Because He Lives, I Can Face Tomorrow
Because He Lives, All Fear Is Gone
Because I Know He Holds the Future
Life Is Worth the Living Just Because He Lives
How can a Christian continue to believe in a good, righteous God even when terrible, unexplainable things happen?
How can we have hope for the future even when it seems that all hope is lost?
What challenges you to do the right thing, even when it would be so much easier to do what is wrong?
For the Christian, the answer to this question and so many more is always, “Because He Lives”.
Because God left Heaven and came to earth as a Man.
Because He lived for 33 years experiencing all of the same trials and temptations that we do each day.
Because He suffered and died on a cross paying the penalty for the sins of all mankind.
Because He rose again on the third day, declaring victory over sin, death, and the grave.
Because we have the hope of salvation, we can face whatever trials may come or whatever fiery darts the enemy may throw at us knowing, as sure as I am that I need oxygen to breath or that gravity will keep me from flying, that because of my salvation there is always hope for this life and beyond into eternity.
Because He lives, I have hope the hope of salvation. I have to be honest and say that I struggled with the concept of the helmet of salvation for quite some time before writing this article. I read various commentaries to try to understand it, yet none of them seemed to explain how this very vital piece of equipment could be practically applied in a Christian’s everyday life.
Obviously, I knew that the helmet had something to do with protecting the mind. Dr. Tony Evans says, “The main purpose of the helmet---in battle, sports, or work situations like construction sites---is to protect the brain from injury…The brain must be fiercely protected because once the brain becomes damaged, body function also becomes damaged….With the helmet, Paul once again used a physical example to illustrate a spiritual truth. He demonstrates that just as the brain is the control center for the rest of the body, the mind is the control center for the will and emotions. The mind must be protected with a helmet that’s able to absorb the shocks of being hit by the enemy and even knocked to the ground in the spiritual realm.” (105-106)
Being that Paul says that salvation protects our minds the way that a helmet protects the brain, the next question we need to ask ourselves is, “What is Salvation?”
In the original Greek, the word used for “salvation” (sōtērion) is the same word that is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 as “the hope of salvation”.
"But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
What’s interesting is that if we go back a few verses and read the entire context of 1 Thessalonians 5:8, we can see how this weapon can be practically applied to a Christian’s life.
1 Thessalonians 5:5-11, “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
In this passage, we see Paul challenging Christians by saying that the hope of salvation sets them apart from those who are unsaved and do not have this hope in their lives. He compares it to the difference between living in darkness and living in light. He says that because we have the hope of salvation enlightening our minds, we should live differently than the world.
For instance, at its core salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences brought about by faith in Christ. Before we accepted God’s gift of salvation, our lives were controlled and dominated by sin. We had no hope of ever breaking free from the cycles of devastating pain that this sin brought into our lives. After this life, the only thing we had to look forward to was suffering the penalty that our sins deserved in Hell for eternity.
But thanks to God and the gift of His Salvation, we now have hope! First, hope that we can be forgiven of all of the sins we’ve ever committed because of the price that Jesus paid at Calvary’s cross. Now, because of that forgiveness, we are no longer destined to an eternity of suffering and torment in Hell. The penalty of our sins no longer controls our eternal destiny. Instead, Jesus controls our eternal destiny and that provides us with hope.
Although this hope is not just a future hope---it’s a hope for today as well. Because of the victory Jesus won at the cross, we do not have to be controlled by our sins any longer here on earth. We are now free from the sin that once held us in captivity, making us its slaves and determining the course of our lives. Now as free people, we can make the choice not to sin, but rather, to live according to God’s Laws. As we do this, it will change not only our eternal destiny, but the path that we take in this life as well. As we live the Law of Reciprocity, we will not constantly be reaping the bad seeds of the sins we sowed, but we will begin reaping good, profitable results in our lives as we daily sow the seeds of following God’s Laws.
This is where we move from the theological to the practical aspect of this passage. It’s where we go from talking about the helmet of salvation and move toward understand how we can practically apply it to our lives and use it as mental protection.
How do we choose to “Take Up the Helmet of Salvation” as Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:17? Well, the first thing we need to understand is that we “take up” or “put on” the helmet of salvation by choosing to give Salvation and all that it means control and domination of our minds.
What does that mean?
Well, basically, it means that just as the helmet protects the brain by providing a barrier that prevents any dangerous element from passing through and damaging the brain, the knowledge and belief in our salvation and all of the benefits that it provides creates a barrier through which all of our thoughts, emotions, and actions must pass. When all of our thoughts, emotions, and actions must pass through the curtain of Salvation, it provides us with invaluable protection that will keep us from being spiritually controlled by any attacks of the enemy.
For example, we’ve already talked about the fact that salvation provides us with the forgiveness and deliverance from sin. Once we have asked Jesus into our hearts, we are forgiven. The technical term is “Justified” which means that God takes guilty sinners and declares them righteous because of what Jesus has done for them. Because of Christ, guilty sinners are acquitted.
