1 Thessalonians 5:8 Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: hemeis de hemeras ontes (PAPMPN) nephomen, (1PPAS) endusamenoi (AMPMPN) thoraka pisteos kai agapes kai perikephalaian elpida soterias

Amplified: But we belong to the day; therefore, let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corslet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

NLT: But let us who live in the light think clearly, protected by the body armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: but we men of the daylight should be alert, with faith and love as our breastplate and the hope of our salvation as our helmet. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: But as for us who are of the day, let us be mentally and spiritually well-balanced and self-controlled, having clothed ourselves with a breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet, a hope of salvation,


Young's Literal: and we, being of the day -- let us be sober, putting on a breastplate of faith and love, and an helmet -- a hope of salvation,

1 Thessalonians

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5



Personal Reflections

Practical Instructions

in Absentia

(Thru Timothy)
Word and Power
of the Spirit
Establishing &
Calling & Conduct 4:13ff
Exemplary Hope of Young Converts Motivating Hope of Faithful Servants Purifying Hope of Tried Believers Comforting Hope of Bereaved Saints Invigorating Hope of Diligent Christians

Written from Corinth
Approximately 51AD

Modified from the excellent book Jensen's Survey of the NT

BUT SINCE WE ARE OF THE DAY LET US BE SOBER: hemeis de hemeras ontes (PAPMPN) nephomen: (1Th 5:5; Romans 13:13; Ephesians 5:8,9; 1 Peter 2:9; 1John 1:7)

But - Paul again introduces a contrast between those who engage in activities characteristic of the night ("sleep...get drunk" - 1Th 5:7-note, cp "night life" in Ro 13:13-note) and believers who belong to the day.

For example Paul has a similar exhortation to the Romans in view of the shortness of time, especially the brevity of our lives in light of eternity...

And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But (in stark contrast to the aforementioned wicked behavior of "night people") put on (aorist imperative - do this now! Don't delay!) the Lord Jesus Christ (Abide in Him - 1Jn 2:6, walk by the power of [Php 2:13NLT] His Spirit - Ga 5:16-note, etc), and make (present imperative = stop an attitude or activity already in progress!) no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (See notes Romans 13:11; 13:12; 13:13; 13:14)

Of the day - our identity which takes us back to 1Th 5:5, sons of light and sons of day...not of night nor of darkness.

Spurgeon comments that when soldiers...

sleep they put off their armor; but in the day when they are awake and on their guard they wear their armor, and are ready for the fray. See how much is involved in Christian wakefulness. God help us to carry out every virtue to its legitimate consequences,-not to be wakeful after a fashion, but wakeful after God’s fashion.

Because our true nature is that of a day person, Paul exhorts us to continually be sober and not allow ourselves to become "drunk" so to speak when it comes to spiritual truth. Believers are to live in the light of Christ, not the darkness ruled by Satan.

Let us be sober - Live experientially (like Christ) in conformity with who you are positionally (in Christ). Paul gives a similar positional-experiential charge in Ephesians reminding the Gentile believers...

you were formerly darkness (Note: Not just "in" darkness, but were the essence of darkness!), but now you are Light in (the sphere of) the Lord; walk (not a suggestion but a command based on the empowering truth of the fact that believers are now in Christ and His enabling Spirit is now in them - Ro 8:9-note) as children of Light (when we sin [moral/ethical darkness] we are living like night people, whose only haunt is moral/ethical darkness.) (and then Paul gives an overview of what the life of day people looks like writing that) the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth (Ep 5:8-note, Ep 5:9-note)

Let us be Sober (3525) (nepho) (Click discussion of sober in previous verse) in the physical sense literally referred to either complete abstinence or in a relative sense to temperance (drinking but not to the point of intoxication). Don't misunderstand what Paul is saying here -- he is not saying you need to walk around with a sad, gloomy countenance. The idea of sober in this context includes spiritual stability, stability we need in Christ, in the Spirit, to withstand the onslaught of the darkness. As the return of Christ draws nigh, and the temptations of the darkness intensify, it is absolutely crucial for believers to have a cool, collected, mind of Christ attitude toward temptation.

The NT uses nepho only in the figurative sense meaning to be free from every form of mental and spiritual "intoxication". The idea is to be calm and collected in spirit, circumspect, self-controlled, well-balanced, clear headed. Be self-possessed ("Spirit" possessed) under all circumstances. Nepho speaks of exercising self-restraint (enabled by the Spirit) and being free from excess, from evil passion, from rashness, etc. Without sobriety true vigilance is impossible.

