Monday, April 20, 2015

The Hope of Salvation




We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.  

Ephesians 4:14-16







Our enemy hates that we have chosen the path of salvation and will stop at nothing to destroy us because of it. Just as the helmet protects the vital but vulnerable head from otherwise fatal blows, the hope of salvation can protect our thoughts from our enemy's attacks and temptations to disobey God.

Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.  Matthew 13:22


Without the helmet of salvation, we are unprotected from the "cares of this world" that bombard our thoughts and feelings. Imagine not knowing what the future ultimately holds. The worries and problems produced by living in this world would overwhelm us! 

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  Psalm 27:1

With the helmet securely fastened, we can have the same confidence that Apostle Paul had:

"the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us"  Romans 8:18 

We understand that it doesn't matter what happens to us now. No matter what trials we face, we know that at the end of it all waits God's Kingdom and an eternity of His perfect reign—and what could be better than that?


And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.  Luke 12:4-5


Apostle Paul speaks to the church at Ephesus about the "helmet of salvation" as part of the armor of God. What exactly does the Bible mean by salvation, and why is it portrayed as a helmet?

It's incredible to think that the absence or presence of a helmet can make so much of a difference that a skateboarding accident can prove fatal without one while being run over by a car can be survived with one. One of the pieces of our spiritual armor is the helmet of salvation, and, as we can see from these two incidents, a helmet is not a piece of equipment to be underestimated.

In the book of Isaiah, a description of God shows Him as having put on both the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation.

For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.
  (Isaiah 59:17). 

In referencing this Old Testament scripture, Apostle Paul drives home the point that it is in every sense of the word the armor of God—the same armor He Himself wears. But it also leads us to consider what salvation is, what it has to do with a helmet and what it means for us.

Apostle Paul's description of the armor of God mirrored the Roman soldiers attire.  What purpose did the helmet serve in the Roman army?  The Roman helmet, like helmets today, protected the head from the attacks of the enemy.

So how is the helmet linked to salvation?  Salvation basically means to be saved or delivered from something:


And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  Exodus 14:13 and 




For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.
Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.
 Micah 7:6-8 

In the New Testament, it is generally used to refer to deliverance from the eternal death penalty of sin and deliverance into God's Kingdom.


What is the penalty of our sins, and how can we be saved from that penalty?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  
Romans 6:23

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  
Romans 5:8-10

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  
John 3:16-17

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
 
1 Timothy 2:3-4

To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,  
Luke 1:77

Every human being has thought and acted in ways that are abominable to God. Our sins break God's beautiful living laws designed for our good. Sin is so vile to God that it requires the death penalty. God's justice requires that penalty. But God's loving mercy provided the most incredible substitute. Jesus Christ was willing to die in our place! To be saved, we need a Savior.  How do we get salvation?

Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
 
Acts 2:38

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
 
Ephesians 2:8-9


We can receive tremendous hope and comfort by focusing on the incredible sacrifice Christ gave to save us and the amazing Kingdom that is the goal of our salvation. This hope works like a helmet to protect our minds from the discouragement and despair in this world.

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. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11

Remember that salvation comes from God, and that God is on our side. If we commit to fully follow and obey Him, it is impossible for us to lose our battle or our salvation.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
Revelation 21:1-4

This is the salvation we are fighting for—to enter this glorious Kingdom! Never lose sight of this. This coming Kingdom, with its worldwide peace and prosperity, makes every price in this life worth paying. No matter what comes, no matter how vicious the attacks our enemy lands on us, we know that as long as we remain with God, we are moving slowly but unstoppable toward an eternal victory. What wouldn't we give for that?


For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Biblical Studies

05/17/16
06/19/17