“…and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17 (ESV)
The helmet (περικεφαλαία; perikephalaia) was a protective cap. Like today, a soldier’s helmet protects the head when fighting in battle.
A galea was a Roman soldier’s helmet. Some gladiators wore bronze galeae with face masks and decorations. The exact form or design of the helmet varied significantly over time, between differing unit types, and also between individual examples. Therefore, it is not certain to what degree there was any standardization of helmet design even under the Roman Empire.
As one commentator explains, “As the piece that protects the soldier’s head, the helmet is essential to keeping a soldier alive and conscious, thereby enabling him to continue in his mission.”
In today’s text, the Apostle Paul refers to the helmet of salvation. The believer in Christ must take to themselves this helmet. God commands us to do so.
Dr. R C. Sproul comments, “Again the Lord’s armor in Isaiah 59:17–19 lies in the background of this passage, for God Himself dons a helmet of salvation in that passage to fight against His enemies. This is an interesting image because the Lord certainly does not need to be saved from sin and death as we do. God’s donning of various armor pieces indicates who He is and what He intends to do.”
“The Lord put on His helmet of salvation in Isaiah’s day to show both the nation of Israel and the entire world that He is salvation itself and that redemption would be accomplished in line with His purposes. For us to put on the helmet of salvation, then, indicates more than our rescue from sin and death.”
It also means that we arm ourselves with the ability and desire to proclaim to the ends of the earth that salvation is from the Lord. Furthermore, it demonstrates that we will work to accomplish His purposes for the church, the first fruits of God’s redemption, in line with the instructions of the Lord. All of these points, of course, are outlined in Ephesians (Eph. 2; 4:17–32; 5:1–6:9).”
A nation’s soldier dons their helmet in order to protect themselves in battle. Believers in Christ must don their helmet of salvation in order to protect themselves while in the midst of the spiritual warfare they encounter. Make sure you have your helmet on today.
Soli deo Gloria!