Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. … Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore … And take the helmet of salvation… (Ephesians 6:10-17)
I want to reiterate a point I have a made a few times, God doesn’t call strong people to His service. He makes those He calls strong. God knows how to compensate for our weaknesses. There is no missing virtue in our life that He can’t supply. God wants us to join the fight against the forces of hell and enforce the victory of Christ on the earth. He wants us engaged in spiritual warfare from the position of the victory He already won. To properly fight this battle, we have to use the weaponry He gives us. The next part of the armor we have been given is the helmet of salvation, or, as Paul writes later, the helmet of hope (1 Thess. 5:8). In the Passion Translation, Ephesians 6:10-17 says:
Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you. Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious. Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph. Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart. Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace. In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One! Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies.
For the sake of illustrating the point, I want you to imagine playing football without a helmet to protect your head. There is so much violence in the game, with large, strong men slamming into each other at incredible speeds and force, that if you were to play without a helmet, you would be severely hurt. A Roman soldier who did not wear their helmets during the battle would die. A blow to the head from an ax, or being shot in the head by an arrow would end the fight quickly. But the helmets the Roman soldiers wore were sturdy and decorative. Each helmet was cast out of solid metal and had a cork interior that cushioned their heads. The helmet was so strong, a direct blow from an ax could be withstood. The helmets were shaped and adorned with decorations that signified where the soldier was from a farm scene, a horse ranch, mountains, seas, etc. Soldiers personalized them, so they took on the identity of the soldier.
The helmet of salvation that we have been given is just as essential to our spiritual survival. Each one has been crafted by God the Father to fit our heads. It sits comfortably on us and identifies us as being children of God, unique in our own ways. It is molded from the blood of Jesus Christ, and it guards our minds against direct strikes of the enemy. Our helmet of salvation guards and gives us hope.
But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ… (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9)
The helmet of salvation is a helmet of hope. “Salvation” in the Greek is “soteria,” which means “deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation, deliverance from the oppression of enemies.” We know where we have been, we see what has been done for us, and we know where we are going. We have hope our neighbors need: the hope of Christ’s salvation. The local 7-11 clerk needs the hope of salvation. If we wear this hope helmet, not only are we protected, but we are showing the world who we are: children of God, from diverse backgrounds, covered in the hope of a secure future with Christ.
Let’s look at I Thessalonians 5 in a different translation:
But since we belong to the day, we must stay alert and clear headed by placing the breastplate of faith and love over our hearts, and a helmet of the hope of salvation over our thoughts. For God has not destined us to experience wrath but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One (5:8-9: TPT).
The hope that we wear is bright and colorful, a sign to all that Jesus has won and we are on the winning side. In the Greek, the word for “hope” is “elpis” which means “an expectation of good things, confident expectation based upon solid certainty; joyful and confident expectation of salvation, to anticipate with pleasure.” Those with the hope of Christ overcome fear, anxiety, and doubt because they are confident in their salvation and see a future full of pleasure and joy with Christ. We have authority over mental attacks flooding our world. It gives oxygen to our souls and helps us stand firm in the face of dark times and dark battles. It allows us to live with a tree of life in our lives for “[h]ope deferred makes the heart sick, [b]ut when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).