Helmet of Salvation

6th of 8 messages delivered at the ERCS Family Camp, 19-22 Jun 2006

"And take the helmet of salvation…" (Ephesians 6:17a)

We are standing inside the armoury of the army of Christ.

Earlier on when standing outside the armoury, we have been reminded to be brave; to take courage and to draw equipment and strength from the Lord as we enter into the fight.

We have also been briefed on what kind of war we are fighting and the strategy that we must adopt in the battle. It is a spiritual war. The enemies are invisible spiritual terrorists. We must fight a defensive battle. Christ our King has already conquered. We must stand and withstand as Satan the Prince of the enemy army schemes and plots to regain lost ground.

In order to fight this battle effectively, we must put on the full armour that God has provided for us.

We have begun to learn about various parts of the armour that is available to us. We have considered the belt or girdle of truth. We saw that this belt symbolises everything to do with the truth.

Objectively it refers to the truth of the Gospel which we must hold on tenaciously. Subjectively, we must gird ourselves with honesty, faithfulness, and integrity. Unless we know the truth and are truthful, we shall easily fall prey to the temptation of the devil to fight on his side. For Satan is the father of lies.

So we must put on the belt of truth. We must girt our loins with truth.

We have also considered the breastplate of righteousness. We saw that the breastplate of righteousness has two parts. One part of it refers to Christ’s imputed righteousness, and the other part refers to Christ’s imparted righteousness. We must make sure that we are assured of our justification in Christ and we must live holy lives in response to the work of sanctification of the Spirit of Christ.

We have studied the foot protection that Paul wants us to wear. We must put on the footwear of the preparation or readiness of the Gospel of peace. Though the war that we fight is a defensive war, we must be ever ready to move out not only to answer the queries of anyone who asks us of a reason for our faith, but also to present the Gospel to the lost.

We have looked at the shield of faith. We saw that faith is the first level of defence against the temptations that the wicked one will hurl in our direction.

The Lord helping, we must now look at our head protection: the helmet of salvation. Once again, let’s study this part of the armour by asking first of all…

1. What is a Helmet?

We are all familiar with helmets. Our children wear them when they are cycling, or at least when they first learn cycling. Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets by law because it has been proven over and over again through statistical studies that the probability of dying in an accident is much higher for a motorcyclist who is not helmeted compared to one who is helmeted.

The fact is: Although our skull is hard, injuries on the head are often more fatal than injuries elsewhere on the body.

This is why soldiers from ancient time to modern times wore helmets. The Roman soldiers that Paul was familiar with would wear helmets made of iron, bronze or brass. Many such helmets have been discovered which had the soldier’s name and the name of his centurion scratched or punched onto it as a mark of ownership.

The soldiers were proud of their helmets—especially those that had a big bushy crest fitted to it.

But there is a difference between owning a helmet and wearing it. Many soldiers do not like to wear their helmet because it is hot and heavy. Well, the modern helmets are not so bad, but ten years ago when I was in the reservist, the helmets were still very heavy and bulky and soldiers hated to wear them. Very often the soldiers would have to be compelled to wear them.

But do you notice from the photographs of soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan, that they always have their helmets on? Do you know why? It is because the bullets and shrapnel are flying all over.

When the soldier is aware of the dangers all around, he will put on his helmet! There is a difference between owning a helmet and wearing one. The soldier who refuses to wear his helmet will often realise too late how foolish he had been.

So when Paul commands us to take the helmet, he is not telling us to carry it around, but to put it on… just as Isaiah speaks of the Lord putting on the helmet of salvation on His head (cf. Isa 59:17)


2. What Does The Helmet Represent?

"And take the helmet of salvation" says Paul. Our salvation is our helmet. But what does that mean? How exactly is our salvation our helmet?

Well, the helmet protects our head, so Paul must be talking about protecting our minds from the assaults of the wicked one.

Satan, we must realise, will always focus his attacks on our minds. When he tempted Eve with the words, "Hath God said?" He was attacking her mind and making her doubt. Satan cannot force us to sin but he can persuade us to sin. He persuades us by attacking our minds… for our mind is the command centre of our soul. It is our mind which decides whether we would resist temptation or give in to temptation.

Once Satan has control of our mind, we become his willing slaves; and we begin to fight his battle.

This is why Paul wants us to protect our mind. How must we protect our mind? We must put on the helmet of salvation. Salvation must protect our mind.

But how does salvation protects our mind? Well, Paul makes it clear elsewhere that it is the hope of our salvation and not just salvation itself that protects our minds. Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:8—

"But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation" (1 Th 5:8).

That is: the hope, which has our salvation as its object is our helmet.

How does the hope of our salvation protect our mind? Well, the first thing we must realise is that unless we are sure of our salvation, we have lost the major part of the battle. For how are we going to fight the battle if we have no assurance that we belong to the Lord, and have no assurance that we will persevere in the faith? Satan wants us to doubt that we really belong to Christ because he knows that we would have no reason to be obedient to God to live holy lives if we do not belong to Christ.

