The Victory of Jesus

man in field

“… [God] raised [Jesus] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph 1:20b-23).

Are you discouraged, broken, weary, lonely or despairing?

Jesus’ victory is the most comforting promise to the believer and the deepest song of his heart. To the despised believer, to the discouraged believer, to the lonely believer, to the broken believer, to the believer who has been engulfed with relational struggles that this promise of the victory of Jesus is sweet and comforting.

Let’s try to understand this promise by asking three  questions: (1) WHAT was this promise? (2) To WHOM was this promise given? (3) and HOW is this promise comforting to the sorrowful believer?

1. What Was This Promise?

WHAT is the promise of the victory of Jesus? Paul speaks of the ‘victory of Jesus’. First, victory was accomplished at the Cross. Jesus ultimately defeated the power of sin, Satan and death ‘once and for all’ through the self-sacrifice (Heb 9:26; 10:10). His victory did not come by the force of an army but by the force of love – that is, the force of love within Him that brought Him to the Cross for us. It is when He cried “It is Finished” that He won the victory by bearing the full measure of the wrath of God for our sins. But, His death on the Cross was followed by God raising Him from the dead and seating Him in the heavenly places (Eph 1:20). Now, at the right hand of God, Christ reigns in heaven over all things, especially the Church. It is in this first victory that Paul here speaks of Christ having dominion “in this age.” But Paul doesn’t stop there. He says that Christ’s dominion is “not only in this age”, “but also in the one to come”. This, then, describes the final victory of Jesus. It is in this final victory that Christ’s dominion will be actualized not only in the Church, but over all things, where his enemies will finally be destroyed (Rev 21:7-10). But now, Jesus is waiting for this final victory (Heb 10:13).

2. To Whom is This Promise Given?

TO WHOM is this promise given? Our passage before us is firstly given to the “saints who are at Ephesus” (Eph 1:1). Though not much is written in this epistle about their circumstance, there are at least four main commands that Paul stresses in this epistle: Church unity, Love to others, Living out their faith and Spiritual warfare., The Church today needs to hear this. We are often divided, we seldom love others as we should, we seldom live out our faith as we ought, and we often forget to fight the spiritual battle. But this promise of Jesus’ victory enables us to do so.

Note that the promise of the victory of Jesus is not unique to the Ephesians. Consider some other places it appears in Scripture (from Gen to Rev): In the midst of the guilt and shame that Adam and Eve experienced, this victory was promised as their hope of forgiveness and restoration (Gen 3:15). It is this powerful promise that Job proclaimed when he was beset with trials, pains, sufferings and unhelpful counsellors. Job proclaims, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” (Job 19:25). This was promised to the Israelites amidst their wickedness, that there will be a suffering Savior, who will not just save by His suffering, but shall have victory (Isa 53:12). This was promised to the Philippian Church, the Hebrew Christians, and the Churches in Revelations who were under persecution (Phil 2:9-11, Heb 10:13, Rev 14-8).

3. How is This Promise Comforting?

HOW is this promise comforting to those who are suffering? Note the kinds of people who received this promise: Adam and Eve were beset with guilt and shame, Job was with circumstantial sufferings, the Israelites were with sin and idolatry and the New Testament Christians were facing persecution. How, then, is this promise a comfort to these sufferers? If I am beset with guilt or shame, then the ‘victory of Jesus’ assures me forgiveness and redemption if I would only repent. If I am beset with circumstantial sufferings, the ‘victory of Jesus’ assures me not only that “my Redeemer lives” but that He will right all wrongs when He “stand[s] upon the earth”. If I am beset with sin and idolatry, the ‘victory of Jesus’ promises that if I belong to Him, one day, all sin in the world and in my heart will be wiped away. If I am beset with persecution, as many of our brothers and sisters are in the world today, it assures us that He is Sovereign, and He is worthy, and He will bring justice upon the earth. Just as He suffered before He partook of His victory, so we must suffer with Him before we join Him in His victory. And just as He is waiting for that final day, my friends, let us wait with Him who is our Head, to long for that day when He will reign victorious over all, and we shall sing in unity:

 

High King of Heaven,

The Victory won!

May I reach heavens joys,

O bright heavens sun.

Heart of my own heart

Whatever befalls.

Still be my vision

Oh ruler of all.

 Daryl

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