And so Paul is calling believers to continually (present tense) live soberly and in this state we are more alert and watchful and less likely of being enticed by the deeds of darkness. Night people can only do night deeds and cannot do the deeds of the day. However sons of light and sons of day can do the deeds of the night, tracking back to their old patterns of conduct. To be sure, as sons of day we have the power to commit sins, but we can still commit acts of darkness unless we remain sober. What is even more tragic is that when believers commit sins, they do so in the light of God's revealed truth, regarding our dethroned sinful nature. Paul calls for our behavior to be consistent with our new nature.

The sober-minded believer knows the future is secure because he knows the One Who holds the future in His, and is enabled to live calmly and obediently. On the other hand, if a Christian falls into patterns of sinfulness, he loses assurance, loses confidence, loses hope and may fear that he will get caught in the Day of the Lord.

Warren Wiersbe phrases it this way...

Outlook determines outcome; and when your outlook is the uplook, then your outcome is secure.

Denney writes that...

Wakefulness and sobriety do not exhaust the demands made upon the Christian. He is also to be on his guard. “Put on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” While waiting for the Lord’s coming, the Christian waits in a hostile world. He is exposed to assault from spiritual enemies who aim at nothing less than his life, and he needs to be protected against them. In the very beginning of this letter we came upon the three Christian graces; the Thessalonians were commended for their work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. There they were represented as active powers in the Christian life, each manifesting its presence by some appropriate work, or some notable fruit of character; here they constitute a defensive armour by which the Christian is shielded against any mortal assault. We cannot press the figure further than this. If we keep our faith in Jesus Christ, if we love one another, if our hearts are set with confident hope on that salvation which is to be brought to us at Christ’s appearing, we need fear no evil; no foe can touch our life.

It is remarkable, I think, that both here and in the famous passage in Ephesians, as well as in the original of both in Isaiah 59:17, salvation, or, to be more precise, the hope of salvation, is made the helmet. The Apostle is very free in his comparisons; faith is now a shield, and now a breastplate; the breastplate in one passage is faith and love, and in another righteousness; but the helmet is always the same. Without hope, he would say to us, no man can hold up his head in the battle; and the Christian hope is always Christ’s second coming. If He is not to come again, the very word hope may be blotted out of the New Testament. This assured grasp on the coming salvation — a salvation ready to be revealed in the last times — is what gives the spirit of victory to the Christian even in the darkest hour. (Expositor's Commentary)

HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF FAITH and LOVE: endusamenoi (AMPMPN) thoraka pisteos kai agapes kai perikephalaian elpida soterias: (Isaiah 59:17; Romans 13:12; 2Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:11,13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18) (Job 19:23, 24, 25, 26, 27; Psalms 42:5,11; 43:5; Lam 3:26; Ro 5:2, 3, 4, 5; 8:24,25; 1Co 13:13; Ga 5:5; 2Th 2:16; He 6:19; 10:35,36; 1Pe 1:3, 4, 5,13; 1Jn 3:1, 2, 3)

For Paul's use of the metaphor of a soldier, his armor and his warfare as a picture of the believer's spiritual life see the related notes on Ro 13:12-note; Ep 6:10-note; 2Ti 2:3, 4-note; 2Ti 4:7-note

Having put on the breastplate - well equipped soldiers had two essential pieces of equipment, one to preserve the vital organs and the other to preserve the head. The modern-day equivalent is the bulletproof vest. The emphasis in this picture is on the protection of a believer and therefore Paul does not mention a sword.

Having put on (1746) (enduo from en = in + dúo = to sink, go in or under, to put on) means literally to clothe or dress someone and to put on as a garment, to cause to get into a garment (eg, Lk 15:22 where the father says "quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him...").

