The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 NKJV
The victory belongs to us!
When I think about victory, I think about all of the revelry, the joy, the happiness, and the victory celebration. Are you alive and well today? Do you have the victory today? Are you able to shout that victory is yours?
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tome early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb,” is how John opens the twentieth chapter of the book after his name. The first day of the week, Sunday, followed Sabbath but this time around, this Sunday, followed the crucifixion of Christ; it followed His death and burial. The other gospels also open in the same manner when talking about the Resurrection of Christ (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-10). I feel that I must make it clear that Christ rose on the first day of the week because this is made very clear in scripture.
In His resurrection, we can begin to draw towards the end of a journey that I started us on a month and a half ago. A month and a half ago, I preached about the Weapon of a Christian in our spiritual warfare. Since then we have seen the weaponry that Satan uses against each and every day that we live and we now realize that we cannot combat him by ourselves. We know that our faith and our prayer is our horn and our shout that can bring down the barriers that we face. Yet, we also understand that without Christ, we would be blocked from being able to use our horn and our shout because there would be a barrier between us and God.
Today I tell you that we have the victory! I can shout out to anybody within hearing distance of my voice that victory is mine! Victory, today, is mine – as that old song would say. When Satan tries me, I can tell old Satan to get behind me because victory is mine! Let’s talk about that victory today.
Victory over sin
In order for us to have a victory, there must be an opponent. We must be up against something or somebody that we must defeat. If I am going to stand here today and tell you that we have the victory. Who are we up against? What have we defeated in order to obtain our victory?
In the full context of the responsive reading for today (1 Corinthians 15:48-58), we find the apostle Paul speaking about a certain victory. He speaks to the day that we, genuine believers, inherit the kingdom of God. He says (v.50), “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption”. Let’s understand a little bit more about what’s being said here.
Flesh and blood have nothing to do with our victory is what Paul is essentially telling us. When you’re playing a game of baseball, you have to use a bat, ball, and glove to obtain your victory in that game. Without a bat, you cannot hit, and without a ball, there would be nothing for you to hit, and the glove makes it easier for you to catch the ball. Against our enemy, we are essentially being told that flesh and blood have absolutely nothing to do with defeating our opponent, and it will have nothing to do with inheriting the victory (the kingdom of God).
Let’s also make this very clear: this is not a victory that the apostle “made up”. We like to believe that scripture was made up – it was not. We like to believe that Jesus was made up – He was and is very real. We like to believe that heaven and hell are not real – they are indeed very real. I want to make it clear that the apostle was speaking on what he had learned from God (Jesus Christ).
Jesus assured us exactly what was meant by this victory when He told the disciples about His Father’s house (John 14:1-2). Even Nicodemus wanted to know how one could inherit (see) the kingdom of God (John 3:3-4). Nicodemus was a man that wanted the victory – he wanted to be able to shout victory is mine. In our spiritual warfare, we know that we are up against both sin and the great deceiver, Satan.
Satan deceives mankind to follow in his way; it is a way that is opposite to the Lord’s way. Satan wants mankind to believe in his lie that the Lord does not love mankind nor does He care about us, but we know this not to be true because God loved the world (John 3:16). Satan’s way is unrighteous because it opposes God. Therefore, Satan’s way is full of wickedness (sin and iniquity). In his warfare against the Lord, he thought he could win his battle by taken out God’s only begotten Son. You see, as I have said before, Satan does not want mankind to enjoy the blessing of God and Christ is the great blessing that Satan wanted to rid the world of.
I also want to point out and make it very clear that Satan does not want you to know that you are loved. He goes through great measures to deceive you; he throws every weapon he has at you because he wants you to always be the thing that the Lord will not accept – a sinner. Satan is happy with you being a sinner and he is going to do everything possible and tell you every lie you want to hear to ensure you remain a sinner.
Sin, you should know, leads to death (physical). Living in sin and following Satan also leads to death, a spiritual death. Prior to Christ, after living in this world, mankind was rewarded with a trip to Hades (Sheol/hell). Both the righteous and the unrighteous souls went to Hades, though they went to separate places in Hades. The unrighteous soul would go to the place of torments while the righteous soul would go to Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22-23).
For us to have the victory over the penalty of sin, there are a couple of things that we must recognize, understand, and believe. Firstly: we must believe in Christ on the cross. You see, for us to have part with Christ we need to first be atoned of our sins. Remember, Jesus told Peter (John 13:8) that He needed to be washed to have part with Him. Do you want to have part with Christ today? At the cross, the Lamb’s blood was shed so that we can be washed of our sins and have part with Christ.
Secondly: Christ must be risen from the grave for us, mankind, to be able to proclaim victory over sin! You see, because of sin, the grave was the end – nobody had come back from the grave. Satan, I believe, was happy with the fact that all souls were going to Hades after leaving this world because they were heading to a prison. Satan really felt that the grave had power over Christ. Without the resurrection, the cross would be a meaningless symbol.
You see, if you only have faith in the cross and not in the resurrection, then you don’t really have genuine faith in Christ and the power of Christ! You are simply still stuck in the grave. We don’t want the finish line to be the grave because all of us want to go to heaven! For us to get to heaven, to inherit that kingdom, we have to believe both in the cross and in the resurrection!
Christ, in the spirit, went to Hades with the key in hand. The apostle Paul taught about how Christ went to Hades and led captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8). Peter said (1 Peter 3:18-19) that Christ suffered once for sins, was put to death by the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit. He then spoke about how Christ preached (proclaimed) to the spirits in prison (Hades) proclaiming victory over that prison and victory over the grave (sin)! Christ went to Hades proclaiming victory over death! Jesus then rose out of that grave with that victory in hand!
Rejoice in victory
Today, we have victory over that grave! Today, we have victory over sin! Today, we have victory over that devil! Today, we have victory through our Savior, Jesus Christ! As the apostle said (1 Corinthians 15:57), thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Today, many will shout that death could not hold Him down and that He is risen. I say today, sin could not hold Him down and that He rose above both sin and that devil.
Today should be a day filled with joy for all believers. Why? Because we have the victory over sin. Victory is mine! Victory is yours! Because of His sacrifice and His resurrection, this corruptible can put on the incorruptible and this mortal can put on immortality. Because of Christ, I have my line of communication with my God and He hears all of my prayers. Because of Christ, I AM BLESSED!