Eph 6.17 (with Eph 2. 1-13)
Paul identifies things we need, in order to survive and thrive in our world. He’s been likening these to the soldier’s kit in these verses. Wrap yourself up in truth, let it Nurture you. Put on righteousness to guard your heart, so you Express God’s character; Underbind your feet so the Gospel of peace defines your Walk. Hold the shield of faith: Lean on Jesus. These are ways we need to do to live, in the power of he Spirit, letting God transform us. Paul begins fresh here, with a new verb, a new sentence structure
“Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit…” This week we look at the Helmet of Salvation. The sword of the spirit will be next week. The verb “Take” is not the same as the one used about the shield of faith. That was about picking up the shield. Here, it is literally “Receive the helmet of salvation (as a gift)”. Welcome what God offers you. it’s there, in front of your nose. Receive it!
So what is this “Salvation thing?”
In Eph 2. 1-13, Paul talks about what it means to be saved. It implies:-
- being rescued from death and brought to the safety of new life. (v. 1-5) Jesus is the resurrection and the life. His victory over death changes everything. Apart from him, we are all not just facing death, but dead already: helplessly adrift morally and spiritually. But he has saved us us from that death, and given us life, through Jesus’ death resurrection. We are not just looking forward to Heaven. We are already seated there. (v. 6)
- from effort and self-improvement, to the gift of new creation. (v. 8-10)
- from outsiders to insiders (v 10-13) The Christians in Ephesus , as gentiles, were looked on as outsiders by the Jews. If they wanted to know the Jews’ One God (and many did) they were still outsiders and often treated as such.
Salvation means new life. It means new hope. “I’m gonna live forever!” It means new power. I can live differently, because I am a new creation, God’s handiwork. And not only has he re-made me, he’s already made the good stuff I can do. It means new identity. I am no longer an outsider but fully accepted by god. I have a whole new identity.
If you have never really trusted Jesus, you can receive that gift of salvation today, right here and now. The people in Ephesus Paul wrote to, had already received that salvation! God offers it to you and all you need to do is receive it in trust and surrender to Jesus.
But if the people in Ephesus had already received this Salvation (as Paul says in Ephesians 2. 1-13), how can he then say “receive it” when he’s talking about putting on the armour?
Paul uses an unusual form of the word “salvation” in Ephesians 6. 17. (For those who are interested it is soterios, instead of the usual soteria). And that suggests it is “Applied Salvation.” It’s that thing the God has done, of moving us from death to life, from earth to the heavenly places, from futile gut-busting effort, to knowing his power; it’s that thing he has done that makes us a full member of God’s family, with a transformed identity and a transformed life. It’s all that, applied in our lives to enable us to move in God’s power. The salvation Jesus gives us, impacts our lives in so many big and small ways, time and time again. Receive salvation, worked out in your life.
Paul is deliberately referencing Isaiah 57. 17 which uses the same, unusual word as the Greek Old Testament. Remember who was the first person to take the breastplate of righteousness? The Lord (Isaiah 59. 17) Well, along with the breastplate of righteousness, God wears the helmet of salvation. He goes out to apply his salvation as he rescues his people. And here’s an interesting thing. In the Hebrew language in Isaiah, the helmet of salvation is – listen carefully – Kova Yeshua. Does part of that sound familiar? Yeshua, Jesus, God in human form, is our salvation.
God put on Yeshua, Jesus. He sent his eternal, only begotten Son into the world. He entered our world in Christ, to deal with our sin and bring us into God’s Kingdom. In the battles we face, we are to receive applied salvation. Applied Yeshua. We are not just “Saved” we are “being saved” and it is still a gift from God. So today, receive salvation afresh. What bit are you missing out on? What bit of salvation is not being applied in your life today? The assurance of eternal life, or that your sins are forgiven?. Receive it. The power to live for Jesus? Receive it. The assurance of sonship, of your new identity? Receive it. Afresh. Today.