~~ by James Fire
The HELMET of SALVATION –
And take the helmet of salvation, [and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:]
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
2 Tim 2:10
Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
The very name of Jesus in Hebrew is Y’shua (or as we would say, Joshua) which itself is a contraction of the Hebrew Ye’hovah Shuah or “Our God is salvation”. Note that Jesus doesn’t merely bring salvation; He is Himself our salvation (Ps. 35:3)! Thus we acquire this helmet of Salvation in the reception of the Son of God into our lives (John 1:12), and “put[ting] on Christ (Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3: 27)”. This salvation isn’t derivative (something we get from Him) of Jesus Christ; it is integral (to be complete and entire) in His Person.
~*~ As has been mentioned before and (please forgive me) repeated here, the term “salvation” is a word with a wide panoramic view of the work of God in His saints and includes the aspects of justification, sanctification and glorification, among many others.
Justification is something established when one receives Christ Jesus and His work of atonement for our sins by faith in God’s Word, repenting of one’s sinful life, and committing oneself to the LORD and His Kingdom. Once justified, our sins and the penalty for them have been “nailed to His cross” and annihilated. We no longer incur the penalty of sin, that is, death and hell because Jesus Christ our LORD suffered the eternal judgment of God’s wrath in our place.
Sanctification is something that is initiated upon our being justified (see Heb. 13:12) in that once we are indeed saved, we are set apart (and called out, as in becoming a member of the ‘invisible church’) from the world; we belong now to God. However there is far more to this process than merely this initial transferal from the world to the church!
Scripture is abundant in its instruction that we are to grow in Christ (Eph. 4:15; 2 Pet. 3:18), to become more like Him (Eph. 5:2; 1 John 2:6), denying ourselves (Matt. 16: 24; Titus 2:12); to die to self (Col. 3:5; Rom. 6:11), to increase in godliness (1 Tim. 1:4; 6:11), etc. This is the realm of sanctification where we are saved from the power of sin which, while we are saved, can still hinder, choke, and squelch spiritual life from manifesting in our character and every day life. It’s been said before, “Christians aren’t sinless, but they should ‘sin less’.” As we grow in Christ and spiritual maturity, a healthy state should be one of increasing holiness and righteous living, and sin having a decreasing effect in our lives.
I believe one of the major contributing factors for the worldliness of the church today is because Christians are falsely assured that once they say that “sinner’s prayer” that it’s a done deal, nothing else need be done – and as far as our justification is concerned (if they have truly repented and surrendered to Christ and produce fruit as evidence of salvation), they are right! Nevertheless, there is this necessary aspect of salvation which is sanctification that we must become disciplined in, by the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, if we ever hope to manifest Christ-likeness in our lives and bring honor and glory to God and receive commendation from Him. Sadly, this aspect is ignored by too many churches and fellowships. On the other hand, there are those who are not truly justified by God through Jesus Christ because they have believed “in vain” and are thus without true conversion (1 Cor. 15: 2).
For a more detailed treatment of these aspects of salvation please review the following page gleaned from the works of C.I. Scofield:
A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine - The Three Tenses of Salvation
In regard to the armor of God then, we have this Helmet of Salvation, and as this is a part that fits over our heads, I believe that this entails the aspect of sanctification in which our very minds, our thought-lives and habitual conduct are dealt with.
When our hearts were unregenerate and governed by sin, enslaved by it and likewise blinded, our thoughts reflected this inclination towards iniquity, and so our thought life was opposed to God, His holiness and righteousness and we in disobedience lived our lives in rebellion to the LORD. Essentially we enjoyed sin which was “pleasurable for a season” (Heb. 11: 25; Job. 15:22; Ps. 52:3; Prov. 2:14; Jer. 14:10).
And you hath he quickened [brought to life], who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
It’s significant to take note of the fact that the state of humanity, apart from the sweet influence of God’s Spirit is indeed most deplorable:
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
If sin could be looked upon as a kind of spiritual virus, infecting man’s whole person, then we have an understanding that sin while destructive and deadly, also affects us in degrees and by stages (as any virus will do). This is why a very young child or toddler, while possessing a sinful, selfish nature does not exhibit all of the deplorability that an old person often does with resentments, bitterness, vileness, etc. The longer this ‘virus’ has to work on a person, the more depraved they become not just in their heart, but in their actions; this is also why older people are harder to reach with the Gospel, as they’ve become hardened and resilient against it.
(Think about the woefully destructive power that sin has afforded upon the person of the cherub, once known as Lucifer who became Satan (“adversary”)! The angelic realm was more than likely created prior to the creation of our physical universe which, biblically speaking was around for approximately six to ten thousand years, but even for these several millennia plus, could you imagine how sin has adversely affected this once noble, lofty and beautiful creature?)
Yet with the introduction of the Gospel, mixed with faith, there is salvation of a soul and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God, and then a new influence exists within the human soul, a newly born saint of God. The Spirit of God represents a kind of spiritual software and an anti-virus ‘program’. I looked up the term ‘anti-virus’ and found this interesting definition:
“A software program written so that on execution (this is usually automatic on boot up) it scans the hard drive and related processors to identify, isolate, and eradicate the virus.”