Aorist tense indicates this putting on is a past completed action and includes the idea that this action was decisive. When did the Thessalonians put on the breastplate? This transpired the moment they confessed Christ as Lord and Savior (Ro 10:9, 10-note) and were by grace through faith born again (Jn 3:3, Titus 3:5-note) as new creations in Christ (2Co 5:17) at which time they were delivered from the domain of darkness ruled by Satan (Ac 26:18, 1Jn 5:19) and transferred into the Kingdom of God's dear Son (Col 1:13-note)

In the middle voice (as in Paul's description of the new man/self in Col 3:10-note;cp Ep 4:24-note) it means to clothe oneself with something, in this case the clothes worn by the "new man" who is clothed in the robe of Christ's righteousness (1Co 1:30, Is 45:24, 25, 2Co 5:21, Php 3:9-note), which includes the breastplate of faith and love. Don't pass over this truth -- because the truth is that it is your responsibility to now live out the fact that you have put on this breastplate. Every believer has put on the breastplate of faith and love "positionally" at the moment of salvation, but now in the process of daily (even moment by moment) sanctification (growth in holiness or Christ-likeness) believers have the privileged obligation to live out experientially what is true positionally. And we can do this because God has provided everything necessary for life and godliness according to a true knowledge (see epignosis) of Him Who called us, but we have to avail ourselves of this true knowledge (2Pe 1:3-note), working it from our head (head knowledge) and into our heart (heart transformation). God's desire for us as day people is not to be "smarter sinners" but to be becoming more like the Savior.

Enduo - 27x in 25v in the NAS - Mt 6:25; 22:11; 27:31; Mk. 1:6; 6:9; 15:20; Lk. 8:27; 12:22; 15:22; 24:49; Acts 12:21; Ro 13:12, 14; 1Co. 15:53, 54; Ga 3:27; Ep 4:24; 6:11, 14; Col 3:10, 12; 1Th 5:8; Re 1:13; 15:6; 19:14 and is rendered clothed(6), dressed(1), enter(1), put on(21).

Hiebert writes that...

The believer is not only a watchman but also a warrior. He must not only be alert and self-possessed but also equipped to resist the onslaught of the enemy. While awaiting the return of his Lord, the believer must be on his guard, for he waits in a hostile world. (Hiebert, D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)

Luke uses enduo figuratively describing clothing with spiritual power...

And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed (enduo) with power from on high." (Luke 24:49, cp Acts 1:8)

Comment: Here the indirect middle conveys the sense "put on yourselves power from on high as a garment". They were to wait until this experience came to them. The “the promise of the Father” refers to the Spirit (Ac 2:33, Who came first at Pentecost and now comes to indwell every believer at salvation - cp 1Co 12:13, 3:16, 6:19, Ro 8:9-note) Enduo used in this figurative in classical Greek by Aristophanes who writes "clothed with audacity"; Homer, "clothed with strength"; Plutarch, "clothed with nobility and wealth".

Vine writes that

At conversion the believer is said to have “put on the new man,” Ep 4:24; Col 3:10, cp. Gal 3:27; and “therefore,” he is exhorted to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, … and love,” Col 3:12, 14. Such is to be the ordinary apparel of the Christian, in this character he is to appear daily in the world. The believer, however, is “enrolled—as a soldier,” 2Ti 2:4, and as such has suitable armor provided for him, and with this he is exhorted to clothe himself Ro 13:12; Ep 6:11, and here. The whole is summed up in Ro 13:14, for the man who “puts on the Lord Jesus Christ” stands both in the Christian’s dress and in the Christian’s panoply. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

Breastplate (2382) (thorax [word study]) describes either the chest area or part of the body covered by the breastplate or the protective covering of this area as utilized in combat. The breastplate was a piece of armor that covered the soldier's body from neck to waist and protected his heart, the very center of his life and the spring of his vital forces.

Polybius tells us that the breastplate was known as a heart-protector. Usually it was made of bronze but the more affluent officers wore a coat of chain mail. The front piece was strictly the breastplate, but a back piece was commonly worn as well.

Isaiah foretold of the Messiah wearing a breastplate of righteousness, recording (in the context of a tragic description of sins by Israel) that...

He (Messiah) put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. 18 According to their deeds, so He will repay, wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies (at His Second Coming in Re 19:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20-note). To the coastlands He will make recompense (2Th 1:6, 7, 8, 9, 10). 19 So they will fear the name of the LORD from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun, for He will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. (Isaiah 59:17, 18, 19)

Comment: This prophecy is a picture of Messiah's second advent (see Second Coming), at the end of the Great Tribulation, to save those who will be saved {Ro 11:26, 27-note, cp Zech 12:9, 10, 13:8, 9) and to judge those who rejected His salvation {see Mt 25:31 of the judgment of Gentiles who will enter the Millennial Kingdom and Ezek 20:33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 for the corresponding judgment of the Jews to determine who will enter the Messianic Kingdom - upshot = ONLY saved Jews [= the remnant] and Gentiles will enter into the Kingdom from the Tribulation}. Had our Substitute not been fully, perfectly righteous (He 7:26-note), we could never have attained God's required righteousness (Mt 5:20-note, Php 3:8-note, Php 3:9-note). Instead Paul explains that believers have nothing to boast it for by God's "doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption" 1Cor 1:30.


