Summary: The third piece of spiritual armor that we must wear is the Helmet of the Hope of Salvation.
Christian Warfare - Pt. 4
We continue, today, with our series on Christian Warfare. In our previous studies in this series, we have seen that we are engaged in a spiritual war. All of the forces of evil are arrayed against us to prevent us from doing the divine will of Jesus Christ our Lord and reaching our Heavenly Home. We have learned that Christ Jesus does not leave us unequipped for battle but, on the contrary, He has provided us with powerful spiritual resources that can enable us to achieve victory - the armor of God.
If we are to have strong victorious spiritual lives, we must know about our armor and weaponry and use them each day and all through the day. We have examined the first piece of combat equipment - the belt of sincerity. The first requirement for victory is to be supported and strengthened by a genuine and singular desire to please the Lord and promote His glory. Having girded ourselves with the belt of sincerity, we are ready to put on the breastplate of righteousness. Our heart - the fountain source of our feelings, attitudes, words and deeds - must be transformed; that is, changed from being inclined toward sinfulness to one inclined toward righteous obedience. God grants the Christian the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit to bring-about that transformation; however, we must cooperate with the Spirit by filling our hearts with righteousness. This is accomplished by feeding our minds solely on the Word of God and other things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, virtuous, and worthy of God’s praise.
Now, we come to the next vital piece of armor, in verse 17, which is "the helmet of salvation".
I. The Helmet.
Protection for the head was essential to the Roman soldier as he was involved in close combat Thus, he wore an iron-reinforced helmet. Some had additional bronze pieces to protect the ears. The helmet was polished with oil so as to make the metal slick or slippery. This caused the blows of swords, war clubs or battle-axes to be deflected upon impact.
II. Hope of Salvation.
Paul states that we have head protection for our battles, it being salvation. Now, I do not believe that "salvation" here has reference to conversion He is not referring to salvation from our sins which we received when we obeyed the Gospel.
Instead, I believe Paul is looking ahead to the future. It is what is alluded to, in Romans 13:11, when he says, "now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed." It is, says 1 Peter 1:5, "a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time [or end of time]."
That the salvation of our helmet is a future salvation is made clear, in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, where Paul refers to it as "the hope of salvation." Note that this salvation is a hope. Paul says, in Romans 8:24-25, "if we see what we hope for, then it is not really hope. For who of us hopes for something we see?" In other words, hope looks to something we do not see or have rather than for something we already see and have.
So, the salvation of our helmet is something yet future, something as yet not possessed or not fully entered into. It is referring to a salvation that is to be ours when Christ comes again. Hebrews 9:28, "Christ…shall appear a second time for [a] salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him."
In short, we can say that the salvation that we hope to receive at Christ’s second coming is, as it is stated, in Titus 1:2, "the hope of eternal life, which God, Who cannot lie, promised long ages ago." Now, eternal life is more than just life after death. Eternal life is like a diamond, a single jewel yet possessing many marvelous facets. When we consider eternal life, it includes the following blessings:
A. Deliverance from God’s wrath.
1 Thessalonians 5:8-10 we have "a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us." For the bulk of Mankind, the return of Christ is not going to be a happy occasion because it will be the occasion of God pouring out His righteous wrath on the unprepared. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, says "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."