beast. Thus, the followers of Satan will be visible and literally marked as his followers. But God’s followers will not take this mark. Instead they will be sealed by God.
Revelation 7:3 – ” saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
These end times will clarify what is already true. There are two armies. God’s and Satan’s. You can only belong to one. If you are saved, then you can proudly wear the helmet of salvation, identifying you are in His army and the victory is yours. If you are not saved, then you still have a chance. Come to Jesus and He will gladly welcome you.
The Helmet of Salvation is Protection For Our Minds – Our Thinking Is Important
The helmet is protection. It protects the head, the brain, the mind. Where do we fight spiritual warfare? The mind is the central location. Much of the battles we will fight in our Christian lives are fought in the mind.
Battle against temptation is fought in the mind.
Battle against doubt is fought in the mind.
Battle against heresies or incorrect thinking is fought in the mind.
Our minds are extremely important.
John Stott once told a joke about two guys who met in the store. One of them complained that the world was too stressful and chaotic. Wars, famines, politics, it was just too much. So his friend said, “Don’t think.”
“Don’t think” is often the world’s solution to problems. People say that ignorance is bliss. The world is getting increasingly more mindless all the time. People hook up to virtual reality to escape the world. People become practical vegetables, binging on TV shows. People don’t want to use their minds. It takes too much work. It’s too tiring.
And this mindset creeps into the church. As attention spans get shorter, so do sermons. And new visual tricks are used to try to keep attention.
Many accuse Christians of mindlessness, saying that believing in the Bible requires suspending reason.
But does the Bible ask us to check our mind at the door?
He does not. In fact, believers are constantly encouraged to use their minds more.
1 Corinthians 14:20 – Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
Hebrews 5:11 – About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
The Bible doesn’t ask us to give up thinking. But makes us think more. It is rational. We are not to be dull in our thinking. Protected by salvation, we are to always think Biblically.
Luke 3:1-2 – In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
Look at how this is recorded. Look at the detail. We are not supposed to stop thinking and just emotionally accept something. No. Luke puts all the history there in black and white.
The Bible records real events. Real times. Real people. It is trustworthy. It is credible. It is reasonable.
That is important because one mode of the enemy’s attack will be saying you are a fool for believing in the Bible. Only the simple-minded think it is true. Or only the simple-minded think salvation is as easy as believing.
The helmet of salvation helps you to think Biblically. It protects your mind from these frontal assaults.
It also helps us to resist his accusations. Satan is the great accuser. He will accuse you. You may have thoughts come into your mind like “You are not good enough to be saved. You haven’t earned it yet.” You may have doubts come into your mind, “Does God really care about me? Does He really love me?”
When you are wearing the helmet, you can think Biblically about these questions. You can squash Satan’s accusations. And you can address doubts with truth from God’s Word.
Romans 12:2 – Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
When we are saved, God opens our eyes to know the truth. But the battle is just beginning. That helmet identifies us as belonging to God’s army and the real attacks will begin.
So we have to renew our minds daily. Part of that means we keep coming back to the truth of salvation. We return to the cross over and over and over again. We bring our temptations there. We bring our doubts there. We bring all of our incorrect thinking and confusions there. We wash again in His blood. And we receive strength to again go out and fight.
The Helmet of Salvation Gives Us Assurance and Security
Salvation gives us the most protection when we know we have it. A believer who does not have assurance of salvation, will be a poor soldier. He will live in self-doubt, often questioning his standing before God.
We can build on the question asked earlier, “Are you saved?” and ask, “Do you know that you are saved?”
Assurance of salvation for the believer is very important.
John says in 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Again, God does not want us to live in doubt. If you are not a believer, you should know that so that you can come to Him and if you are a believer, you should know so that you fight in His army without distraction.
So how can we know?
Jesus said that you will know a tree by its fruit. (Matthew 7:16)
Here is a list I read of 7 things which do not prove or disprove personal salvation:
1. Visible Morality
2. Intellectual Knowledge
3. Religious Involvement
4. Active ministry
5. Conviction of sin
6. The feeling of assurance
7. A time of decision
And here are 9 conditions which demonstrate real saving faith:
1. Love of God (Matthew 10:37-39)
2. Repentance from sin (Acts 3:19)
3. Genuine humility (Matthew 5:3-6)
4. Devotion to God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31)
5. Continual prayer (Matthew 6:6)
6. Selfless love (1 John 3:17)
7. Separation from the world (1 John 2:15-17)
8. Spiritual growth (Philippians 1:6)
9. Obedience (John 15:1-8)
A person who lives in continued and unrepentant sin is not a believer. (1 John 3:4-10).
“He who is born again does not sin habitually, or is not habitually a sinner.” – Barnes
A child of God has been born again. He has been renewed. His mind, his heart, his soul, his thoughts, his desires, have been transformed. It does not mean instant perfection. But it does mean that a child of God does not delight in sin, and does not set his heart on it. When it entangles him, he will have a genuinely repentant attitude.
Quote from Ryle – “A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases him; it has become a horrible thing which he hates.”
We should beware of self-deceit. We must not live a life chasing after sin and then saying we are saved. God does not want any of us to be self-deceived. He doesn’t want a person who is not saved to think they are. That is the worst possible mistake a person can make. On the day of judgment many church goers will be surprised. They will be shocked and horrified when Jesus says, “depart from me,” and then they are cast into hell. John is warning us NOW so that this does not happen THEN.
We need to examine ourselves.
If you examine yourself and you know in your heart that you have truly repented of sin and have placed your full faith in Jesus alone for salvation, you can be confident that He is able to guard your salvation.
2 Timothy 1:12 – For I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.
Salvation is from God. It is grace. You could not deserve it when you were saved and you can’t deserve it now. Because it is from Jesus, you can be sure that it will not fail you. That helmet, once you put it on, is impenetrable.
Revelation 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We can know that we have eternal life. When we come to Christ, nothing can come in between us and Him. Our spiritual enemy can not separate us from His love. That strengthens us. That emboldens us. That gives us the protection we need to fight the good fight without fear and doubt.
Revelation 19:11-14 – Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
Jesus is coming. It will be Him against all of His enemies. Two armies. One battle. Which side do you want to be on? If we put on the helmet of salvation then we will be riding behind Him on white horses into that final victory.
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