Justification can be explained this way: When a person accepts Jesus as His Savior, God not only removes the stain of sin but He also replaces the stain with the righteous standard of Christ. Now when God looks at you, He doesn’t see someone who sinned, He see’s Jesus. He doesn’t just see someone who has been forgiven of his or her sins; He sees someone who has kept the full standard of righteousness.
Take a second and let that sink in. That’s pretty amazing stuff! Because of Christ’s death on the cross, no matter what I’ve done, when I ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins, God wipes the slate clean and sees me as one who’s never sinned. That’s incredible!
Knowing the awesomeness of this fact should create a response within the soul of a Christian. The response should be INTENSE GRATITUDE. The truth is that Justification is not something we deserve. It isn’t something you’re entitled to receive. In fact, quite the contrary, there’s absolutely no way you could ever earn a gift this tremendous. In light of this knowledge, every Christian should be so intensely grateful to God that they want to live every part of their lives for Jesus, giving themselves to Him 100% wholeheartedly.
This knowledge of what it means to be justified should cover our heads like a helmet. Every thought, every action, every emotion, and every behavior should have to pass through the filter of “Because I am justified by Christ, I will think or do….” If we truly applied this vital piece of equipment to our lives, then we would no longer be dabbling with the sin or doubts that leave us open to the spiritual attacks of the enemy. Instead, the knowledge of our salvation would protect us.
Another way that acting on the knowledge of what salvation provides can protect us is by realizing that Salvation provides us deliverance from sin. Because of the victory that Jesus won at the cross, Christians do not have to live their lives controlled by any demonic powers or strongholds, generational iniquities, or demonic oppressions from the sins we’ve committed. Instead, we can seek spiritual deliverance and renounce any control that these powers have on our lives. We can choose to say, “Because Jesus provided for my salvation and deliverance, I will not be controlled by any demonic influences that want to destroy me, my life or my family any longer. In Jesus’ name, I command you to leave my life and not return.”
To be honest, this is one of the biggest ways that I see Christians forfeiting the benefits of the work that Jesus did at Calvary. Too often, Christians become apathetic and tolerate sin and demonic control in their lives because, “That’s just the way I am….I’ve always been that way…My family’s always been that way….It’s just in our DNA and that’s how it’s going to be.” As they accept these generational patterns of demonic control in their lives, they are agreeing to be constantly defeated by the enemy because they have convinced themselves they have no other choice.
Well, I’m here to tell you today that you do have another choice. You can fight! You can stand up and say, “Because Jesus provided for my DELIVERANCE when He provided my SALVATION, I do not have to be controlled by these things any longer.” When you choose to actively pursue all avenues necessary to experience spiritual deliverance, you are choosing to put on the helmet of salvation and stop being controlled by thoughts of bondage and start being controlled by the knowledge of salvation and freedom.
Let’s look at another way that we can apply the Helmet of Salvation to our lives and use it as protection against the enemy’s attacks. Again, we’ve already talked about how salvation provides us with more than the forgiveness and deliverance from sins in this life, but salvation provides us with freedom from the punishment that our sins deserve in the life to come. Instead, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, if you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, you now have the hope of spending eternity in Heaven with Him. This hope and this knowledge should revolutionize all of your thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
For as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:19 & 32, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” And, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
This is how those who have no hope in Christ live---they do whatever they want whenever they want believing that they only have these few fleeting hours that each of us calls a lifetime.
However, those of us who have the knowledge of salvation should not live like this. Instead, every moment of our day should be seen through the eyes of eternity.
This is the hope that causes us to keep believing even when things are difficult---because we know that we don’t live only for this life, but we are living with all of eternity in view.
This is the perspective that challenges us to do the right thing even when it’s difficult or we’re being persecuted for it, because we know that we aren’t living just for this moment, but we are living for the reward of eternity.
This is why we choose to live pure lives as Christians and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. Because we know there is a real Heaven and a real Hell, we want to make sure that we are going to Heaven and that we take as many people with us as we possible.
You see, this is how the Helmet of Salvation acts as a piece of protective equipment. When the knowledge of our salvation becomes a constant mental filter, our perspective changes. When we make the choice that every thought, every attitude, every word, and every action must pass through the barrier of remembering that we are forgiven and delivered from our sins and that we have the hope of eternal life in Heaven, we cannot live as we did before. The purpose of our lives shifts from pleasing ourselves or other people toward focusing on pleasing God.
When the hope of our salvation is constantly in the forefront of our minds, we will be able to stand against any attack of doubt or fear or temptation that the enemy throws at us. Like the old song says we will be able to answer, “Because He Lives and provided my Salvation, I will not be defeated, but I will make the choice to ‘put on the helmet of salvation’ and overcome.”