Ephesians 6:13-17; The helmet of salvation is hope and security.

Sunday MAY 15, 2022

“Believers exercise their convictions as a soldier moves his shield to prevent enemy weapons from killing him. The believer’s task is to use what is given by God and watch as the enemy’s fierce attack is brought to nothing through the surpassing power of God’s armor.” [Lynn Cohick, The Letter to the Ephesians, p. 422]


Faith holds on to all of God’s graciously given resources while the enemy attacks and that faith in all that God has said and done, and faith in the proper thinking and behavior in ourselves protects us fully. Faith is able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.


Take (command) the helmet of salvation – connected to hope in 1Th 5:8.


The helmet of salvation is another reference to Isa 59:17.


Isa 59:16-20

And He saw that there was no man,

And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;

Then His own arm brought salvation to Him;

And His righteousness upheld Him.

17 And He put on righteousness like a breastplate,

And a helmet of salvation on His head;

And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing,

And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.

18 According to their deeds, so He will repay,

Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies;

To the coastlands He will make recompense.

19 So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west

And His glory from the rising of the sun,

For He will come like a rushing stream,

Which the wind of the Lord drives.

20 "And a Redeemer will come to Zion,

And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," declares the Lord.


Paul speaks of salvation as a gift that is possessed by the believer. The protection centers on the understanding that God has rescued them from bondage to death, sin, and the devil, and that we are seated with Christ in the heavens. The believer knows that they did not work for their salvation and they cannot lose it.


Eph 6:14-17

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all [in everything], taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.


“take the helmet … and the sword …” An imperative (command) to take/receive what is given by God.


Dechomai can mean to take or receive. Each works, but as long as we don’t see the verb take as a forceful taking, as if God had not freely given it to us. The idea of the command is for us to take our salvation in hand from God and put it on ourselves, thus taking the strength, confidence, and hope that comes with it.


We accept this gift, as all the rest, with devout gratitude, knowing from what source they come.


Last to be put on is the helmet of salvation and then to pick up the sword of the Spirit. Paul has been using participles to describe the action of putting on the various pieces of armor. This grammar paints some of the subtlety of the picture.


Stand firm! (command) followed by four participles: having girded your loins with truth … having put on the breastplate … having shod your feet … taking up the shield.


These “ing” words are participles, which are verbal adjectives. They are action oriented but function as descriptions that help the main verb “Stand firm.”


This paints “Stand firm!” (command) in the foreground and it is supported by the belt, breastplate, shoes, and shield (participles).


The distinction of the main verb and the participles is small. We are not to make it bigger. But just the same, it is there.


Then, likely to prevent us from thinking that the armor is only support and therefore not critically necessary, Paul shifts to an imperative “take!” so that we will always see the full armor of God as a vital necessity.


However, the imperative does not break the flow of the list nor the wholeness of all the armor since he connects this command with the conjunction “and.”


It seems that as Paul wraps up the list, he desires to reiterate the command to “stand firm,” by “take” the helmet and sword – showing us that the whole exercise is not an option for us, or a nice thing to do. We are commanded to stand firm, and since we can only do that by wearing God’s armor, we are commanded to wear the armor.


The helmet is our salvation. Our salvation is our security and certain destiny.


It should give us pause that we find the Lord wearing the helmet of salvation in Isa 59:17. God does not need salvation, and this is precisely why it is His helmet. God is the only one who can provide salvation and deliverance. He doesn’t wear the helmet (imagery of course) because He needs protection, or that some external part of Himself provides His protection, but rather it signifies Him as the Deliverer. In multiple Old Testament passages, God is salvation and deliverance.


Our salvation is the sure sign of our deliverance, and we are to wear that as those who know that we are always protected by God who has and will deliver us from sin, death, and the devil.


Those offered the helmet of salvation as a piece of armor are those who are saved by grace through faith, and God has already rescued them from the bondage of the prince and power of the air and seated them with Christ in the heavenlies.


Eph 2:1-10

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


By appropriating this salvation as our helmet, believers have every reason to be confident of the outcome of the battle.


Paul offers the picture of Christ handing to his faithful soldiers their sure deliverance and the soldiers receiving their helmets gladly.


We receive it by faith. Faith is simply us using our hands to receive a gift or our mouths to eat a freely given morsel. No matter what happens, we are saved people. We have eternal life, God’s life, and it will never be taken away for any reason. The world may get crazier than we ever imagined it could, but it will never be our world or our home ever again – we are citizens of heaven and seated with Christ in the heavenlies. It may seem that God is silent toward our needs, as if He’d forgotten about us for a time, but we know He has not, for He never takes His eyes off of His children, and not a sparrow falls to the ground without His concern, yet we are far more valuable to Him that a common bird.


Salvation has a special impact on the context of battle – assured deliverance.


Imagine an army on a battlefield prior to the beginning of the conflict and being assured of deliverance. Imagine a young men standing on the battle line and facing a tough and determined enemy just a hundred yards or so away, knowing that at any second the trumpet will sound and you will have to march forward, and knowing that the odds are against you to live to see another day. Imagine his fear; his angst; his dry mouth. Now imagine another young man in the exact same situation who knows beyond a doubt that no matter what happens on that battlefield that day, nothing harmful will befall him. He has been promised deliverance from all things and he believes it with all his heart. Imagine how differently they fight. Imagine how differently they march toward the enemy, each step taking them closer to the enemy, and the enemy to them, and the moment of action. Imagine how different is the state of each one’s soul.


As Paul wrote in this letter that believers are recipients of the grace of God and seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph 2:6-9).


As each believer feels the assaults that come upon him from the sin and evil in the world, upon his loved ones, upon his church, he is to rest in his salvation. We are destined for something else than the ways of this world. The assaults against us; physically, materially, and mostly spiritually, are temporary.


The context of Paul’s use of the helmet in 1Th 5 is helpful.


1Th 5:1-11

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.


If and when we see the things that are deserving of God’s wrath, and when those things invade our personal lives, the lives of our family or church, we know that we are not destined for God’s wrath, but rather His salvation, the fullness of which is not yet accomplished for us in our bodies. Paul writes in Rom 8:23, “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” In that context he describes our expectation of the unseen future as our hope. The helmet of salvation has a lot to do with hope.


The context of 1Th 5 is the rapture of the church. In 4:17 “we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,” and in 5:2 “the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” And so their salvation in 5:8,9 might refer to the deliverance from the world and therefore the “hope of salvation,” refers to the confidence that the saved will not be left behind. Yet, to me, that hope applies to the helmet of salvation we all wear, for whether we are in the generation of the rapture or will die physically, we are delivered from all things through Jesus Christ our Lord.



The Thessalonians were praised by Paul for their faith, love, and hope.


1Th 1:2-3

We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.


Paul instructs them to continue trusting in their sure hope of salvation, especially as times in their lives get harder and more perplexing.


No matter what the devil and his demonic forces throw at us, nothing can penetrate the helmet of salvation.


Be sure to understand, like all aspects of the armor, we have them all as gifts from God. Truth, divine righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God belong to us all, but when applied to armor they must all be “put on.” Salvation is no different. We are all saved in the body of Christ, but to maintain hope and peace within, we must wear our salvation like a helmet. What does it mean to wear salvation? It means to trust in the fact that the here and now is not the same as the hereafter and we will not be given more than we can handle and we can handle whatever comes at us with the full armor. It means that we don’t worry, become anxious, or fear what is happening or will happen. It means that we continue to rejoice even in the whirlwind.

Eph 6:13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 6:14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 6:15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 6:16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,    6:19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

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