As we continue our 7-week series on the "whole armor of God," we will look at the "helmet of salvation" today. Ephesians 6:17a states, "...and take the helmet of salvation."
Paul has been methodically moving through the whole armor of God, giving us a pattern for how to fight in spiritual warfare. He now looks at the piece that covers the head, the helmet, specifically the "helmet of salvation."
Old Testament Connection
We already looked at the passage from Isaiah 59:17 in the blog post on "The Breastplate of Righteousness," but let's look at it again. It states, “[God] put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head…” This is God speaking of Himself. This reiterates the point that this is first and foremost the Lord's armor, which He has already worn on our behalf. He places on us His already-bloodied victorious armor! What an amazing comfort that should be to His people.
It is a word that has diminished in the current evangelical culture, but I think it describes so well what Christ has done for us in the gospel: we are saved. If we trust in Christ’s work in the gospel, we are saved from our sin, saved from eternal separation from God, saved to a relationship with the Father, and saved to being with Christ for eternity in the new heavens and the new earth.
Is it any wonder then, that this is compared to a helmet? The helmet is the piece that guards the head. You hit the head, you kill the body. Satan will attack our minds with all kinds of trials. We are in trouble when we begin to take our minds off of the salvation that is ours in Christ. But when we remember that Christ purchased our salvation with His blood and that there will come a day when He will come back to rescue us and bring us to be with Him, then the small trials of this world will simply bounce off of the firm steel that is our helmet of salvation.
Iain Duguid is again helpful here. He uses a simple, yet profound illustration:
“Suppose tomorrow you received two letters. In one, you received the news that your great-auntie Freda in Australia had died and left you ten million dollars, while in the same post, you also received a parking ticket that was going to cost you fifty dollars. Which of the two letters is going to shape your day—the sure and certain hope of ten million dollars or the present depressing reality of the fifty-dollar fine?”
You may object: "Well, of course, I wouldn’t worry about the fifty dollars. I would have a sure promise of ten million dollars. But that’s different." How so? I would agree with you to an extent, in that ten million dollars is worthless in comparison to eternity in paradise with Jesus and all the believers throughout history. If we would have more assurance in the ten million dollars than in our eternal salvation, then perhaps we have far too small a view of heaven and Christ’s salvation.
Let me recommend to you one practical step. It was the strategy of Richard Baxter, a 17th-century Puritan pastor in England. He dealt with serious illness and disease for most of his life, and had near-death experiences, even early on in life. To get through this, he would often read Scripture about heaven and meditate on it. He made a regular practice of intentionally spending 30 minutes per day reading and thinking about heaven. He even wrote an excellent book on heaven called The Saints’ Everlasting Rest. I highly recommend it.
Now, chances are that you probably cannot spend 30 minutes a day meditating on Heaven. That takes a lot of time, intentional planning, and mental energy. But let me commend you to carve out some time, maybe it's 30 minutes a week or even 5 minutes a week, to read a passage on the glories of heaven and to think through it. Think what it may be like. Think through the different emotions and senses that might be engaged there. It’s ok to do that, by the way. The Bible speaks often of heaven, so obviously it is the Lord’s desire for us to dwell on it. When we remind ourselves of what we have been saved for, namely an eternity with Jesus and all His people, to enjoy Him and make much of Him and enjoy the beauty of the new Eden, then we will begin to see that the troubles of this world are “momentary and light” (2 Corinthians 4:17) when compared with eternity.
Sermon Series: Ephesians: Church Alive In Christ