Rejoicing in Victory
We are rapidly approaching the 100th anniversary of the armistice in the First World War. On 11th November 1918, the war came to an end; and Britain and her allies were able to proclaim victory. It was a day of great celebration. However, the Bible proclaims an even greater victory – a victory that the Lord Jesus Christ won by His death on Calvary. This was a victory over death, sin, hell and the grave. It was with this victory in mind that Paul declared, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
These words underscore the power of Christ’s victory. The word translated “victory” means to utterly vanquish, as in the case of an enemy being utterly routed. The term identifies a mighty power. This kind of power is evident when a seed begins to grow and bursts out of the ground. In an infinitely greater way, Christ, by His death, is able to bring life from that which is dead. Perhaps the clearest outcome of that victory is outlined by Paul when he said, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:13-15). We should also observe the presentation of this victory. 1 Corinthians 15:57 states, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory.” The word “giveth” translates a Greek word that means “to give, to give something to someone, of one’s own accord; to give one something, to his advantage or to bestow a gift.” It is in the present tense and indicates something going on continuously right now. In other words, Christ’s victory is our victory; and He continuously gives that victory to those who have come to Him by faith. It is given that the redeemed might have the greatest possible advantage and eternal blessing.
Furthermore, Paul emphasises the person of the victory, when he notes that it is “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The word “through” in the original language indicates “the ground or reason by which something is done.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the one who obtained the victory for everyone who believes. This concurs with the statement, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15). The phrase, “But thanks be to God” (1 Corinthians 15:57), underscores the praise for the victory. The glory belongs to God. Our nation will be remembering the victory achieved 100 years ago when the First World War ended. How much more should we not remember and praise God for the victory Christ achieved 2000 years ago on the cross! Have you been rejoicing in and praising God for the victory achieved then? More particularly, have you entered into it?
Rev Gordon Dane
(Moderator and minister of Crossgar Free Presbyterian Church.)