THE HELMET OF SALVATION
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
Theologians have always debated one of the fundamental questions of salvation: can one lose salvation, or is it acquired once and for all? There are biblical arguments justifying both positions. The experiences of some Christians further intensify our questioning. When I was in Ivory Coast, we had a young evangelist in our group who was very zealous. Every week, he brought new converts to church. One day, he decided to go to the midst of prostitutes to evangelize and bring souls to Christ, which he did. However, gradually, his heart was turned, and he eventually settled with one of the prostitutes, leading a life of depravity. One day, the prostitute came to us, the friends of this young man, to inform us that our friend was seriously ill, lying at her place.
We went there to lead him to repentance and pray for his healing. When we arrived, it was too late because he died before our eyes as we tried to make him speak and lead him to repentance. Faced with this situation, many questions arose in our minds. Had our friend lost his salvation, he who was previously a zealous evangelist?
The apostle Paul exhorts us to take the helmet of salvation, knowing that a helmet protects the most important and sensitive part of the body, namely the head. The devil wants to kill us spiritually because, spiritually dead, we have no more connection with God, regardless of our diligence in church. To die spiritually is to lose the eternal life promised by Jesus to those who believe in him.
However, as mentioned above, there are biblical arguments showing that we cannot lose our salvation and others that indicate we can lose it.
- We cannot lose our salvation
In John 10:28-29, it is written:
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.“
Speaking of his sheep, those who believe in him, Jesus says that he gives them eternal life and assures that no one can take his sheep away from him. In other words, Jesus’ sheep will never lose eternal life. In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul writes:
“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.“
Paul suggests that what God has started, He will finish; He has the power to keep me in faith until my last day. Jude in verse 24 of his letter says:
“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy…“
From this passage, the idea emerges again that salvation is acquired forever, for God will keep us from stumbling and present us before his eternal glory. Despite these assurances of a definitive salvation, the question of what will happen to someone who can lose their salvation remains.
- It is possible to lose one’s salvation
Mark 13:13 warns:
“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.“
Jesus warns that whoever wants to follow him will be “hated.” But, he must persevere in faith until the end if he wants to be saved. In other words, the one who does not persevere until the end will not be saved, persevering meaning keeping faith in Christ. In Hebrews 10:26-29, it is written:
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?“
If someone has received the knowledge of the truth and willingly lives in sin, what awaits them is a terrible judgment and a devouring fire because they are considered a rebel. The one who considers the Blood of the Covenant as profane, thus trampling the Son of God underfoot, insulting the Spirit of grace, will have a punishment worse than one who violated the law of Moses.
Therefore, do not play with your salvation! Do not regress! In cities and villages in Burkina Faso, just like elsewhere, we meet people who once lived in faith in Christ but now spend their time in bars, visit fetish priests, or have become fetish priests after knowing the truth. They have not kept the faith. The apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7-8:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.“
The one who does not keep the faith, Satan will take away eternal life from him. Thus, after acquiring salvation through conversion to Christ, there is a battle to be fought to keep this salvation. That’s why the apostle Paul exhorts us to take the helmet of salvation, which protects us against the usurper. In 2 Timothy 4:10, the apostle Paul says:
“…Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.“
Demas was someone who followed Paul to help in the work of God. He probably assisted in evangelism, intercession, deliverance, etc. But he decided to abandon everything to live according to the world. He regressed. Nowhere in the Holy Scriptures is Demas mentioned again. It is unknown if he returned to Christ or not.
Have you worn the helmet of salvation?
Do you live in purification, fear of God, and rejection of the love of the world? Are you not like Demas? Do not play with your faith. Do not play with your salvation. If you lose it before the coming of Christ, it’s over for you. Satan wants to snatch it from you, so be vigilant.
I personally know four pastors who have become either El Hajj or fetish priests. If these people do not return to Christ before their death, they will have lost their salvation. Satan uses the strategy of small steps to snatch away the salvation you acquired. Gradually, you no longer go to church, you no longer read the Bible, and prayer becomes a burden that you gradually abandon, and finally, you return to your old life.
The salvation you acquired through your conversion is then lost. You can only have it again by returning to Christ. So, be the guardian of your own faith.
This text is an excerpt from the book “Spiritual Weapons ” written by Prophet Emmanuel SAWADOGO.