“...and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” Ephesians 6:17
As we enter the middle of the semester, a fourth of our school year has been written into our history books. Midterms happen, applications are put in for internships, and decisions for long-term plans are made. In this particular time of the school year, our focus isn’t fully on God. However, there is still a very real battle to fight.
This particular fight is not fought through “the power of the flesh”, but instead are much sneakier (2 Corinthians 10:4 ESV). In American culture, we fight and struggle more so with ideals, cultural values, nationalism, and status to name a few. Because of this, we, as followers of Christ, must wage war with weapons of the Spirit of God.
In Ephesians 6, Paul talks about us putting on the armor of God to defend ourselves against the attack of the enemy. Out of the six pieces of armor, five of them are defensive. One of those defensive pieces is the helmet of salvation, which we will focus on today.
1) Power of our minds
“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.” - Romans 12:2 ESV
God created us in his image and, even though our bodies and minds have been tainted by sin, he has still designed us to tap into the power of his Holy Spirit. Our brains are designed so that through the power of Christ on the cross, we can change the very landscape of our brains. How beautiful is that? Our brain is designed with the hope of salvation already wired in.
Thus, because our minds are built with the hope of salvation from and sanctification of sin through the blood of Christ and power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to choose life. The helmet of salvation is our defensive head gear because it protects our minds from the power of the enemy. Because the Holy Spirit moves lives in us once we are saved from sin, God is able to help us see the power of his love. He sets us free from the power of sin and death.
Through the power of the helmet of salvation, God gives us the power to pursue him through our minds, and it is through his grace that we are given the chance each and every day to choose him. That is great news! Even on days when we fall short of his glory, God still reminds us of his unending love for us. We have the option to choose that each day because of the power of Jesus’ love. How amazing!
2) Choosing obedience
“And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling.” - 2 Corinthians 7:15 ESV
Even though our salvation is final, we have a battle to fight. Daily. Hourly. Sometimes by the second. However, victory is ours “through our lord Jesus Christ”, and that means our victory is final (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV). Nothing can change that. But even though our victory is final, it doesn’t mean that our battle is finished. God still calls us to fight. Finding salvation does not mean that our journey is over. Because we have been adopted by God through Jesus, he becomes our Father, and good fathers lovingly discipline their children, as written in Hebrews 12. And he calls us to obey him, even when its hard.
Obedience is, by definition, submission to someone else’s authority. God deserves authority because of the influence Jesus had on us through love, and from there, God calls us to obedience. This comes through constantly choosing to surrender our wills in our thought lives to God. It may be hard to do for a while, but the more you lay down your sinful ways through salvation.
3) Process of sanctification
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” - Romans 8:16-17
The process of filtering sin out of our lives is the process of sanctification. As previously mentioned, salvation is being broken free from sin. However, it does not mean that sin is suddenly dashed away. The battle that the Bible talks about is being delivered and transformed through the process of sanctification.
Again, our minds are where this battle takes place. Continuously. Powers of heaven and of hell fight to influence us all the time. But continuing to use the power of our minds and obeying God through the power of the Holy Spirit is essential. This means sometimes we have to lay down our expectations of ourselves, God, others, or all of the above to let the Holy Spirit sanctify us. And this is HARD business, folks. Sanctification hurts because it requires painful wounds to be exposed. Lies are exposed. False truths and hopes arise. But our salvation is still final.
In college, we are faced with many different influencing situations. Having job interviews and stressful midterms can influence us to have the mindset of failure and that our worth and value is from our circumstances. But, Jesus has given and continues to give us the power to be sanctified from sin, shame, lies, and death. That is the best news we have. Even when the hopes and dreams we have in this world fail, God shows us his love.
Even though we are fighting a battle, someone has emerged victorious. That is promised for us. Jesus loves us more than we can possibly imagine, and gives us the defense of the helmet of salvation to protect our minds and build strength in Christ. This comes through surrender and relying on the strength of the Holy Spirit to obey the will of God. Even though this is hard, continuing to say yes to letting God transform us leads to our sanctification. The process of sanctification is how we see the beauty of the gospel - seeing that God gives us abundant grace. Especially when that grace favors progress over perfection. You are known by him. You are cherished by him. And most importantly, even though you are still being sanctified, Jesus has already grasped your eternal victory.
Author | Brad Schiebel