Paul frequently uses military metaphors when describing the Christian life and thus refers to the believer as a soldier (1Co 9:7; Php 2:25; 2Ti 2:3, 4; Philemon 2) and describes his armor (1Th 5:8, Ro 13:12; 2Co 6:7; Eph 6:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17), his weapons (2Co 10:4; Ep 6:17; cp. 1Pe 4:1), his warfare (1Ti 1:18), his order in the ranks (1Co 14:40; Col 2:5), a shout like a military order (1Th 4:16), and the members of a believer’s body as God’s weapons (instruments) (Ro 6:13)

Faith and love - Faith is the attitude the believer should have toward the Lord and love is the proper attitude he or she should express toward the saints.

Faith (4102) (pistis [word study]) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in context speaks of the conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things well as the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. As faith relates to Christ it represents a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way.

Faith is an essential protection against temptations to doubt God's promise that they would not experience the Day of the Lord's wrath. Faith in God's promise is tantamount to putting on a breastplate to cover one's vital organs, especially our heart (cp Ep 6:16-note).

And what is ultimate manifestation of faith that protects like a breastplate? It is obedience. When I obey what God has commanded and instructed, for example, putting to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within my physical body (Col 3:5NLT-note), I am showing that I believe God by my choice to mortify (Col 3:5KJV) my members and this Spirit motivated and enabled obedience (Php 2:13NLT) functions like a "breastplate" to deflect doubt concerning the certainty of God's promise that He "has not destined us for wrath".

Richison explains that faith...

protects the affections or heart. Unbelief strikes hardest at the heart, so Paul mentions it first. The downfall of those without Christ is that they “believed not the truth” (2Th 2:12). If we live by faith (2Co 5:7, cp Col 2:6-note), this will keep us sober — spiritually stable in spiritual war. Faith will enable us to stand against those who would undermine what we believe (cp Ro 10:17-note). A heart full of love (Ro 5:5-note) will arm us against broken relationships. It will stabilize relationships and promote accountability, thus reducing the chances that people will steer into apostasy (Col 1:23NLT-note). (Reference)

Love (26)(agape [word study]) refers to unconditional, sacrificial love that God is (1Jn 4:8,16) and that God demonstrates (Jn 3:16, 1Jn 4:9, Ro 5:8-note). Agape love is the love of choice. It is a Christ-like love manifest by selflessly serving others with humility (Php 2:5-note, Php 2:8-note). It is not motivated by the recipient's superficial appearance, by an emotional attraction, by one's sentiments. Agape chooses as an act of self-sacrifice to serve the recipient. See Paul's definition of this Christ-like love - (1Co 13:4, 5, 6, 7-note).

Richison explains that...

A heart full of love will arm us against broken relationships. It will stabilize relationships and promote accountability, thus reducing the chances that people will steer into apostasy.(Reference)

From all of the descriptions of agape love, it is clear that true agape love is a sure mark of salvation as John explains in his first epistle explaining that...

By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice (present tense - as a habit or as a lifestyle) righteousness is (absolutely, definitively) not of God, nor the one who does not love (present tense - as a habit or as a lifestyle) his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another (John now illustrates absence of love) not as Cain, who was of the evil one (Cain was an unbeliever and his spiritual father was Satan, John 8:44), and slew his brother (Abel, see He 11:4-note). And for what reason did he slay him? Because his (Cain's) deeds were evil, and his brother's (Abel's) were righteous. Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, (in other words, we know that we are genuinely born again) because we love (present tense - as a habit or as their lifestyle) the brethren. He who does not love (present tense - as a habit or as their lifestyle) abides (present tense - continually) in death (i.e., spiritual death = an unbeliever) Everyone who hates (the opposite of love - see Jesus' words on anger - Mt 5:21, 22-notes notes) his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1John 3:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)

And so clearly when we demonstrate love in a sacrificial manner, not just with words but deeds (such as providing for the needs of our brethren) and by obeying God's commands (cp 1John 5:2-3 "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome." cp Jesus' words - "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." Jn 14:15), we are in effect "putting on" the breastplate of love in a practical, experiential sense. This love functions as a shield to give us assurance, John explaining that...

