In the ancient Roman army, the soldier’s helmet was a leather cap studded with metal for extra protection. When a soldier was preparing for battle, the helmet was the last piece of armor to go on—the final act of readiness for combat. It would be foolish to go into battle without a helmet on. The Roman helmet literally protected the brain, the command center for the rest of the body. Figuratively speaking, the helmet of salvation guards our mind, our intelligence, our ability to think and reason properly. Earlier, we considered the breastplate, which protects our heart and emotions. Then we looked at the shoes, which give protection in the area of the will—for it is the gospel of peace that creates a readiness within us to do His will. These are essential, but we also need the helmet of salvation to protect our minds and keep our thoughts from being warped into the dark, sinful patterns of the world.
The Believer’s Salvation
When Paul says “take the helmet of salvation,” he’s not just referring to our salvation from the penalty of our sin, but to the whole aspect of our deliverance. Our salvation is from the penalty of sin which is past, from the power of sin which is present, and from the presence of sin which is still future (Eph 6:17, ESV). When we trusted Christ, we were delivered from the punishment our sins deserved. Daily, we must trust Him in order to live righteously. And by faith we look forward to the day when we will be forever free from sin. Paul describes the helmet as “the hope of salvation” (1Thes 5:8). This reminds us that our hope, our ultimate victory, is found in our God. While we may despair at times, our hope is sure and steadfast in our risen Savior. We need to keep an eternal perspective.
The Believer’s Separation
In his commentary, David Guzik says, “Often some kind of plume or decoration was added, perhaps to identify the solider to his regiment.” Being able to identify a soldier by his helmet was necessary on the battlefield. With a quick glance at the helmet, commanders would know where their men were located, and soldiers could identify comrades and enemies. The believer, on the other hand, is not identified by a uniform or any particular type of outward garment; rather, believers are marked by a mind that is renewed by the Word of God, a mind that is distinct from that of the world, a mind that has been transformed into the mind of Christ. Paul states this as he appeals to the Roman believers: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Rom 12:2, NLT). Our distinction from the world is clearly marked by our changed way of thinking. As we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, we become more like Him. Paul tells the Philippians, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5, KJV). What mindset is this? It is the selfless, sacrificial, humble mind that is concerned more with the welfare of others than with ourselves (Phil 2:7-8).
The Believer’s Sanctification
The Bible teaches us that at the moment of salvation we were positionally sanctified by God—seen as holy in God’s sight. “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10, ESV). The word sanctification comes from the root word holy. We have been placed in Christ, and made holy and fit for His presence by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible also teaches that our lives as Christians involve a progressive sanctification process. This is why the mind of the believer needs to be guarded from the mindset of the world. Satan seeks to fill our minds with worldly values, worldly desires, and worldly beliefs, which will greatly hinder the process of sanctification in our lives. This is why Peter says, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1Peter 1:13-16, ESV).
I like the King James rendering, which gives an excellent visual, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind.” In ancient times, they used to wear long robes, and when they were preparing to work, they would tuck the long ends into the belt so that they could move freely. God wants us freely moving forward for Him and this requires girding up the loins of our mind.
The Believer’s Submission
The direction of our life is highly impacted by our state of mind. As we continue to bring our thoughts into line with Christ’s thoughts, we have greater control over our sinful tendencies.
In writing to the Corinthian believers, Paul reminds them and us that the attacks of the enemy are against the mind. He says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete” (2Cor 10:3-6, ESV). These strongholds built by Satanic forces in our minds can only be destroyed by the power of God. We have the Spirit of God within to apply the truth of Scripture to bring down whatever stronghold Satan has set up.
As a master deceiver, Satan spiritually attacks us to trick us into believing his lies. Ephesians 6 reminds us that we are in warfare against organized, cosmic, spiritual forces. These powers seek to influence our mind, our emotions, and our actions. The devil appeals to human pride and seeks to control our mind. Through the channel of our emotions, he appeals to human fears and passions. He appeals to our desire for pleasure and tempts us to sinful actions. This technique was first used by Satan in the Garden of Eden. First, we are told that the fruit was pleasant to the eyes—he appealed to Eve’s emotions. Next, she saw that it was desired to make one wise—he appealed to her mind. Lastly, we see her reaching out in sinful action to partake of the fruit. If we are going to be victorious against Satan’s spiritual attacks, we must have our minds protected from the enemy. Strap the helmet of salvation tightly on your head as you enter into warfare today.