Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17 ESV)
The apostle Paul is teaching us about the armor given to us by God so that we are able to stand against the attacks of the devil and the spiritual forces of evil. Thus far we have seen that the armor given to us is truth, righteousness, readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, and faith. We will consider two more pieces of God’s armor that is given to us: the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.
The Helmet of Salvation
God says that we have salvation as a piece of armor. How is salvation a piece of armor? How does salvation help us be strong in the Lord and stand against the attacks of the devil? How does salvation help? The scriptures tell us that the helmet of salvation is to give us hope.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:8–9 ESV)
Paul says that the helmet of salvation is to give us hope. Why does it give us hope? Paul says because God has not destined us to wrath but to obtain salvation. God did not create us so that he would judge us and vent his wrath on us, which we deserve. Rather, God has made us so that we would obtain salvation from our sins. So how does this help us? Why do we need this?
I believe one of the strong attacks the devil makes against us is to attack us with discouragement and doubt. The devil wants to shred any assurance that we may think we have in Christ. To discourage us, the devil points out our failures, sins, shortcomings that we have before the Lord. The devil points out all the problems in our lives and whatever else is negative so that we lose confidence in the love of our Father. The devil attacks and tells you that you are not good enough and you are not going to heaven. You have too many sins. You have made too many mistakes. You are not worthy of God’s love. You cannot be what God wants. But here is the thing: we are not good enough! That is the whole point! If we could be good enough then our Lord would not have needed to send his Son to die for the sins of the world.
Turn to James 4:1-5 and see this point made by James. Notice in the first five verses James points out our sinfulness. He writes to Christians and tells them how they are fighting because they are obeying their passions. Their desires are all out of whack. They ask the Lord wrongly in prayer, praying selfishly and therefore not receive from the Lord. James says that they are adulterous people because they are friends with the world rather than friends with God. So here is where we sit. We know what we ought to be doing but we continue to fail in our sins. Does James tell them that they need to give up? Does James tell them to quit? Does James say that they need to quit fighting for holiness? No! Listen to verse 6:
“But God gives more grace.” Do you see what God does while fight the passions of our flesh? More grace! “Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'” There is no better news that will encourage us to stand against the attacks of the devil. I am insufficient but God is sufficient with his grace to carry me if I will humbly continue to submit my life to my God. James continues in verse 7.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 ESV)
This is the whole point the apostle Paul is making in Ephesians 6. Put on the helmet of salvation to stand against the devil because it gives you hope and encouragement to continue to pursue the Lord as he gives you more grace. Seeing the grace of God leads me to holy living. Seeing the grace of God compels me to not quit my faith or my struggle against Satan and sin. Listen to how Paul declared this truth to the Philippians.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)
God has not left us alone now that we have become a Christians to struggle our way through by our own might. This would not work if God brings us to salvation and leaves us to fend for ourselves. God who began this great work of salvation in your life will bring it to completion. Submit to the Lord and God gives the grace we need which continues to strengthen us to stand against the attacks of the devil.
The Sword of the Spirit
In our study of the armor of God we can see how critical it is to have and use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Our faith comes from the word of God (Romans 10:17) and we live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Without the word of God active in our lives, we cannot put on truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, or salvation because we only learn these things through the word of God. Without the word of God we would not know that we had armor given to us by God that gives us the strength to stand. The word of God empowers us to stand against all that Satan throws at us.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 ESV)
This is the attitude we need toward the word of God. It is the tool for success against Satan. The word of God provides us what we need to be strong in the Lord and repel the attacks of the devil. Not only this, the scriptures teach us that the words that God has spoken which rest in your hands are your very life.
“Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 32:46–47 ESV)
Jesus agreed with this understand concerning God’s words:
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:63 ESV)
Life is not in ourselves but in the words of our Lord working in our lives. We need the sword of the Spirit. If we do not use the sword, it is of no value to us. How easy it is for us to neglect the armor God has given us to stand and then we fail in our faith and we do not understand why. But the reason is clearly given by God. We are not relying upon the armor God has given to us.
Do not give up in your walk with God. There is plenty of grace for those who, do not live perfectly for then we would not need grace, but humble themselves before the Lord. Your hope must remain in the salvation of the Lord. Read the scriptures and continue to grow in the strength of the Lord as we see the glory and love and salvation of our God.