“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation…” (Ephesians 6:10-17)
Salvation as a helmet is also mentioned 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.” (“Of the day” here refers to being of God and contrasts with night, a time when the Bible often refers to evil.)
What is the Helmet of Salvation?
A helmet protects the head. Contrary to helmets worn today for sports, Roman or Gladiator helmets were made out of different kinds of metal (depending on the region); they were probably much heavier than helmets of today. Some had enlarged neck and forehead guards that added more protection. But the main goal of these helmets was to protect the soldiers’ heads from attacks.
The word head is often used to describe a chief, leading, or principal person or thing. The Bible refers to Jesus as the head of the church and every man (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). Christ is described as the head because all that we are and do depends on Him. I want to share a lengthy portion of Ephesians 4 (part of which is the theme of my blog — I just couldn’t split it up!)
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
The helmet we’re wearing is the spiritual salvation that only comes from Christ. In Ephesians 4 above, we’re told that Christians should no longer waver by the world, and that we (as a church, but also relevant to our own spiritual growth) should be growing into Christ from whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This makes me think of the mind (often called the heart in the Bible) because the helmet of salvation is the chief piece of armor worn on the head along with the the shield of faith (because without salvation, our faith is empty and vice versa). On an inividual basis, each Christian needs to be bringing every part of the body into submission — that includes the mind from which we control the rest of the body.
“Keep your heart [mind], with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
Because the mind is so important to being a faithful Christian (related post here written by a sweet friend of mine), it’s important that our minds are protected — and what better way to protect the mind than with the knowledge of our Savior and salvation, and of course following through on that? Zacharias prophesied in Luke 1 about John who would “give knowledge of salvation to His people, by the remission of their sins.” Having goldly knowledge is shown to be important throughout the Bible because it leads to living a faithful life in Christ. Salvation through the spiritual Head (Christ) will protect our minds and spiritual bodies when we go into battle, as the physical helmet would protect the brain and head region.
Why do we need it?
Our salvation is what brings us to Christ in the first place — before we’re saved, we don’t have a way to be with Christ or grow into Him. After we’re saved, we keep fighting because we know that Christ was the way to our salvation in Him, and being close to Him is the only way we’ll stay in good standing. Without salvation, we have no protection because we are not in Christ and of God’s family. Because humans still have free will, we aren’t automatically in God’s spiritual family — He has given us the choice to come with Him, but He wants us to know that we need salvation.
Christ’s death perfects those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). His one sacrifice, as opposed to the many different types of sacrifices required in the Old Law, allows every person to be saved without repeatedly offering animal sacrifices. Repentance will still be necessary after salvation because we all sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). But those who are being sanctified are the people who have accepted this salvation, taken the necessary steps to receive salvation, and are now being set apart as holy and separate from the world. We need the helmet of salvation to start our journey toward becoming holy because salvation is the reason we’re qualified to begin with.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” -Matthew 7:7
In a way, this helmet protects our minds. Once we have it, we know (or can know) what’s right and wrong much better with a relationship with God. Having salvation gives us the purpose that we need and a reason to adhere to Christ’s standard. We have the privilege of going to God in prayer, being granted forgiveness every single time we ask for it (Matthew 18, 1 John 1:9, Hebrews 10:17), and worshiping Him from a clear conscience and a pure heart. We are free to do His will without running the race in vain (1 Corinthians 9). The helmet of salvation is 100% necessary to walking with and fighting for God — and resisting the devil — because without it we aren’t truly with God.
How do we use it?
1 | Always grow in the Lord
We “use” our salvation by forever growing in the Lord no matter what stage or season of life we’re in. As Ephesians 4 says, there’s a point at which we should be spiritually mature enough to stop ourselves from being “tossed to and fro…by every wind of doctrine.” This means that growing and learning is always essential so that we can truly live out our salvation and become closer to Christ as we’re called to be. In Revelation 3, Jesus says He will spew the lukewarm church out of His mouth and He says He hates what the improvising church is doing. He’s not pleased by us if we settle where we are or give a little in one area to please people. We have to constantly be growing up in Him so that we can reach a level of maturity that will please Him — this is lifelong growth.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”
Some of the types of people in verse 11 are no longer on the earth, but the point I want to bring out is that we have a responsibility to come to the unity of the faith, measuring to Christ, which takes faith, work, and patience.
2 | Tell others about it
I’ve probably said this in every Armor of God post so far, but I think it’s so important to talk about the salvation we’ve received. If we’ve been given something so life-changing, wouldn’t we want others to have it, too?
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Jesus said this to the apostles, but it’s just as relevant to us. It’s a privilege to have the responsibility to spread this good news of salvation. (see this post.)
3 | Remember it and live it out
As I mentioned above, knowledge of the Savior and our salvation is crucial. After all, knowledge is where it all starts. So we need to constantly have a consciousness of our salvation and be thinking about how we can better shine our lights for it. Serving God in Christ should be a lifelong commitment. There are people who haven’t held on to that commitment because they willingly forgot (or blatantly put out of their minds) that Christ was sacrificed for them, and that when they were saved, they made a covenant with Him. Christians need to make sure we remember that we’ve been given something that we didn’t deserve. Christ was sacrificed for our sins — each and every one of us. So when we receive that salvation through baptism, we put on Christ. We are now wearing Christ, and to act differently is to put that salvation to shame. This is why we are supposed to take the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, so that we can reflect on His sacrifice and examine how we can better serve Him; remembering is the first step to appreciating and living out our salvation in a way that would please God.
This is part five of my 6-part Armor of God series. I’ll post one installment each week, with the Sword of the Spirit and Prayer combined (it should wrap up after Thanksgiving).
Related: Preface: Armor of God + Resisting the Devil ; (related posts here and here) // The Belt of Truth // It’s Not About Us // The Breastplate of Righteousness // The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace // The Shield of Faith // The Greatest Commands: Pt 4 from Through My Lens
Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Twitter, Instagram (here for blog updates & here for personal) , and Pinterest. For thoughts and questions, comment directly below or click the Contact Me tab (here) to send an email! Have a blessed day.