Interesting words: identify, isolate and eradicate! They are fraught with all sorts of spiritual meaning and ramifications. Scripture and conviction by the Holy Spirit in identifying the virus known as sin in our lives as believers is necessary before any sanctification can take place. Isolation of sin, by means of “being separate” from such in our hearts, that is a repudiation of sinful thoughts and tendencies is what’s required once such viral contaminates are identified. Eradication is only possible by reckoning (accounting it to be truly so) ourselves to be “dead to sin” and look to the Cross for its availing power and letting ourselves die to sin and its preceding temptations.
Let’s have a look at some verses that deals with sanctification of the believer:
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Phil 2:5, 7
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
1 Cor 1:30
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
Sanctification has a purging, cleansing effect upon our minds (a legitimately spiritual form of ‘brain-washing’ perhaps?) and this is an explicit purpose of the Word of God in our lives (see Eph. 5:26). As the LORD faithfully ministers the Word to us by His Spirit, we become sanctified and washed (see 1 Cor. 6:11) and conformed to the Person of Jesus and His Holy Mind – we put on the mind of Christ in a very actual and spiritual way (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 2:16 [compare with Phil. 2: 5]).
The priorities, purposes, the perspectives and propulsion (as in motivations) of the LORD become our own; we become ‘one’ with the LORD (1 Cor. 6: 17) as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds! Of course the world as well as Satan is ever seeking to pressure us to “conform” to this kingdom of darkness we find ourselves surrounded by; the very word in Rom. 12: 2 means to exert pressure from outside: squeezed by the philosophies and esteemed priorities and values of this world. Being transformed however is something that happens within not based on outward pressure at all, but inward influence and such by the Spirit of God.
The ‘spiritual software’ of God’s Spirit is busily ‘overwriting’ the vile destructive power of the virus known as sin in us who are His saints. Just as the eradication of any computer virus is a process and requires time to achieve, so too, this spiritual process known as sanctification (in the practical aspects of every day life) requires (a life-) time but also cooperation; what do I mean by that?
Have you ever tried to teach a child how to write? You wrap your hand around their own, and help them in guiding the pencil across the page; but what if they are not willing, that is, their will is not cooperative with yours, and they want to go it on their own? The results are not satisfactory are they?
Neither is it satisfactory when the Spirit of the LORD is attempting to lead us in the way of righteousness (Prov. 8:20; Psalm 5:8) and we are resistant because of carnality, that is a tendency and affection for the lusts of the flesh. Such people who prefer carnality over spirituality, who live their lives without consideration, much less cooperation with the deadly effects of the Cross upon such sinful nature have little if any assurance that their salvation is genuine and influential.
I’ve met some professed believers who think I’m being a bit too 'legalistic' in admonitions to walk in holiness. The first point I make is that legalism is an artificial form of holiness empowered by the will and regulations of self-righteous religious people and has no business in the true Christian’s life. The second point I make is that we live a life of grace.
“Exactly!” they sometimes say, “Grace; so ease up and don’t be so uptight!”
As if being the recipient of grace makes sinning ok? Nothing could be further from the truth! It’s the fact that some lean on grace as a ‘get out of jail free’ card that indicts them all the more, making their guilt doubly potent!
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
God’s grace is provided for our sin, true; but this grace of God is two-fold in its powers and functions! It’s given to us sinners for salvation from the penalty of sin, but also salvation from its power! We can avail on the power of God’s grace to help us in our time of need when we are sorely tempted (Heb. 4:15-16)!
To ignore this latter application of God’s grace brings dishonor to the Person of Jesus Christ because it’s His express intention that by His grace we overcome sin in our lives.
Any who have no conviction about overcoming sin, and are ambivalent towards compromise and sin in their lives are allowing a victory for Satan, and bringing about a defeat for the cause of Christ!!
Yet for those who yearn for the LORD, who desire to become more like Jesus in holiness and purity and righteousness, while we still find the flesh to be a formidable opponent that is constantly seeking to interfere with our spiritual progress towards maturity, we know the remedy for this rebelliousness, that is the Cross and our reckoning ourselves to be “dead indeed unto sin”. We saints are never promised in this life, deliverance from the temptation to sin, but we are given the opportunity to ruin its domination over us, and thereby find liberty in Christ Jesus, and freedom in spiritual exercise in our conduct as followers of our Beloved LORD! This is the struggle that we read about in Galatians:
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
As believers we have a choice as to whether we will live our daily lives and moments under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit or that of our own sinful nature; we cannot be under the influence of both simultaneously! Either we are operating in the Spirit or our own sin nature. Of course these influences can fluctuate from moment to moment, but we cannot be both in the Spirit and the flesh. Here then is a precept that we do well to remember:
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
If our focus is on receiving from the Spirit His power and graces, we can then walk, step by step, choice by choice, moment by moment and day by day in Him, and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Note that this concept of ‘walking’ is here mentioned, and again, having our shoes shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace requires that we are walking in the Spirit, sanctified and engaged in discipleship in the Word, prepared for every good work!
