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Part Eleven

The Believer’s Armor and the Spiritual Battle

Ephesians 6:10-20 (Verse 17, “The helmet of salvation”)


Ephesians 6:17. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

In our study of the Believer’s armor, we have seen that we are engaged in a spiritual warfare against spiritual adversaries. The helmet, like the breastplate, covers vital areas of the soldiers body. The stakes are high and eternal values are in view. We are exhorted to take on the whole armor of God so that we may be able to stand against the strategies of the devil. We cannot be victorious in our own strength and wisdom. The next item of our spiritual armor that we shall consider is the “helmet of salvation.”

I once thought that this verse (i.e. the helmet of salvation) was a challenge not to be a “typical” Christian. He is one who got saved (took the helmet of salvation) and did not bother getting dressed with the rest of the armor. The “helmet of salvation” is all that he is wearing. He is not armed or protected against the adversary, let alone the elements. This would leave him in an embarrassing and vulnerable position.

Though it appears that this statement typifies many Christians today, that is not what the verse is saying. It certainly is true that wearing only one piece of armor leaves us only minimally protected, but Ephesians is written to people who are already saved. We, as believers, do not automatically have the “helmet of salvation” as we are told to “take” it. Paul is not telling us to become strong in the Christian life and victorious in the spiritual battle and then get saved. But how should we apply this?

I Thess. 5:8, tells us, “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (cf. I Cor. 13:13). Those who choose not to receive Christ are the ones without hope (Eph 2:12; I Thess. 4:13). (“Hope” in the NT means a joyful and confident anticipation).

Apparently, the helmet has something to do with our assurance of future blessings, both eternally and temporally. We are not running a race with no finish line. If Paul could say “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18), then not only is there a time coming when this assurance will be realized, but we can now know that it is coming.

And in the same context, Rom. 8:28 also gives us some temporal hope. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Everyone of us has need to apply this verse at some time in our life. Please note what this verse does say and what it does not say. It does not say that all things are good in themselves. Sin and tragedy are not good. They work together for good. It does not say that we know how all things work together for good. We may not see or understand it at the time of trial. Let us not wonder why God is “not working” when the truth is; we just do not see Him working when He actually is or maybe He is not working according to our shortsighted agenda. Do we really believe that the Omniscient God knows what is best for us?

James 1:2-4 gives us some keen insight concerning how to view and handle some of the testings that come into our lives. Verse 2 tells us to count it all joy when (not “if”) we fall into various testings. Why? How can we do this when it hurts? Verse three and four tells us. Because we know something. Because we know that it is making us more like Jesus wants us to be. The next few verses then gives us a surefire formula on how to find Divine wisdom concerning our trials. God intends for trials in our life to “work together for good.” Such hope we can have that the world and carnal believers do not understand.

The helmet protects a vital part of the body. Just as the Roman soldier’s helmet protected him from the deadly blow of the broadsword, the helmet of salvation can protect us from Satan’s attacks of doubt and discouragement. We can know now that we have eternal life based on the authority of God’s Word (I John 5:13) and with that assurance, we can focus better on the temporal battle and the eternal joy that awaits us. Let us be able to say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (I Tim. 4:7).

Gal. 6:9 encourages us to, “...not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” There is an implication here that we may lose some of our reward if we quit before the finish line. Don’t give up. The victory is in Jesus. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Cor. 15:57,58).

There are three “hopeful” aspects to our salvation: past, present, and future. “Past” is that we have been saved from the penalty of our sin (Rom.5:1; Titus 2:14). “Present” is that there is provision to be saved from the power of sin (I John 1:9; 2:1,2) and “future is ”that we will be saved from the presence of sin (I Peter 1:3-5; Rev. 21:27). Those who believe on the name of the Son of God may know that they have eternal life. (I John 5:13). “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech” II Cor. 3:11).

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