Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
Notice the word “take” the helmet. Paul said the same thing previously in verse 13 “take up” the whole armor of God, then again in verse 16, “taking up” the shield of faith. As I said previously, Christ has done it all so then our faith is exercised in what Christ has accomplished. Yet, there is an action on our part. That action is manifested in faith or “receiving” what Christ has done, received through our obedience by faith. The “taking up” is an act of obedience to the Lord’s finished work. Our authority is derived from Christ Himself who said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . .” It begins with His faith and obedience and is worked out through our faith and obedience to Jesus.
So what does it mean to “take the helmet of salvation?” In the past, I have taught on the “Threefold Salvation” our Lord has given to us. Last week, I referred to 1 Thessalonians 5:23 which gave a picture for our spirit, soul, and body relating to our threefold salvation by sanctification or being set apart unto God. Even though salvation is a gift from God, we must fight to protect that gift. The wicked one is always trying to take our salvation from us in terms of how we see God and how we see His love and provision for us. The “helmet” represents the battle for our minds which include our: reasoning, our affections, our imaginations, our conscious, and our memory.
Let’s consider the battle going on for each one of these areas of our mind. We begin with our reasoning. Have you ever heard it said, “God helps those who help themselves?” Some think this is a scripture reference. The Bible says just the opposite. Repentance has to do with “changing your mind about how you think.” How do we reason? Is it by the world’s standards or by God’s standard, His eternal word? This is the battleground where we battle. Is our reasoning based upon the prism of man’s authority or God’s eternal word? What we must settle is this area of authority. Is it rooted in man or is it rooted in what God declares, “His eternal Word?” (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped for every good work.”
Next, let’s consider our affections. In Colossians 3:1-3 Paul writes saying, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your affections (KJV) or mind (NKJV) on things above, not on things on earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” This is what Paul means when he says, “have the mind of Christ.” All Jesus did was in direct obedience to His Father in heaven (see John 5:19, 1 Corinthians 2:16, and Philippians 2:5-8).
Much of our battles are directly connected to where our affections lay or what consumes our minds. The question each of us should be asking is this, is what we think and what we love directly connected with obedience to God’s word? Are our thoughts and actions aligned with the word of God and bring glory to Him?
These questions lead us to the next area of consideration regarding the “helmet of salvation.” One of the great needs of our mind is “redeemed imaginations.” The realm of imagination is the “creative center” of one mind. An unredeemed imagination is centered in one’s self. Religion and religious works are a product of man’s imaginations. What can I do to appease God? I will do this or that and He will be happy with me and accept me. The reality is that there is nothing I can do to please God in my work and strength. As we saw in our last lesson, only faith alone centered in the completed work of Christ can satisfy God’s will and plan. That is why religion binds multitudes of people all over the world. Jesus has saved us from vain imaginations and given us a new mind to receive what God has planned and to join Him in His work of redemption for mankind. This is an important part of the “helmet of salvation” we are instructed to take and by implication, to put on.
Part of our battle is to go after vain imaginations. Vain imaginations are where “strongholds” attach themselves and become that which controls one’s life. Paul focuses us in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 when he says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations (arguments) and every high thing that exalts its self against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
This scripture is given by Paul to make clear his assignment as an apostle of Christ’s but also teaches us that each believer is engaged in a battle for the thoughts, imaginations, yes the strongholds rooted in the mind.
Next, let’s consider how the helmet of salvation relates to the conscience. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14-15 NKJV).
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22-23 NKJV).
It is the conscience that affects our sense of need to work our way right with God. But those works are “dead works” because nothing could satisfy our sin condition except “the blood of Jesus Christ.” When our conscience is cleansed we can “draw near” with a true heart. We can come with “full assurance of faith.” It is because our “evil conscience” and even our bodies are washed with “pure” water. It’s pure because of what it speaks to in Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection. You see this is the only acceptable sacrifice.
Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably (Hebrews 13:18-19 NKJV).
Our conscience needs to be good or clear toward all men and before God. The conscience becomes the clearinghouse regarding our motives. Can I look a person straight in the eyes and say, “all I have done toward you, I have done with a good conscience before God.”
Lastly, let’s consider our memory. The memory, both conscious and subconscious, needs cleansing from hurts, offenses, and sin that opened doors to the enemy to have a legal right in one’s life. This is a vast subject that we cannot cover here. I will say this; many come to Christ, but never deal with the past in depth. They struggle to forgive and be able to forget because hurts, offenses, and the sin which is still locked up in their memory.
Forgiveness from the heart is vital to a healthy Christian lifestyle and to put on the “helmet of salvation.” Matthew 18 records the parable of the unforgiving servant. Understanding what Jesus is teaching here is critical to understanding the “helmet of salvation.” Many of God’s people are struggling with deep issues that involve them forgiving from the heart. Paul understood the importance of a “good conscience” when he said in Acts 24:16, I always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men (NKJV).
As we work out our salvation make sure you have laid hold of the helmet. Make sure that it is fitted in place