“Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, it is a gift for the guilty” – Steve Lawson
The final piece of armour to put on (though not the final piece in the whole outfit) is the helmet. The helmets of the Roman era were made of bronze or iron, with bits that protected the cheeks, jaw and back of the next, and they were HEAVY! They were lined with felt or sponge to make it more bearable to wear. They were also often decorated with plumage or crests (not JUST practical!). It was also put on last, as a final act of readiness in preparation for combat. A helmet probably was the most vital part of the armour as an attack to the head would result in instant death, rendering the rest of the armour as useless. It protected against the broadsword which was a large, 2-handed, double-edged sword, measuring about 3-4ft in length, and which was swung very specifically at the head for maximum impact.
Much like this helmet protected the solider from the broadsword, so the Helmet of Salvation will protect us from Satan’s 2-edged sword – discouragement and doubt. The devil will do whatever it takes point out every sin and failure, to make us lose confidence in the truth that comes with salvation. He wants to keep us trapped in the here and now, reminding us daily of the tragedies the human race faces, and make us doubt that God really loves us, or that we are truly saved. It is in those times that we must buckle on our helmets tightly, and renew our trust in the Lord. The Helmet of Salvation can help us understand what is good and what is true. As 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says “But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armour of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.”
To receive salvation is to receive forgiveness for our sins and therefore not have to suffer the consequences. The consequence of our sin is death, but Jesus paid the ultimate price by being crucified on the cross so we could have eternal life with Him. But, salvation is a one-time thing: we don’t have to keep saying the ‘sinners prayer’ over and over. So why does Paul tell us to put the Helmet of Salvation on daily? Wesley’s explanation notes say rather Paul is talking about the hope of salvation. Having confidence that God will work in us and through us and will offer ‘pardoning love’ if we follow Him. So Paul is telling us to put on the hope of salvation. What is the hope of salvation? Some scholars argue Paul is talking about the salvation we receive as Christians, i.e. forgiveness, deliverance and adoption into God’s family. Others say that it is having “confident expectation of full salvation on the last day”. Regardless, it is irrefutable that the gift of salvation (for it is a gift, you cannot earn it!) is our only defence against the enemy. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.”
But as we all know, and as I’ve said many times in previous blogs, this life we live is not simple, straightforward or easy. It’s messy, it’s painful, it’s difficult. We ARE in a daily spiritual battle, and sometimes, the journey gets hard and we find that we reach a point where even taking one more step feels impossible. But, like when a runner “hits the wall”, their only hope is to keep their mind on their goal, on the victory. That hope keeps them going when every other part wants to give up. So it is with us. When we feel like we cannot move one more inch, we must focus on the wonderful truth that is we are saved, and we are loved unconditionally by God. We read in Philippians 3:13-14 “No, Christian brothers, I do not have that life yet. But I do one thing. I forget everything that is behind me and look forward to that which is ahead of me. My eyes are on the crown. I want to win the race and get the crown of God’s call from heaven through Christ Jesus.” That is our hope! The assurance of our salvation is an impenetrable defence against anything the enemy throws at us. Matthew 10:28 says “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell” As we prepare for Satan’s attacks, we must grab that helmet and buckle it on tightly.
In my reading for this blog, I came across a list of 5 ways to keep our Helmets of Salvation fastened and functioning:
- Renew our minds. They are battlefields. The outcome on those fields determine the course of our lives. We must allow God’s truth to continually wash away the world’s filth, lies and confusion. As one writer put it “Saving us is the greatest and most concrete demonstration of God’s love, the definitive display of His grace throughout time and eternity”
- Reject doubts that arise from circumstances. Humans are sensory beings. What we can’t fathom with our 5 senses we tend to disregard. What’s happening around us or to us may convince us that God doesn’t really love us, or that His word isn’t true. It is impossible to have faith and doubt at the same time. 1 Peter 1:8-9 says “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls”
- Keep eternal perspective. When life crashes down, we must, in the words of Lauren Daigle “look up child”. Keeping our eyes on salvation can help us weather the storm.
- Remember victory is already accomplished. Romans 8:2 says “And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death”.
- Find all our hope in Him. We read in John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” The Helmet of salvation is most effective when we treasure what it represents – the ability to live in freedom, in a restored relationship with God. The salvation Jesus purchased can’t share the place of importance in our hearts with earthly things.
The promise of salvation made possible by Jesus’ sacrifice never fades; it is eternal. If you don’t walk in all that your salvation entails you may feel the brunt of the enemy’s battle-axe as he comes to attack your mind and steal your victory. So, refresh your memory daily by reading the bible, praying in all circumstances and remembering who has ultimate victory.
“Through salvation our past has been forgiven, our present is given meaning and our future is secure” – Rick Warren.