2 Tim 2:21
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
2 Tim 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Yielding is essential in salvation of a soul; just as with justification, so likewise with sanctification. We must yield ourselves to the LORD Who alone can work righteousness in and through us.
Rom 6:13, 19
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
As previously stated, spiritual warfare is two fold in its dynamics: it’s about “outreach and upright” – reaching out to the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ which alone can save sinners; also about walking uprightly in holiness and sanctification, well pleasing to the LORD. A violation of the latter will inhibit or even nullify the former.
The issue of sanctification and remaining pure from sin is a serious battle that takes place in the mind, before it even begins to work in our flesh (Remember Eph. 2: 3). Therefore to ‘nip [sin] in the bud’ is to seize control of the mind by the efficacy of the Spirit and the Word of God. We as saints need to bring every thought into captivity (2 Cor. 10: 5b).
The mind of a human is much like the rudder of a ship; in whatever direction the rudder is turned, this alters the course of the ship accordingly. Likewise with the mind: as our mind focuses on something with increasing concentration, it’s only a matter of time that our ‘vessel’ that is, our bodies will comply with those thoughts and be led into action.
Am I suggesting that as Christians we will be able to control every single thought that enters our minds (some of these represent sinful, thoughts of fiery darts from the enemy)? No, but we are well able, by God’s grace of steering our minds away from such sinful tendencies and direct our hearts to our LORD. I believe it was Martin Luther that said, “You can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can certainly keep it from building a nest in your hair!”
Indeed, we can’t help those fleeting thoughts, vile as they may be, and many of these are not original to us. As Christians we have all had those experiences during Bible reading, or worship where some heinous, diabolical thought seems to pounce upon us: don’t necessarily own those thoughts. These may well be the fiery darts of the enemy and are to be soundly dealt with by the blood of the Lamb and the Almighty Spirit of God, the Righteous Resident Who lives within us!
However, like a proverbial ‘hot potato’ we are to cast such thoughts from us, and replace them with the Word of God, with praises for our Father, and adoration of the Son, infused by the Spirit’s power to do so! We declare ourselves boldly as the people of God, purchased by His blood, that we are dead to sin, and alive to Him!
Here is something from MacARTHUR about the Helmet of Salvation that will prove most useful and edifying (note- here he views this helmet and it application as yet future in our glorification, but as its a part of armor and spiritual warfare, I see it as more applicable in the present, and this present age when rebellion against God is evidential):
The HELMET of SALVATION with pastor JOHN MacARTHUR
1 Cor 6:19-20
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
When temptation comes our way, we need to raise up a “No Trespassing” sign with the words “Private Property” underneath it, for we are indeed purchased of God with the blood of the Lamb and belong to ourselves no longer, but to the LORD (1 Cor. 6:20). Another thought that came to mind when I was pondering this issue of temptation and the flirtations with such we often play out in our minds:
“In the theater of the mind, allow only ‘G – rated (God Rated)’ films!”
Lastly I want to point out that just as our walks with the LORD are to produce ever-increasing fruits of holiness and righteousness in victorious living, we have an Old Testament example in the nation of Israel, which in type, represents the life of a believer under the New Covenant.
-Just as Israel was delivered and saved from Egypt, by the shedding of sacrificial lambs on the night of Passover, the church is saved by the blood of the Lamb at Calvary (Rom. 5:9).
-Just as Israel forsook Egypt, we the church are to forsake the world (James 4:4; Titus 2:12).
-Just as Israel was given promises of a land granted to them by God in His grace, the church is given the promise of eternal life likewise by the grace of God (John 3:16, 36).
-Just as God made provision for the nation of Israel to “enter into [His] rest” the church also has this provision of “entering into [His] rest”; both would receive these provisions by faith and belief in God’s promises (Heb. 4:1-11)!
-Just as Israel crossed the Jordan River and entered into the Promised Land, there to conquer and defeat the various enemies residing there, the church in its individual members, having been saved already are led of God to enter into a life of overcoming our own enemies: the world, Satan and our flesh (1 John 5:4-5; 1 John 2:16; Rev. 12:10-11).
-Just as God expected Israel to expand her victory to encompass all that was promised to her (from the river of Egypt – the Nile, to the river Euphrates), the child of God in the church is expected to expand their own victory and obtain all that is promised to them by God (to walk in the power of His might unto all pleasing, obedience and victory; Col. 1:10; 1 John 2:14; 1 Cor. 15:57).
We will get into this in greater detail a couple articles from now when we examine these Old Testament stories which are provided for the church for our learning valuable lessons and hopefully not repeat the mistakes made by Israel (Rom. 15:4).
The next article will be about a spiritual weapon that isn’t covered very much by many Christian authors who’ve written a great deal about spiritual warfare, and that is, the weapon of prayer! As the Word of God is portrayed as an offensive weapon, that is, a Sword, to engage the enemy in close quarters, prayer can be seen as an offensive weapon used in long range assaults, rather like a missile!
Until then, may the LORD grant each of us, His saintly children, the knowledge of Jesus Christ Who alone won our victory for us at the Cross and consummated that victory by walking away from that empty tomb! Hallelujah!