As a winning warrior, may we remind ourselves that we are fighting not for victory, but from victory and that we are well dressed with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness and our feet fitted with the shoes of peace.
In addition to “taking up” the shield of faith, Ephesians 6:17 gives us the second piece of armor we are to “take up” as needed. Paul instructs us that we must take up the helmet of salvation. This is because a helmet not only covers the head but also protects the mind. When a helmet is required at a construction site, in battle, or on a football field, it is to protect the brain from injury. Once the brain is damaged, body function is also damaged.
As a special education teacher, I worked very closely with a high school senior who was in a car accident that left her with brain damage. As a result, she had to learn to walk and talk all over again.
Our mind must be protected with a helmet that is designed to absorb the shocks of being hit by the enemy and even knocked to the ground in the spiritual realm. When our mind no longer functions as God designed, it no longer does what God intended and created it to do. One of Satan’s primary strategies is to attack our mind. That is why God has provided and told us to put on the helmet of salvation. Our minds must be protected.
It is so fitting, in the midst of football season, to use the game of football to illustrate the need to wear the helmet of salvation. In football, the leader on the field and the one calling the plays is the quarterback. Think of your favorite one right now and give him a face! He calls the plays so the rest of the team can hear and respond. Because he calls and runs the plays, guess who is constantly under attack from the opposing team? The defense is constantly trying to block him, knock him down or snatch the ball from his hands. The objective of the defense is to sack the quarterback and prevent any progress. If the quarterback’s team is unable to move forward, they lose the game.
However, there is a man sitting in a booth higher up whose title is the offensive coordinator. The offensive coordinator communicates with the quarterback during the game. He warns him about what might be coming at him because the offensive coordinator has studied the strategy of the opponent and he is able to predict and then relay the moves of the opponent to the quarterback. Through technology,the offensive coordinator speaks directly into the quarterback’s helmet relaying plays, moves, what to avoid, where to put up his guard, and how to take advantage of the weak points of the opposition. Now while the offensive coordinator has studied the films of the opponent, during the game he is also sitting high enough to actually view the scenario below him. Tony Evans says it this way: “He is seated up above – in football’s ‘heavenly places’ – with a perfect view of what the enemy is doing down below. He analyzes every movement of the opposition in order to inform his quarterback which strategy to employ to overcome their attack.”
You’ve been to a game where a quarterback frantically motions for the crowd to quiet down, waving his arms at the crowd so he can hear the coordinator. In the arena of our lives people’s voices, opinions, thoughts, conclusions, accusations, and summations (even if they are attempting to be helpful) can drown out what God is trying to speak to us in our helmet of salvation. Though they may be trying to cheer us on, we must hear the voice of God in the middle of a spiritual battle. God wants to speak truth into our minds, knowing that what we hear in our minds will either encourage us or prevent us from doing the things God has for us to do. Because God sits in the heavenlies, He can see the field of life much better than we can. He has studied the enemy’s strategies with each of us and knowing our weaknesses, God has a few secrets He wants us to hear.
In Matthew 13:11, Jesus turns to his disciples and says this: “It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” That word mysteries means “some sacred thing hidden which is naturally unknown to human reason and is only known by the revelation of God.”
To comprehend a spiritual truth is a gracious gift from God sovereignly bestowed upon those of us who earnestly seek His truth. Jesus says it has been divinely given to us to know. With God, it is not a matter of hide and seek but seek and find. This, dear friend, means taking up the helmet of salvation, ready to have our mind protected from outside sources of untruth - especially from the enemy who shouts his lies in our ears. Putting on that helmet means we can hear the secrets God wants to share with us.
The deciding factor in victory or defeat is the mind. “Putting on the helmet” means to govern or guard the mind. The only way we can consistently change our actions is to first change our thoughts.
The helmet that Paul is speaking of is the helmet of salvation. Paul was writing, not to lost people, but to the saints, to people who were already saved.
What do you, as a saved saint, think salvation means? Most of us would explain that salvation means to be “born again”, saved from going to hell, or maybe having a prepared place in heaven. Salvation means so much more.
Salvation is actually a past reality, a present gift, and a future promise. Romans 1:16 reads, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, “The righteous will live by faith.” The word “salvation” means to “be delivered.” It is the power of God to deliver us from hell in the future but also to deliver us from any present hell in the present.
Understanding salvation means grasping the fullness of God’s grace gift. Justification means being delivered from the penalty of sin. Sanctification is being delivered from the power of sin in our present life. Glorification is being delivered one day from the presence of sin. To understand and appreciate and appropriate all that God provides is salvation is to grasp these full ramifications.
In my life, God became my Lord and Saviour as a nine year old child. I took up the helmet of salvation, because there were many things that God needed to deliver me from – sins. I recall how he saved me from the sin of sarcasm – the ability to provide a self-centered word that would control the conversation with a caustic comment. The list goes on and on. He is continually saving me today so that I can be and do only the things, with the proper motive, that He has created and afforded me the opportunity to do. I am being saved. So are you my friend. Because God has the power to deliver us.
Ephesians 2:8 – 10 illustrates how God has provided the multidimensional nature of salvation. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God gives grace only in response to faith. Our good works are done in response to the grace of God, not to earn or get more grace.
By grace through faith we have been saved. Grace is “God’s unmerited favor.” Grace is a disposition of favor to us that remains resident in God and colors what He thinks and does. The word Disposition means a prevailing tendency – the one overriding tendency that describes how someone acts. God’s disposition is Grace. Often we have a narrow view of grace, thinking only of grace as God’s redeeming our lostness. God is showing the exceeding riches of His grace and will continue to do that forever. How have you been the recipient of His grace?
I have witnessed God’s dying grace in the life of my mate. After struggling for 8 years with a terminal illness, I witnessed God’s gift of dying grace. I saw my man peacefully become ready to go. His death was not a struggle but a welcome for him. Not for me, but the gift of grace that was a part of my man’s salvation was for him from God.
MY WAR ZONE:
I can never remember a time in my life when I did not know about God. But the day came when I invited Him to come into my heart and be my Lord and Saviour. The enemy knew my Godly upbringing and so he began to taunt me with doubts of my salvation as a young woman. He questioned if, at nine, I knew what I was doing. Did I remember what I said? Exactly? Did I remember the day of the week? These occasional doubts kept me from confidently stepping out in faith and doing the works He had created me to do. I took up the helmet of salvation and refused to hear his thoughts. I was at a conference and was told the story of a farmer who was dealing with the same issue. Finally, the farmer went out behind the barn, knelt down and prayed the sinner’s prayer for a second time, asking the Lord to come into his heart and forgive him of his sins. Then he took his pocket, etched the date on a stick, and drove the stake into the ground. When the enemy tried the next day to accuse him, he took him behind the barn and revealed the stick. I did not drive a literal stake that day, but I did pray the sinner’s prayer again – recorded the date – and nailed down my salvation. I have not heard a word from the enemy about my salvation since that day!
- Take a thought evaluation. What do you spend the bulk of your time thinking about?
- Why do you think it is important to have a holistic view of salvation?
- Briefly recall your own experience when you prayed for Jesus to come into your heart?
- How has God recently demonstrated His grace toward you?
- Describe how you experienced it “through faith?”
Please share your response in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group.