Sunday, 20 November 2016
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; Ephesians 6:17
Paul now admonishes the Christian to “take the helmet of salvation.” Charles Ellicott notes that “There is a break here. We are said not to put on, but to “take” (or rather, receive)—a word specially appropriate to “salvation.”
The Greek word for “salvation” is not what is more commonly used. It gives the sense of “tending towards salvation.” In other words, it would be our hope of salvation. The thought is “And take the hope of your salvation, and put it on your head like a helmet.” It is an adornment for all to see, and it is a protection against anything which could come against our reason. We are not to intellectually surrender our hope. Rather we are to contemplate the hope of our salvation, knowing that it is our great protection for that time to come. It is a wonderful picture of eternal salvation. One cannot take on a hope of something that is not going to surely come about.
Vincent’s Word Studies describes the helmet in use at Paul’s time –
“The helmet was originally of skin, strengthened with bronze or other metal, and surmounted with a figure adorned with a horsehair crest. It was furnished with a visor to protect the face.”
We can look to the future with confidence, because we have a helmet of salvation which adorns us, and even our face is protected from harm. 1 Thessalonians further explains this helmet for us –
“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8
We are then to also take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The sword was the only offensive weapon chosen by Paul. It was a most important part of the soldier’s armament. They were trained in, and carried, other weapons, but without a sword, they could not be considered as properly armed. Close-in fighting required this implement, and it is this which Paul has in mind – direct contact fighting. The sword was a short sword with both edges highly sharpened.
Here, and at all times, the term, “sword of the Spirit” is not to be separated from the term, “the word of God.” Charismatics and others who claim “spiritual gifts” err if they think that they are granted a special “anointing” which makes them super-warriors of Christ without knowing and applying the word of God properly. Verses need to be taken in context, dispensations in time need to be considered, and our theology is to be Christ centered. When we fail to apply the word of God in this manner, we have no “sword of the Spirit.” Instead, we have parts of God’s word ripped out of intended context, but having no true power. To misuse Scripture is to be without our one offensive weapon which has been described by Paul.
Life application: From this verse, we should be comforted in the knowledge that we are saved. We are to take up that knowledge, and we are to adorn ourselves with it. Let us not waiver in this precept. And further, we are to stand fast on the word of God, using it as our main means of engaging the enemy. God wrote it, and so it is the most effective weapon we can employ. Let us never fail to keep it handy, apply it properly, and stand fast on its eternal precepts.
Lord God, You have adorned us with salvation through the work of Christ. Help us to take up the helmet of our salvation and wear it as a sure hope in that which we already profess. And Lord God, help us to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is Your word in order to engage the enemy in the spiritual battle we are in. You are the One who fashioned this word, and so it is surely capable of cutting through all that the enemy sends our way. Thank You for the helmet of our salvation, and the sword of the Spirit! Surely they are mighty implements of battle. Amen.