We shall know by this (by our demonstration of love) that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him, in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. (1John 3:19, 20, 21, 22)

Believers can fall into the trap of following the world’s demand that a lover feel positive toward the beloved. This is not agape love, but is a love based on impulse. Impulsive love characterizes the spouse who announces to the other spouse that they are planning to divorce their mate. Why? They reason “I can’t help it. I fell in love with another person!” Christians must understand that this type of impulsive love is completely contrary to God’s decisive love, which is decisive because He is in control and has a purpose in mind. There are many reasons a proper understanding of the truth of God's word (and of the world's lie) is critical and one of the foremost is Jesus' declaration that

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love (agape) for one another." (John 13:35).

Hiebert writes...

The breastplate is pictured as being double or having two sides. Faith denotes the proper inner attitude of the believer toward Christ as his Redeemer and Lord, while love is the proper outward expression of the Christian life toward the saints. Constable remarks, "Faith in God protects inwardly and love for people protects outwardly. These two graces cannot be separated; if one believes in God, he will also love other people (cf. 1Thes. 1:3; 3:5)." (Ibid)

Puritan Thomas Watson writes (sermon) says hat a Christian's life is military...

In respect to COMBAT. 1Timothy 6:12: "Fight the good fight of faith." In order to fight, a Christian must get his armor and weapons ready.

He must get his ARMOR ready. The care of most is to get riches, not armor. There are two things absolutely needful—food and armor. It is necessary to get Christ for our food—and grace for our armor—without which there is no abiding the day of trial. A soldier who wears his prince's colors but has no armor, will soon flee the field. If you wear Christ's colors but have not the armor of God upon you, you will turn your backs in the day of battle. There are two chief pieces of the spiritual armor.

First, the HELMET is divine hope. 1Thessalonians 5:8: "For a helmet—the hope of salvation." A helmet is to defend the head so that it is not hurt. So the hope of salvation as a helmet defends a person and makes him lift up his head in the greatest dangers. Christians, be sure you get the right helmet, because the helmet of hope may be counterfeited.

The first deceit of the helmet, or a false hope—is DEAD hope. Hypocrites have a faint wish for heaven. They hope for heaven—but exert no activity in working out salvation. True hope is a "lively hope" (1Peter 1:3-note). True hope of glory sets the affectations on fire, and adds wings to the endeavor.

A false hope is an UNCLEAN hope. A man hopes—but continues in his sins. It is vain to speak of hopes of salvation—and have the marks of damnation. True hope is a helmet made of pure metal. 1John 3:3: "He who has this hope purifies himself."

A false hope is VANISHING. It is not a helmet—but a spider's web. The least terror of conscience makes it vanish. But a true hope is permanent. Pr 14:32: "The righteous has hope in his death." In a dying hour—his hope is in a living God.

Quintian the persecutor commanded one of his men to cut off the breasts of Agatha, a martyr. "Do your worst, tyrant," said the martyr, "yet I have two breasts which you cannot touch. The one is of faith, the other of hope." Oh, get the right helmet! The devil laughs at hypocrites who are deceived with false armor. A fool is content with a paper helmet.

The second piece of the spiritual armor is the BREASTPLATE, which is love. "Putting on the breastplate of love" (1Thessalonians 5:8). This breastplate is inseparable; it may be shot at—but it cannot be shot through, Song 8:7. A soul armed with love will go through a sea and a wilderness and will die in God's service.

AND THE HELMET OF SALVATION: kai perikephalaian elpida soterias:

Helmet (4030) (perikephalaia from peri = around + kephale = head) means literally around the head or encirclement of the head and thus a helmet.

A Roman soldier who had lost his helmet was in danger of receiving severe head wounds which would (at the very least) disorient him and render him ineffective and in danger of further injury. Similarly, a Christian who has no assurance of salvation (or has "lost his hope") cannot be bold in resisting Satan.

Roman military helmets were of two types: the galea (made of leather) or the cassis (metal). The helmet had a band to protect the forehead and plates for the cheeks, and extended down in back to protect the neck. When the helmet was strapped in place, it exposed little besides the eyes, nose, and mouth. The metal helmets, due to their weight, were lined with sponge or felt. Virtually the only weapons which could penetrate a metal helmet were hammers or axes. No soldier’s uniform was complete without a proper helmet. A helmet, being hot and uncomfortable, would be put on by a soldier only when he faced impending danger.

