Victory Through Christ by Greg Albrecht
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:57
Victory! Unless your favorite sports team just won an important game, victory is not a word in high demand over the past few years. So much in our world previously defined as successful and prosperous has changed over the past few years. Of recent dates, instead of progress and growth we have seen and endured much more chaos and upheaval. So many of the routines of daily life are new or at least modified, completely unlike the world before COVID.
Physical life can seem to be running smoothly and efficiently until it doesn’t. We all know, painfully so, COVID arrived and changed life in so many ways! Life itself, as much as we would like it to be, is not predictable. Life in Christ never has been nor is it now a walk down a proverbial primrose lane – it’s not a succession of sun-filled days at the beach. Not only is life obviously temporary and limited by our life span, it is entirely prone to inconvenient and undesired interruptions.
However, in all of this chaos and upheaval, in all this grief, pain and suffering, Paul says God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Are these words hollow and meaningless, just motivational pop-psychology, or are they part of the core gospel of Jesus Christ?
In the Old Testament, “victory” is often used in a militaristic way. In order for victory to be realized and enjoyed, violence has to be employed – and that is very much the sense of victory in the Old Testament.
We are Christ-followers. When Jesus, God in the flesh came into our world, everything changed. He spoke of loving enemies rather than defeating them in warfare. Instead of hatred, Jesus taught and embodied forgiveness, returning good for evil. As Christ-followers, we willingly pick up our respective and individualized crosses and embrace a life of love and service, following him where he leads us. As we follow him on the Jesus Way, he gives us the victory.
The very terminology used in describing our faith as “following Christ” means that we are actively involved, direct participants. We are in motion – moving – going somewhere. Christ followers ARE NOT spectators. We ARE NOT couch potatoes. We are not waiting for something to happen – it has happened and we are following the One who makes it all happen!
Our life in Christ, wherein we find ourselves transformed into new creations, in him, is not a life defined by how hard we work and how much we produce. Following Christ is not a salt mine or a chain gang. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, does not demand allegiance, rather he blazes the trail for us in humility and service.
Following Christ is an invitation to revel and rest in everything that is already given to us in Christ. Following Christ is embracing the joy of his salvation, trusting in him to do what we can never do by ourselves.
Following Christ does not mean we are involved in a struggle whose outcome is undecided and up-in-the-air, with the end result depending on our efforts. Following Christ is a faithful awareness that the competition is over. There’s no more scoreboard when we are transformed from who we were into who we are, as new creations in Christ.
The “game” has been won – Jesus Christ has won the victory over sin and death and the grave – thanks be to God he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Jesus has poured out the love of God for us, on his cross, and he conquered death and the grave when he rose triumphantly from his tomb. The gift of Jesus’ victory is ours. No strings attached.
We must, of course, accept the gift – we are free to reject or ignore the gift of God. We are free to run away from Jesus Christ rather than follow him.
About six months ago, Plain Truth Ministries packed up and moved to a smaller office space. Our long-term planning meetings left us with the realization that we needed to move our offices. We did not need as much space as we had, and we realized that streamlining and reducing our costs would be a wise use of the resources God provides. Many of you, of course, are generous donors to our collective ongoing work, and we believe it is appropriate for us to make prudent use of your gifts, enabling this ministry to continue and grow.
There has not been any change in the way in which we serve you and so many others around this world. Our website – www.ptm.org – remains the same. Our main mailing address at the Pasadena, California Post Office has not changed. Our toll-free number (1-800-309-4466), which we have had for several decades, remains the same.
But we have moved! Of course, it is always easier to remain in the same place (whether that is physical or spiritual) without facing the upheaval and change that comes with moving. Easier is not always better. Easier is not always life in Christ, following him – in fact, following the path of least resistance is often not one and the same as the narrow road of God’s grace.
So many things in the move of our CWR/PTM offices worked out so well, in so many ways – all we can say is that we thank God for the smooth manner in which the move was accomplished. Thanks to our great team we were organized and prepared…but even when you are organized and prepared, changes of any kind present all kinds of challenges, don’t they?
Even while we experienced minimal disruption, all of our staff who work in our offices experienced the chaos of moving. Chaos / upheaval IS part of life, and more than that, it is part of what we sign up for when we accept the outstretched hand of Jesus inviting us to join him and follow him.
In large part, that is why the Cross of Christ is so central to our faith. We do not exclude change and upheaval and suffering from our faith because he did not – and does not. He gives us the victory because he entered into death and suffering. Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23) is a self-sacrificial life, which by the grace of God, we may live as our risen Lord lives in us.
For that reason, Paul says: I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).
Chaos / upheaval IS part of this physical world and the life we lead within it. Through it all, God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. That is our faith. That is our hope. That is what we believe. That is the life we embrace. For it all, we are thankful to be Christ-followers, now and forevermore.
We thank God that he has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. And that, as Forrest Gump said, is all I have to say about that! Our prayers are with you all, with many thanks for your prayers and your support, and for your willingness to allow this ongoing work to serve you in the name of Jesus.
Your brother in Christ,