In the first place, if you do not believe that the King loves you, will you fight for Him? In the second place, if you go into a battle and you have no confidence to win the battle, will you have any will power to fight? This is why the Lord in teaching us to count our costs says: "What king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?"

As such, one of the things that Satan will always try to do is to attack our minds by making us doubt our salvation. He will tempt us to despair and rob us of our hope so that we give up the fight.

Many of you would be familiar with the devices of the devil.

He will come to you, and as it were, whisper in your ear:

You are not for real aren’t you? You don’t really believe. You just say you believe to gain the approval of man.

Look at yourself: You are a hypocrite. You do God’s command only when there is someone watching you. You don’t really care about pleasing God?

Why continue to pretend? Why not be honest? Why not do yourself a favour and free yourself from this bondage?

Why bother to fight or to please the Lord when He is going to cast you into hell anyway?

Why bother to keep the commandments of God?

Now, sometimes, the Holy Spirit speaking through our conscience will make us examine ourselves in such a way that we grieve at our hypocrisy. But the Holy Spirit will always draw us back to the Lord. He calls us to repent. He calls us to return to the old path. He calls us to depend on the Lord and to rest in Him.

Not so the devil. The devil will make us doubt our salvation. He will rob us of our comfort. He will tell us to flee from the Lord. He will tempt us to give up the faith. He wants us to surrender to him.

The apostle Paul is warning us against the devices of the devil. He wants us to take and put on the helmet of salvation. He wants us to make use of the hope of salvation that the Scripture give us warrant to have to defend ourselves against the head blows of the wicked one.

He wants us to stand firmly assured that we belong to Christ, so that we may keep trusting and rejoicing in the Lord and so that at the end of our race, when we have fought a good fight, we will receive a crown of victory and glory. In this way, we will be kept from giving in to the devices of the wicked one to sin against the Lord.

3. How To Put On The Helmet?

Well, our helmet in the spiritual battle is our hope of salvation in Christ. Therefore putting on the helmet of salvation has to do with cultivating our hope and assurance of salvation in Christ.

How to do that? How should you put on the helmet of salvation?

Well, let me give you three directives.

First, to put on the helmet of salvation, you must constantly remind yourself that you belong to Christ. You belong to Him not because you are good and not because you once prayed the sinner’s prayer. You belong to Christ because He laid down His life for you and shed His blood for you.

Whenever Satan would cast doubt on your salvation, remind yourself that Christ came to save sinners and that you are a sinner. Or look back to your baptism. If you were baptised in a true Church of Christ, you can look to the baptism as a sign and seal of Christ laid upon you. This sign and seal is not yours, it belongs to Christ and He has put it upon you because you belong to Him.

Whenever you are tempted to sin against God, remind yourself that you belong to Christ. Christ paid a great price for your redemption. Gratitude therefore demands that you love Him and serve Him.

And whenever you are tempted to doubt your salvation, go to the Lord in prayer, "Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief." Then remind yourself that Christ came to die for sinners. Remind yourself of what the Spirit of Christ has done for you. He has changed your heart and made you believe and love the truth, has He not? By His work in your heart, you now find the law not grievous. He has enabled you to grow in grace, has He not? Then consider the testimony of the Spirit testifying that you are a child of God, enabling you to call unto Him as "Abba, Father" (see WCF 18).

Secondly, to put on the helmet of salvation, you must think often about judgement and eternity. You must remind yourself that your soul will live on when this mortal body dies. You must remind yourself of how you and all men will be subpoenaed to appear before the throne of Christ. You must remind yourself that except you fight the good fight of faith today, you can have little assurance of hearing the Lord say at the day of judgement: "Well, done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord."

When Satan tempts you sore, remind yourself of those words that the Lord promised to His faithful servants. Think for a moment of how those words will ring throughout all eternity adding joy to joy in your soul as compared to the temporal pleasures that sin bring. Let this hope of everlasting joy motivate you to make a choice for Christ even when it means temporary suffering or inconveniences and self-denial.

Thirdly, to put on the helmet of salvation, you must make every attempt to fill your mind with thoughts that are praiseworthy and are related to your salvation.

If your mind is always filled with the cares of world—whether it be work, or making money or how to top the class; or if your mind is always filled with your favourite recreation, then the defences to your mind would no doubt be very weak.

Worse still, if your mind is filled with bitterness or grumbling against persons or institutions, then you are opening the door of your mind to Satan.

But if your mind is filled with the Word of God, of the Psalms, and of good theology, and of the love of Christ, then it would be very difficult for the wicked one to assault your mind. For noble thoughts or things that are praiseworthy are the sentinels who would occupy the castle of your mind to make sure that Satan does not penetrate it.

So then to put on the helmet of salvation, you must remind yourself that you belong to Christ; you must think about judgement and eternity and you must fill your mind with the things of God or things that pertain to your salvation.


Beloved brethren, have you put on your helmet of salvation? Is your mind well-protected against the assaults of the wicked one?

May the Lord help us that our salvation may not be just an academic notion, but a hope that enables us to fight the spiritual battle against the wicked one until we receive that eternal reward from Christ our captain and king. Amen.

—JJ Lim