A Roman soldier would be foolish to enter a battle without his helmet. He knew that the helmet would protect his head from arrows, but that it's primary function was to ward off blows from the enemy's broadsword (not the small dagger, the machaira, mentioned in Ep 6:17 - note) but the broadsword, which was from three to four-feet long with a massive handle that was held with both hands like a baseball bat. The soldier lifted it over his head and brought it down on his opponent’s head. The broadsword was a vicious weapon that could deal a crushing blow to the skull. The helmet on one's head was the only way to deflect it. An archaeological dig discovered a skeleton with a cleavage right through the skull. Although it is only conjecture, it is quite likely that this fatal would was made by someone who attacked the person with a broadsword. Beloved, please do not leave home today without putting on the helmet of salvation. In fact, don't ever take it off. Not even when you go to sleep (it's a good thing we are speaking in spiritual terms!).

John MacArthur illustrates how the enemy attacks the believer's mind writing that...

Satan’s "broadsword" has two sides to it: discouragement and doubt. Satan wants to belt you in the head with discouragement and doubt. His attacks of discouragement might go like this:

You sure are giving a lot and not getting much in return. You’re circumscribing your life to a certain standard and setting yourself apart from the world. But what happens? You just lost your job! Some blessing! You’ve been reading your Bible every day, but your wife is as cranky as she was before you bought it, and it hasn’t had any effect on her. What is God doing in your life? You’ve been going to church for years, but look at your kids. They don’t respect you today anymore than they ever did.

That would discourage anyone. You might have been teaching a class for a long time, yet wonder if anyone is getting anything out of it. That could discourage you. Satan also wants to hit you in the head with doubt:

How do you know you’re a Christian? Are you sure you’re saved? You certainly don’t deserve to be; look what you just did! Do you think that’s what a Christian does?

Many people suffer from doubt and discouragement, but the helmet of salvation is our protection. (MacArthur, J.. The Believer's Armor. Chicago: Moody Press 1986)

Vincent observes that in this discussion of the Day of the Lord...

only defensive armour is mentioned, in accordance with the darkness and uncertainty of the last time; and that the fundamental elements of Christian character, faith, hope, and love, are brought forward again as in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (note); 1 Cor. 13:13. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Thomas Watson (The Sacred Anchor) writes...

Hope makes us endure: therefore, it is compared to an anchor which holds the ship in a storm (cp He 6:19, 20-note), and to a helmet, 1Th 5:8. The helmet keeps off the blow of the sword or arrow from entering. So hope is a helmet keeps off the stroke from a Christian so that it shall not hurt or dismay him. In time of public calamities, hope keeps the soul from sinking.

Hope of salvation - Refers to “the hope that salvation gives to us.” The hope that is directed toward salvation. Ultimately this hope culminates in the return of our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, to Rapture His Bride, the church, out of evil age (1Th 4:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18-see notes 1Th 4:13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18), rescuing us from the terrible, righteous wrath of God that is coming upon the whole world. (1Th 1:10-note, Re 3:10-note;Titus 2:11, 12, 13, 14-notes Ti2:11; 12; 13; 14).

It is that hope (certainty) that is particularly focused on the believer's future deliverance, especially our snatching away. (see Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming). As such this hope is the absolute antithesis of the wrath described 1Th 5:9.

Hiebert writes that...

It is this hope of the future consummation of our salvation that "lifts up the head toward heaven, and wards off all the power of the blows inflicted by Satan and this world." While we believers already know the blessed experience of salvation from the bondage of sin, we are eagerly awaiting the coming consummation of our salvation with the return of the Savior who will climax our salvation with the glorification of our bodies (Ro 8:23-note; Php 3:21-note). This blessed hope must inspire present purification of life (1Jn 3:2, 3). It also encourages the believer to resist the enervating influences of the present evil age. It makes the dangers and trials of this earthly life seem light and endurable (Ro 8:18-note cp 2Co 4:16, 17, 18). (Hiebert, D. E. First and Second Thessalonians)

Hope (1680) (elpis [word study]) is confident expectancy, a looking forward to something with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment or an absolute assurance that God will do good to me in the future. Hope is a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it.

