What is the helmet of salvation? What about the sword of the Spirit? These are the last two elements of the whole armor of God as listed in the book of Ephesians, and it is important that we know what they are.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”(Ephesians 6:17)
To begin, let’s review what we’ve learned so far:
1) Girding my waist with truth is making sure I know real truth, as revealed in God’s Word. Many claim to have “the truth,” but as our Creator, His claim of what is true supersedes everyone else’s.
A belt keeps everything up–it keeps it from falling down! In the same way, truth keeps everything together spiritually, because when we build on truth we are building on the Rock–on a solid foundation.
2) Putting on the breastplate of righteousness is genuinely following Christ–which has to include obeying Him as I live my life–so that when the Father looks at me He may see “Christ in me, the hope of [God’s eternal] glory”–so that I may have Christ’s righteousness counted as mine.
A breastplate protects the heart–life itself–and the true righteousness that comes from Christ when I belong to Him–Christ in us–not only protects our spiritual life, but is our life!
3) Having my feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace is properly comprehending the gospel message and it’s impact for myself and the rest of sinful humankind.
Having our shoes on is being ready to go at a moment’s notice–being prepared. In the same way, we need to be prepared to be used by God’s Holy Spirit at a moment’s notice by correctly understanding the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection and comprehending its eternal significance to anyone we may meet.
4) Taking up the shield of faith with which I can quench the fiery darts of the wicked one is repenting–turning away–from any sin I may have fallen into, and then securely resting in who I am in Christ.
A shield protect soldiers from attack–from the fiery darts of the enemy. What are the fiery darts of our enemy? They are the doubts and accusations He may throw our way. When we are right with God–not guilty of any intentional sin that we haven’t turned away from–we can rightly rest in who we are in Christ.
But what are the last two elements of the whole armor of God? What is taking the helmet of salvation? And what is involved in taking up the sword of the Spirit?
To begin, the helmet protects the head–the mind, the center of conscious, rational thought. One of the strategies of the enemy of our souls is to get to us mentally, through our brain. He may try suggestions like, “God wouldn’t want you, you’re not good enough,” or “Don’t even bother trying to change–once a bad person, always a bad person”–or any of a number of other tactics to try to deceive us away from Christ. Yet the Bible tells us differently:
“…God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. ” (I John 5:11-13)
The word translated “believe” in the phrase “to you who believe in the name of the Son of God” is the Greek word “pisteuo,” a noun which comes from the verb “pistis.” According to The Complete Word Study New Testsment (Zodhiates), “In general it implies such a knowledge of, assent to, and confidence in certain divine truths, especially those of the gospel, as produces good works.” So the belief that we must have in the name of the Son of God is such as produces good works–in other words, we must have saving faith that generates subsequent obedience.
But if you do have that kind of faith; if you stop doing bad–whatever it is that you’ve been doing–and turn to Christ; if you “remain in Him”–read His Word and do what it says, pray, and turn away from any subsequent sin when you catch yourself at it–then–then you can be at peace knowing that you really do have eternal life! But what about the sword of the Spirit? What is that?
The sword is an offensive weapon: it is what soldiers fight with, and the sword of the Spirit is identified as the Word of God. Paul explains:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [earthly, human weapons] but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:3-5)
God’s Word is the only thing that is mighty for pulling down strongholds, for casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and for bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ–the only thing. It is the only effective weapon, and that is why we must take it up to battle effectively in the spiritual realm.
So, in conclusion, we can now complete our list:
5) Taking the helmet of salvation is believing “in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”
And just as the helmet protects the head, being confident of our salvation protects our minds from any doubts the devil might hurl at us.
6) Taking the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is the only way we can pull down strongholds, cast down arguments and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
It is the only offensive piece of the armor of God because it is sufficient to accomplish everything that is necessary.
Help me “take up the whole armor of God, that…[I] may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13) Amen.