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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Christian’s helmet – looking ahead (6:17)

We noted two days ago that the Christian soldier needs to look back (a good memory), to look up (a right attitude), and to look ahead (clear-sighted about the future). Since then, we have thought of looking back and looking up. Today we will focus on looking ahead. What does that mean?

If the first aspect of salvation is deliverance from the penalty of sin and the second aspect is deliverance from the power of sin, then the third aspect, which is the future one, is deliverance from the presence of sin. Paul refers to this aspect when he elsewhere mentions the helmet of salvation: ‘But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation’ (1 Thess. 5:8).

The hope mentioned there by Paul does not mean an uncertain wish. In biblical usage, the word means confident expectancy. As he is under attack, the Christian soldier reminds himself of the many promises of full salvation that will be fulfilled at the second coming of Jesus. He reminds himself that although he is under attack, this does not mean he is on the losing side. Even if he is wounded in the warfare, it will not be a fatal blow. Rather he can say to the devil, ‘Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me’ (Mic. 7:8). He has the promise of Romans 16:20: ‘The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.’

There are many promises of this future deliverance. Here are some of them. James 1:12 (KJV): Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.’

2 Timothy 4:8: ‘Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.’

Philippians 3:20-21: ‘But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.’

1 Corinthians 15:54-55:  ‘When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” ’

What a victory parade there is going to yet be in heaven as the soldiers of Christ will march towards their General’s throne to receive from him the grand assessment, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’ Let us keep our eye on this future glorious occasion as we see the fiery arrows of the evil one coming towards us in the present.

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