Hope in Scripture (with rare exceptions as Acts 27:20) is not the world's definition of "I hope so". In contrast, Biblical hope is the absolute certainty of future good. Believers are to be continually, actively, expectantly "looking (prosdechomai [word study]) for the blessed hope [cp 1Ti 1:1 - Hope = a Person!] and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." (Titus 2:13-note)

Vine has an interesting thought on the believer's hope observing that...

Until the Lord comes the believer will be surrounded by the enervating influences of a world bent on ease and pleasure, hence (in Paul's exhortation) his eye is directed to the future in order to encourage him to resist the spirit of the age in which he lives (cp Ga 1:4 "present evil age"). (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

Peter says that believers have a "lively hope" (KJV) writing...

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living (present tense = continuously alive) hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1Pe 1:3-note)

Biblical hope is not "finger crossing", but is a continuously alive and sure hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Life without Christ is a hopeless end but life in Christ is an endless hope and this truth is like a helmet with which we can gird our mind for action, as Peter exhorts the suffering saints in his first epistle

Therefore, gird (the loins of) your minds for action, keep sober (present tense = continually) in spirit, fix your hope (aorist imperative = this is imperative - do it now and do it effectively) completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1Pe 1:13-note)

A living hope should motivate a "looking" hope, motivating us to be waiting eagerly and longingly for Christ's return at any time (imminency = no prophetic events need to be fulfilled for Christ to return).

We need more men like G Campbell Morgan who said...

I never begin my work in the morning without thinking that perhaps he may interrupt my work and begin his own. I am not looking for death, I am looking for him.

Click in depth study of Biblical hope summarizing the definition, source, stabilizing effect and sanctifying effect of hope)

Here in 1Thessalonians 5:8 Paul says our hope is to function like a helmet to protect our mind, from doubts about whether we are saved or whether we might experience the Day of the Lord. Paul goes on to explain that this hope is certain and sure

for God has not destined us for wrath (the Day of the Lord in the present context) but (here is the striking contrast) for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (here referring to "future tense salvation" or glorification when believers are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. - see related topic Three Tenses of Salvation) (1Th 5:9-note)

This hope speaks especially of the return of Christ for as Paul wrote to Titus we are to be...

looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13-note)

And so this helmet, the hope of salvation fends off some of Satan’s most fierce and powerful blows directed at the believer’s eternal security. Therefore Paul encourages believers to have confidence in the salvation they already possess. Paul knew that doubting their security in Christ would render them ineffective in spiritual warfare, just as a blow to the soldier's head would render his physical body incapable of defending itself. Discouragement and doubt are deflected when you know you’re secure in Christ.

The Church’s One Foundation
Samuel Stone

Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation of peace for evermore;
Till, with the vision glorious, her longing eyes are blest,
And the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.

Salvation (4992) (soterios/soterion [word study] from soter = savior) is an adjective which refers to that which is pertains to the means of salvation = bringing salvation, delivering, rescuing. Soterios describes the act of delivering or saving from great danger or peril but also includes the ideas of healing, protecting and preserving.

Obviously salvation is the present possession of all true Christians, but what Paul is describing is our future tense salvation (see Three Tenses of Salvation) when we are gloried. At this time we will fully experience our salvation from the penalty, the power, the presence and even the pleasure of sin. This is what Paul is referring to in Romans 8 when he writes that...

we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body (speaking of our future glorification). (Ro 8:23-note)

John also alludes to this future hope as a motivating (purifying) hope to keep on keeping on...

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1John 3:2, 3)

Warren Wiersbe feels that the helmet of salvation refers to ...

the hope the believer has in the return of Jesus Christ. Satan often uses discouragement and hopelessness as weapons to oppose us. It is when we are discouraged that we are the most vulnerable. We will make foolish decisions and be susceptible to all kinds of temptations. When the mind is protected by “the blessed hope” of the Lord’s return, Satan cannot use discouragement to attack and defeat us. Discouragement is a lethal weapon in the hands of the enemy. Moses and Elijah became so discouraged they asked God to kill them. The psalms record some of the occasions when David was “in the depths” and could only hope in God. (Wiersbe, W: Strategy of Satan: How to Detect and Defeat Him)

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance, and my God. (Ps 43:5)

John MacArthur illustrates the importance of the believer's hope writing that...

