What is the helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:17)?

The apostle Paul describes what he calls the "Armor of God" in Ephesians 6:10-17, which is the Christ follower's protection in the spiritual battle against God's enemy, Satan. This is not a flesh and blood battle; it is against the "powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). So in this passage, Paul explains to the Christian warrior each piece of the spiritual armor they need to put on in order to daily fight and stand against the spiritual forces of evil.

The second to last piece of armor listed by Paul in this passage is the Helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17). When dressing in armor, the helmet was usually the last piece of armor a Roman soldier would fasten to his body as he readied for battle. The helmet protects the brain, which could be considered the "command station of the body." If a soldier was injured or lost his head, his body (and thus the rest of his armor) would be useless. In the same way, Christians need to protect their minds to be effective soldiers in God's army.

The Helmet Protects Against Doubt

Most Christians experience doubts concerning salvation at some point. This is 100% normal. Having doubts doesn't mean that you aren't saved. It simply means that you need to put on your helmet of salvation. If you have truly believed in Jesus as your Savior from sin, then you are part of God's forever family, and God will keep His promise to give you eternal life (John 1:12, 3:16-17). No one can take you away from Him (John 10:28, and you cannot lose your salvation. But Satan will often cast doubt in a believer's mind that they aren't good enough to be saved, that they did something to lose their salvation, or that they were never meant to be saved at all.

When I was a teenager, I doubted my salvation at times. But when Satan threw this dart of doubt at me, one way I put on the helmet of salvation was to remind myself that God doesn't lie. Since God has said that for those who have truly believed in Him, "who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12), then that's a promise that He will keep. I knew in my heart that I truly believed Jesus was my Savior, so I could have assurance that I was saved.

There may be times when Satan strikes at us, whispering doubts or shoving them in our faces. Maybe those arrows coming at us are doubts of God's goodness, love, knowledge, power, or sovereignty. Putting on the helmet of salvation reminds us to engage our minds with reminders of God's Word, which tells us the truth of who God is, what He's like, and how He promises us salvation from our sin when we turn to Him (Romans 5:8).

The Helmet Renews Our Minds

Have you ever considered how many thoughts you think about each day? It's mind blowing. Sometimes our thoughts are good, healthy, considerate, or wise. Sometimes our thoughts lead to worry and anxiety about the future. Sometimes our thoughts lean negatively toward ourselves, others, or our circumstances, causing us to dwell on unnecessary hate or anger. And sometimes our thoughts are sinful or intrusive, or we get deceived and believe a lie.

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." When we put on the helmet of salvation, this helps us to "renew" our minds, resetting the chaotic thoughts that bombard our brains. This is not about mindlessness or emptying the mind. "Renewing" your mind means to intentionally think about situations the way God would see them and to think of things that would be honoring to God.

Once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17) and your thoughts should reflect that. Putting on the helmet of salvation means replacing our natural inclinations about things and choosing to guard our hearts against worldly influences. The helmet of salvation reminds us to make sure our thoughts and beliefs resemble God's wisdom.

"Renewing your mind" means taking the ideas, opinions, beliefs, etc. that are contrary to God's Word and wiping them out. We can allow God's truth to wash away the filth, lies, and confusion of the world and choose to adopt His perspective. We can discover what God's thoughts are by reading His Word. The Bible gives specific instructions on what our minds should be dwelling on. (See Philippians 4:8, Psalm 19:14, and Isaiah 26:3.) Speaking truth to our hearts and guarding them with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23) is so important to our spiritual development, and we start by putting on the helmet of salvation.

The Helmet Maintains Our Eternal Perspective

When things are going wrong or frustratingly at school, home, or work, it's easy to get discouraged. When life crashes in around us, we need to put on the helmet of salvation and keep an eternal perspective. Scripture tells us that we will indeed have conflicts, confrontations, and difficulties in life (John 16:33) and that we should face these with joy (James 1:2-4). That's completely opposite from human nature, but, for the Christ-follower, those trials help us grow stronger in our faith, compassion, and wisdom. Trials bring us an eternal glory that far outweighs temporary struggles if we stay faithful to Christ (2 Corinthians 4:17-18; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:7).

In the midst of our difficulties, one of the greatest things to remember is that Jesus has already overcome the world (John 16:33)! Because of Christ's work on the cross and His resurrection, Satan is already a defeated foe, the victory of our salvation is already accomplished, and we are more than conquers in Christ (Romans 8:37). The helmet of salvation reminds us to have a godly perspective and to value heavenly treasures over earthly ones; helping us get our priorities right (Matthew 6:19-21).

If you are a Christian, you are in a spiritual battle against Satan (Ephesians 6:12). Often, the battlefield will be laid across your mind in the form of creeping doubts, waves of unhealthy thoughts, and hurled discouragements. And God has provided the helmet of salvation to help guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. With the helmet of salvation, we can "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God" and "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).



One piece of spiritual armor God has provided for a Christian is the "helmet of salvation" (Ephesians 6:17). This helmet is needed to help protect us from doubt, unhealthy thoughts, and discouragement about our relationship with God. The helmet of salvation reminds us that if we've truly believed in Jesus as our Savior from the punishment of sin, then God will keep His promise to us (John 3:16-17). We must actively renew our minds (Romans 12:2), exchanging worldly thoughts for God's truth, wisdom, and perspective. Those who choose to follow Christ WILL come up against difficulties in life, but Jesus has already overcome the world (John 16:33)! Working through trials will reap eternal rewards and benefits to the faithful (James 1:12). Remember to put on this important piece to guard your heart and mind in Christ (Proverbs 4:23)

Writer: Hanna S.

Hanna loves spending time with kids and teens. She enjoys being detectives with them to investigate God's Word to discover truths to answer any questions. She is the co-author of a newly published apologetics curriculum for children and teaches one online for highschoolers-adults. To learn more about her ministry you can visit networkerstec.com. For fun, she likes to play Ultimate Frisbee, read historical fiction, and paint.

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