Since Satan can’t force you to give up your salvation, he is going to do everything within his power to keep you from appreciating your salvation, because he knows that failing to appreciate your salvation is going to produce all kinds of practical problems in your life.
This is one reason why throughout the book of Ephesians Paul is constantly praying that God would help us to understand and appreciate the resources that we have in Christ.
If you look back at Ephesians chapter one and verse 18 this is how Paul begins praying for the Ephesians.
He says, verse 16:
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…
Paul is not praying that they might have more power. He is actually praying that they might know the greatness of the power that is already at work in them, because he understands that as believers even as believers very often we fail to appreciate the significance of our salvation. Even Ephesians chapter three Paul’s second time of describing what he is praying for in the book of Ephesians, but Ephesians chapter three verse 14.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith— that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.5
Paul is concerned that believers do not fully appreciate how big their salvation is. The salvation God has provided is huge. And we don’t always appreciate how huge it is. And what Satan wants is to get us to think of it as small. He wants to get us to think of our salvation as small, because if he can get us teetering or tottering on that he knows he has opened us up for all kinds of attacks, which is why Paul here in Ephesians chapter six, if you turn there again, Ephesians chapter six verse 17 tells us to put on the helmet of salvation. That is the point. That is the image. Paul is saying, “You must protect your thinking,” not by being saved, not saying, “Take on the helmet of salvation after you already have the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, you need to get saved.”
He is not saying you need to become saved. You need to take on the helmet of salvation meaning you need to appreciate how big your salvation really is. You protect your thinking by understanding the glory of the salvation that God has provided for you in Jesus Christ.
This takes a little work, because our salvation is seriously deep stuff. When the Bible talks about salvation it talks about it in all sorts of different ways. It is really one of these broad words to describe the way God has rescued Christians.
Sometimes when the Bible talks about salvation it talks past tense. This would be the word saved. You are saved. If you are a Christian you need to appreciate when we talk about the helmet of salvation that you have been saved. You have been delivered or rescued from the penalty of sin.
Sometimes when the Bible talks about salvation it talks present tense. It is very important you understand the tenses of salvation, one of the most important things. Past tense, you were saved; present tense, you are in the process of being saved. If you are a Christian, God is doing a great rescue work in your life right now. He is rescuing you not just from the penalty of sin, but he is actively involved in your life rescuing you from the power of sin. And what a privilege if we just stop and just enjoy that for a second, to have the almighty God at work in your life helping you become like Jesus Christ. Salvation is past tense. Salvation is present tense. We are not left on our own to sort of drift through this life as Christians. The Holy Spirit is actively engaged in saving us, sanctifying us.
And the Bible doesn’t stop there when it talks about salvation. There is past tense, saved, present tense saving. And there is future tense. God will save us. And we don’t want to talk about salvation without leaving that part out, because this is our great hope. And actually in 1 Thessalonians when Paul talks about the helmet of salvation he talks about the helmet of the hope of salvation, the future salvation that God is going to provide. This life, this salvation that God has provided is not only that he forgives you from sin, he helps you become a little bit more like Christ and then you die and go into the ground and that is it. No, that is not where salvation ends. God has a glorious future salvation for us as believers in which he is going to rescue us. He is actually going to return. He is going to display his glory as he declares us holy and blameless and above reproach on judgment day. He is going to display his glory when he reveals us as the sons and daughters of God in which actually he is going to save, redeem these old bodies by creating a new bodies, resurrection bodies which are going to be able to enjoy forever and the whole creation, Romans eight says, is longing for this day when the sons of God will be revealed and we will begin to see the glory, the full glory of God’s salvation.
And the way we protect ourselves from wrong thinking is by thinking deeply about this past, present and future salvation that God has provided for us in Christ. You are saved, but you … if you are a believer, you need to not only… not only be saved, you also need to enjoy your salvation. We have to keep coming back to this reality if we are not going to be fooled.
God has provided something stunning in salvation. And so what Satan wants to do is to make that salvation seem small. This is reality. You have been saved from the penalty of sin. You are being saved from the power of sin. One day you will be saved from the presence of sin. And what Satan is constantly trying to do is to twist that reality and to deceive you into thinking that you are actually fighting a losing battle so that you give up. And so we have to go back to our salvation and we have to know the facts of our salvation and we have to actually apply our salvation to our everyday life and we have to analyze and evaluate the way we are thinking and to ask: Does this line up with what I know to be true about the salvation that God has provided for me? And we have to proactively think true thoughts about our salvation and our lives that line up with the salvation we have received in Christ. This is what it means to put on the helmet of salvation. It is to go through life and to evaluate your thinking and say, “Hmm. Does that thought, does that match, does that go in line with what I know to be true about heaven? Or does that thought line up with what I know to be true about what God is doing in my life right now? Or does that thought line up, does it match, does it make sense? Is that thought true in light of what I know God has done in my life?”
That is a major part of sanctification. What we are constantly trying to do in sanctification is line our thinking, line our feelings and line our actions up with reality, the reality of salvation.
But still I realize maybe it sounds a little bit out there, a little vague and so I thought what I could do is spend some time over the next several posts giving you examples of what it looks like to put on the helmet of salvation as adoptive parents, foster parents, people interested in mercy ministry.