"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17).
In the parallel passage in 1 Thessalonians v. 8, it is, “for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” So we have to understand it here, it is the hope of our salvation that is to be our helmet.
All these parts of the armour were of great importance to the Roman soldier; the girdle to bind, the breastplate to defend the vital parts, the boots to protect the feet, and enable them to march firmly, the shield to ward off blows; but although he had all these, there was yet wanting one thing—the iron helmet. Without it, how soon would his head, the most exposed and most tender part of his body, have been injured or hurt. Therefore, the Roman soldier was also protected in this part; his head was protected by the iron helmet.
Thus with the child of God; he has protection for his spiritually weak parts, and it is just this—the hope of salvation. While on earth, we go toiling amidst difficulties, and trials, and temptations. Often all things seem to be against us, and not only the world, but sometimes even the children of God turn their backs on us, and we are left alone, comparatively speaking. Yet, in the midst of it all, there is something unspeakably comforting in this, that makes the heart joyous. What is it? It is “the hope of salvation,” the joy of looking forward, and knowing that we shall be in heaven at last.
It is this that keeps us up. The way at times may be very dark, but then it is always a pilgrimage, which is day by day getting shorter as I get nearer home. The journey is over towards home—nearer, nearer home. It is this bright, blessed prospect of home, home, home—of complete deliverance from sin and temptation, through the blood of Christ Jesus, which strengtheneth us at such times.
To know that we shall be delivered from the old evil nature, to be brought into a state in which the will of God is carried out by us continually, that the mind of God shall be found in us, and that we shall be with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is now at the right hand of God, and shall be like Him—these are some of the bright, blessed prospects of the state to which we are going.
Therefore my beloved brethren and sisters, especially the younger ones, when temptation, trial, or difficulty come, and when all seems going against us here, remember that this is not our home, and that we must not expect to enjoy this present evil world. Then think of the Father’s house where there are many mansions, and the bright, blessed, and glorious prospect we have of that Father’s home, and you will find there is not a better lever to lift us above the world than just to contemplate heaven. Oh, make much of it! make much of it!
For fifty years I have know the Lord, and as grey hairs multiply, and as, little by little, I am nearer and nearer, the prospect becomes brighter and brighter; and during many years of sore conflict, trial, and affliction this has cheered are exceedingly: “I shall soon be home—soon be with my Lord.” Therefore make much of this hope, that, even as the helmet protected the Roman soldier, so the hope of salvation may protect you by the way.