Ephesians 6:17 ‘Take the helmet of salvation.’
It is important to remember that Paul is using the analogy of a Roman soldier when describing the pieces of armor that we need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, and that it remains fixed in place at all times, but also what he is to pick up and put on when the danger or an enemy is coming.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one,” now Paul reminds us to also “take the helmet of salvation.” By putting on the helmet we know that this is bringing attention to the head, the brain where we have understanding, imagination and the thinking process. In other pieces of the armor he has dealt with feelings, emotions and desires, but now he is dealing, I believe, with the intellectual part of our position as Christians.
In this spiritual warfare – the enemy will bring forth his strategy as well as his tactics to achieve the outcome he desires. It is possible that we can have an overall view of the strategy of Satan, but miss out on his tactics in achieving his goal of defeating us.
In this battle or conflict, we can begin to become weary and think that the fight is in vain. We have been in this battle for a long time, perhaps we have been wounded, you find yourself struggling and you begin to wonder if it is worth it all. It seems at times that nothing changes, or there is one delay after another, and what seemed to be a promise from God – does not come about when we thought is should or hoped it would.
It is like what David said when he was constantly being pursued by King Saul and his life was in jeopardy. 1 Samuel 27:1 “But David thought to himself, ‘One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.’” In this ‘giving up’ David went to a place called Ziglag which was on the border of Israel and the area of the Philistines. It was a place of compromise for David to survive; a pretense of survival. One would wonder what this affect had on his men.
We could look at the condition of the church today that has been around for 2000 years and think that it has little impact on the world to date. We see the church in the West full of confusion and uncertainty when it comes to some of the main issues that we face in our culture. The enemy can whisper in our ears that the church is useless today, and on the surface it would seem that the enemy is stronger than the Christian today who seems weak and powerless. We see that many have given up on the church, feeling it is worthless.
In the book of Hebrews talking to Christians it would seem that this book would be a good commentary on what we are faced with today as it was then. These Christians had left their Jewish traditions and turned to Christ and for a time they had great joy, but then their Jewish countrymen began to persecute them, rob them of their goods. They were told that Christ would return, but there was no sign of His return. The result was that they became discouraged.
It is in this context that we must understand what the helmet of salvation is. Some Bible scholars say that this is being always aware of being saved by Christ, no matter what happens. This is true, but it seems to be more than that. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
What is this “hope of salvation?”
When we look at Scripture and what Paul wrote in other letters to the churches – the hope of salvation is what can be called the ‘hope of glory.’ For example, he says in 1 Corinthians 15:32 that if he fought with wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons – he has gained nothing if the dead are not raised. He goes on to say that as we eat, drink, and expect to die – we KNOW Who is coming – and so we continue on with the good fight of faith, because of the “hope of His glory.”
We must keep in mind that there are ‘tenses of salvation,’ in other words, we have in our salvation the past, present and future. The past is justification, the present is sanctification and the future is glorification. So, with this in mind: put on the helmet of salvation so that we might be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.