The Helmet of Salvation
November 28, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part nine.
The fifth piece of the whole armor of God is “the helmet of salvation.” This is the other piece of armor the Divine Warrior in Isaiah 59 wears as he fights for the redemption of his people. Verse 17 says, “He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head.” Righteousness and salvation go hand-in-hand throughout Scripture. God’s righteous requirement of the law is satisfied by the complete righteousness of Christ so that salvation can freely be given to the unrighteous.
How does salvation protect us as a helmet in the battle against spiritual forces of evil? Iain Duguid proposes that the fuller description of this helmet given by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 helps us answer this question. There Paul writes, “Let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” It is not merely “salvation” that serves as a helmet but also the by-product of salvation: hope.
Biblical hope is easy to misunderstand. We use the word “hope” in many ways in daily conversation. “I hope I pass this test.” “I hope the Royals will win.” “I hope to receive a new book for Christmas.” Each of these uses of “hope” speak about wishful thinking. There is no absolute surety in any of these circumstances that the outcome will turn out as desired. Unfortunately, we easily think of hope in the Bible in the same way. “I hope for salvation” becomes “I’m wishful for salvation.”
Duguid explains, however, “In the Bible, hope is never a vague optimism that everything is going to work out in the end. Rather, hope is a settled conviction about where one will spend eternity” (The Whole Armor of God, p. 79). Biblical hope contains surety because the outcome is rooted in the completed work of Christ. Salvation, wrought by Jesus, produces hope.
In this regard, the hope of salvation becomes a protective piece of armor. The lies and threats of Satan cannot defile our inheritance kept in heaven for us (1 Pet. 1:4). This is incredibly calming, comforting, and encouraging when faced with discouragement and despair. No matter what affliction we face today, something greater, namely salvation, is held secure for us.
This is the hope that undergirded Paul’s bold statement in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” The infinite value of salvation, and the hope clinging to that promise, help to put into perspective our present challenges.
Again, Duguid is helpful: “Hope defends the Christian against discouragement and despair. Why should you be discouraged by your present challenging circumstances when you have such a glorious and secure inheritance awaiting you?” (Duguid, 82-83).
The hope of salvation is something to be thankful for.