Helmet of Salvation
Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8-10But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
John 3:16-17For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
1 Timothy 2:3-4For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Luke 1:77To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins...
Every human being has thought and acted in ways that are abominable to God. Our sins break God's beautiful living laws designed for our good. Sin is so vile to God that it requires the death penalty. God's justice requires that penalty. But God's loving mercy provided the most incredible substitute. Jesus Christ, our Creator, was willing to die in our place! To be saved, we need a Savior.
How do we receive salvation?
Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Ephesians 2:8-9For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
It is important to understand that salvation cannot be earned. It is a gift from God and not something we can obtain through the right actions, thus obligating God to give it to us. Still, as we've seen in the scriptures covered so far, repentance (abhorring our sins and seeking God's forgiveness and help to obey His laws), faith, accepting Christ's sacrifice, and coming to the knowledge of the truth are all steps in accepting the free gift. In no way do these efforts make up for our sins that caused the death of our Creator and Savior!
Is salvation a permanent, irrevocable gift, or does it have to be maintained?
The New Testament tells us that we "have been saved" (Ephesians 2:5), that we "are being saved" (1 Corinthians 1:18), and that we "will be saved" (Matthew 10:22). What does this mean for us?
Ephesians 2:4-8But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God...
Paul makes it clear that "have been saved" equates to the forgiveness of sins and coming under God's grace. We have been taken off death row.
1 Corinthians 1:18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.
Salvation can also describe the ongoing conversion process. Paul also calls this being "transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). This involves having God's laws written in our minds and meditating on them so we can better follow them (Hebrews 10:16; Psalm 119:97-99). As we saw in the lesson on the breastplate of righteousness, God expects us to obey His commandments.
Matthew 10:22And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Our ultimate salvation depends on whether or not we choose to endure to the end.
What does salvation have to do with a helmet?
1 Thessalonians 5:8-11But 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, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
We can receive tremendous hope and comfort by focusing on the incredible sacrifice Christ gave to save us and the amazing Kingdom that is the goal of our salvation. This hope works like a helmet to protect our minds from the discouragement and despair in this world.
John 17:15-16I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Christians have been called out of this world. Though we remain in it, we are not of it and remain separate from it. Our way of living and even of thinking should differ from the world. We are to develop the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), and as we have seen, that means having God's laws written on our hearts and minds so we can remember to always obey God.
1 Peter 5:8-9Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Our enemy hates that we have chosen this path and will stop at nothing to destroy us because of it. Just as the helmet protects the vital but vulnerable head from otherwise fatal blows, the hope of salvation can protect our thoughts from our enemy's attacks and temptations to disobey God.
Matthew 13:22Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
Without the helmet of salvation, we will be unprotected from the "cares of this world" that bombard our thoughts and feelings. Imagine not knowing what the future ultimately holds. The worries and problems produced by living in this world would overwhelm us!
Psalm 27:1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
With the helmet securely fastened, we can have the same confidence that Paul did that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). We understand that it doesn't matter what happens to us now. No matter what trials we face, we know that at the end of it all waits for God's Kingdom and an eternity of His perfect reign—and what could be better than that?
How do I keep the helmet secure?
Psalm 3:8Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah.
Remember that salvation comes from God and that God is on our side. If we commit to fully following and obeying Him, it is impossible for us to lose our battle or our salvation.
Revelation 21:1-4Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God, Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
This is the salvation we are fighting for—to enter this glorious Kingdom! Never lose sight of this. This coming Kingdom, with its worldwide peace and prosperity, makes every price in this life worth paying. No matter what comes, no matter how vicious the attacks our enemy lands on us, we know that as long as we remain with God, we are moving slowly but unstoppably toward an eternal victory. What wouldn't we give for that?
2 Timothy 4:6-8For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Paul had the vision. He valued his salvation highly and diligently fought the good fight. As the end of his life drew near, he was able to say with complete confidence that he would receive the crown.
When Paul awakes in the first resurrection, he will trade in his soldier's helmet for a far more glorious, imperishable, and eternal crown of righteousness—the crown of a victorious soldier of Christ. We, too, can be assured of victory so long as we—like Paul—faithfully follow our God and His commandments from our hearts and mind.