Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (April 17, 2023)

As we continue looking at the spiritual armor provided for us in Ephesians 6, we come today to the “helmet of salvation.” The purpose of this helmet is to protect the head, which houses the mind – which MUST mean it has something to do with our understanding and how we think!

There was a lady named Florence Chadwick, who was a long-distance swimmer born in 1913. In her lifetime, she swam the English Channel twice, as well as other great lengths of ocean. In 1952, she attempted to win the twenty-one miles between the coast of California and the Catalina Islands. On the day she began to swim, the fog was so dense she could not even see the supporting boats that traveled along with her. After 15 hours and 55 minutes in the water, Florence gave up even though her supporters encouraged her to go on. She came out of th water into the boats, but then quickly discovered that she had only been a half a mile from the shore! After she discovered her mistake, she said, “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” You see, the problem for Florence Chadwick was NOT that she lacked the ability to continue, but that she lost hope in the fog!

Do we sometimes feel like Florence Chadwick? Do we sometimes get lost in the fog of this sin-cursed world? Do we sometimes despair of ever reaching that heavenly shore? Do we sometimes wonder if the Lord is EVER coming back? That’s why we need a helmet of salvation! We need something to help us think clearly in the fog of the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged.

The helmet of salvation is provided to us to protect us from losing hope in this life. It truly is a “helmet of hope”! In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul sheds more light on this item of armor: “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” This hope gives us assurance in an uncertain world, and points us to the imminent return of the Lord as its focus!

Notice that this hope is NOT self-centered confidence. Most preaching about “hope” in the religious world focuses upon some action YOU have performed, some decision YOU have made. This is not the kind of hope that helps me at all! True gospel hope is not based upon some decision we have made or some experience we have had here in this life. It is not based upon what we know, or what we’ve done, or how we persevered; rather, true hope is based upon the promises of the word of God – i.e., the finished work of Christ!

I realize that some Primitive Baptists in the past have gotten off-track in a different way when talking about “hope”. The idea that “all we have is a little hope” prevailed in some churches, i.e., the teaching that our hope is some fleeting, wispy wish rather than an anchor of our souls. Elder Sonny Pyles, a giant among our ministers, once said that if a man doesn’t have SOME idea that he is one of God’s children, he has no business getting up in the pulpit! True gospel hope is more sure and steadfast than that! It is not some “wish” or “fantasy;” true gospel hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of our souls (Heb. 6:19)! Job very succinctly summarized this hope: “I know that my redeemer liveth”! Job 19:25. Was his “knowledge” based upon some action or decision on his part? NO! It was based upon the sure and steadfast knowledge of the promises of God.

Job’s “knowledge” was based upon “hope”! And his “hope” was based upon knowledge: knowledge NOT of what he himself had done, but knowledge of the promises of God in Christ! It was based upon Bible assurances that God would redeem His people. Beloved, our hope is based upon what the Bible tells us that Jesus has done to save His people from their sins. It is based upon the knowledge of the finished work of Christ. It is based upon the promise we have in Him, not in the works we have done ourselves.

Yes, my friends, the helmet of hope points us to a confident expectation, not a fanciful wish. It gives us a Christ-centered biblical assurance in the One Who fully accomplished our salvation! The writer of Hebrews calls it a “better hope” (Heb. 7:19), and indeed it is a much better hope than anything you find in the world! Ultimately, it is the hope that, even though the fog of spiritual warfare may blind us from time to time, the heavenly shore is near! This hope points us to the Second Coming of Christ and the bodily Resurrection, which will bring an end to all our battles and deliver us into the heavenly presence of God Himself. Friends, can there be any greater hope than this?

Don’t get lost in the fog, my friends! The shoreline is near! The Lord’s return is imminent! Keep on keeping on, with the helmet of salvation strapped firmly in place! If we cast aside the helmet of salvation, we won’t have the confidence we need to perform well in the battle. A confident warrior is a powerful warrior, but a fearful warrior is a useless warrior; the more hope we have the better soldiers we will be!

With this helmet of hope, we will not give up when we are only half a mile from shore!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor