Ephesians 6:17: The Helmet of Salvation
- The certainty of hope
- The fight for hope
- The effect of hope
The typical picture of hopelessness is one taken from WWII. In the concentration camps the soldiers would give the prisoners menial tasks. In one camp the prisoners were told to move a huge pile of dirt from one side of the prison camp to the other. Once this was completed they were then commanded to move it back again. This endless cycle of meaninglessness with no light at the end of the tunnel caused many to deliberately throw themselves upon the electric fences to end their lives. As John MacArthur put it, living without hope is like running a race with no finish line. Without hope we are prone to quit. This brings us to the next piece of the armour. Ephesians 6:17, ‘and take the helmet of salvation.’
Paul speaks of salvation in three ways, we have been saved, in the past tense referring to the new birth, justification and conversion; we are being saved referring to the ongoing process of sanctification; and we will be saved, this is our forward looking hope to the day when Jesus will come again and make all things new. I believe it is this forward looking glance that Paul sees as the helmet of salvation. In 1 Thess. 5:8-9 he writes, ‘But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ In the context Paul is talking about the second coming, and here he uses the word ‘destined’ to affirm that the way in which he uses the helmet of the hope of salvation as referring to our future hope of what will occur at Christ’s coming.
Paul tells us to think on the time when sin will be no more, when Satan will be no more, when this world and its system will be no more and we have new bodies that do not want to sin anymore. But we will see that hope is not a self-deception of thinking positive thoughts but thinking upon those things which are certain. So as we consider hope today we will be thinking about the certainty of hope, the fight for hope and the effects of hope.