Often when a runner is on the home stretch of a race he suddenly “hits the wall,” as the expression goes. His legs wobble and refuse to go any farther. The only hope for the runner is to keep his mind on the goal, on the victory to be won for himself and his team. It is that hope that keeps him going when every other part of his being wants to give up. (MacArthur, J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)

Blaikie writes that...

The glorious truth that we are saved (Ep 2:5, 8-see notes Ep 2:5; 8) appropriated, rested on, rejoiced in, will protect even so vital a part as the head, will keep us from intellectual surrender and rationalistic doubt. (The Pulpit Commentary: New Testament; Old Testament; Ages Software)

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J C Philpot writes the following devotional thoughts on 1Th 5:8...

Sobriety in religion is a blessed gift and grace. In our most holy faith there is no room for lightness. The things which concern our peace are solemn, weighty matters, and if they lie with any degree of weight and power on our spirit, they will subdue that levity which is the very breath of the carnal mind.

But sobriety implies not merely the absence of all unbecoming levity in speech and conduct, but the absence also of all wild, visionary imaginations in the things of God. It denotes, therefore, that "spirit of a sound mind" which the Apostle says is the gift of God (2Ti 1:7-note). Vital godliness, it is true, has its mysteries, its revelations and manifestations, its spiritual and supernatural discoveries and operations; but all these come through the word of truth (2Ti 2:15-note), which is simple, weighty and solid, and as far removed from everything visionary or imaginative, wild or flighty, as light is from darkness; and therefore every act of faith, or of hope, or of love, will be as simple, solid, and weighty as the word of truth itself, through the medium of which, by the power of the Spirit, they are produced and called forth. If any doubt this, let them read in some solemn moment the last discourses of our blessed Lord with his disciples. How simple, how solid, how weighty are these discourses. Must not, then, the faith which receives, believes, and is mixed with these words of grace and truth, the hope which anchors in the promises there spoken, the love which embraces the gracious and glorious Person of him who spoke them, be simple and solid too? What room is there in such a faith, hope, and love for visionary ideas, wild speculations, and false spiritualizations of Scripture, any more than there is in the words of the Lord himself?

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Defense Systems - A number of years ago, the US Secret Service observed that a high-ranking government official seemed to be the "least protected" of the cabinet members. So four glass security doors were installed in the official's Washington suite, at the cost of $58,000. They were in addition to a pair of huge, thick wooden doors that were impossible to break down.

Later, when the person who monitors spending checked the results, he noted that the new security doors were "always open and unguarded." So their security value was zero!

I see in this incident a spiritual parallel. The Lord has provided all the armor we need to face every kind of test and temptation. For example, 1Thessalonians 5:8 speaks of "the breastplate of faith and love." When trouble invades our lives, faith can disarm it. And love keeps difficulty from causing us to turn inward in brooding self-pity. Love focuses our attention on the needs and well-being of others.

The helmet of "the hope of salvation" is the confident anticipation of ultimate rescue, which can keep us from losing our minds in the middle of disorder.

But remember, our defense system is not automatic. God's resources must be used to be useful. —Mart De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A strong defense to guard the soul
Is ours from heaven above;
God fills our hearts with steadfast hope
And gives us faith and love. —D. De Haan

No evil can penetrate the armor of God.

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It's For Sure - Before our second child was born, my wife and I attended a childbirth class offered by the hospital. During the course we watched a film designed to relieve the fears of expectant parents. All of us had questions like: When will the labor begin? Will there be plenty of time to get to the hospital? Will the delivery be hard? And what about our baby? Will it be a boy or a girl? Will it be large or small? Will it be healthy?

The narrator then summed it up like this: "Yes, there are so many questions left unanswered. But one thing is for sure: You will deliver. You will give birth!" The class laughed. One thing was certain—the baby would come.

The experience reminded me of the Lord's second coming. We have so many questions about it. What will it be like? Will it be a startling experience? Will we be happy when we see Jesus? Where will we be when it occurs? Will we be living, or will we be among those who are raised from the dead?

Yes, as we anticipate the birth of that new day, there are many unanswered questions. But one thing is for sure—He is coming! That is why we should prepare ourselves through faith, hope, and love (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Then we will be ready for the blessed event. —Mart De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Marvelous message we bring,
Glorious carol we sing,
Wonderful word of the King:
Jesus is coming again! —Peterson
(c) 1957 Singspiration, Inc.

Jesus may come at any time, so we should be ready all the time.