The victory is won. Sin and death have been defeated. Jesus has defeated the enemy. The New Testament speaks often of our victory in Christ. We are told stand firm in faith and victory because Jesus has already won the war! But what does all of this really mean for us as Believers? If the war is already won, why does Paul instruct us to wear spiritual armor in Ephesians 6? And why is it that life still feels like a constant battle sometimes?
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If you’ve been around Christianity for long, you’ve undoubtedly heard the truth that Jesus was victorious over sin and death when He died on the cross and rose again. You have also probably heard that Jesus defeated the enemy as well.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. – Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)
I have written quite a bit about the enemy’s lack of weaponry now that he’s been defeated by Christ. But with all of the struggles we face today in this life and in our world, it often feels like the enemy still has weapons at his disposal. We can feel defeated, hopeless, and crushed by the weight of our trials. But the truth is that if we could see through spiritual eyes for just a moment, we would think differently.
The Bible tells us to focus on the unseen rather than the seen. We so often get caught up in our physical world. We see things through our physical eyes rather than our spiritual eyes. Spiritually speaking, the battle has been won and sin no longer rules this world. But physically, sin is still very much a reality.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
So what does it mean to stand firm in faith and victory? What does it really mean to have the “conviction of things not seen.” It means that we recognize the truth and choose to live by it. Truth says that the enemy is defeated. Truth says we are healed and have been made holy. And truth says that we are children of the Living God and have been given authority in Jesus’ name. As Christians, we recognize that truth is truth, even when it can’t be seen with our physical eyes.
I love studying history, and throughout my years in school, we studied many wars. And as we all know too well, wars are never pretty. And even when a victory is won, it takes time to clean up the mess and for change to occur.
Think about it this way: The civil war was won when Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in 1865. But how long did it take for our nation to come back together again? How long did African Americans suffer from hate and discrimination even though they were freed from slavery that year? Many would argue that we are still healing from all that happened during that period of American history.
The truth is that the war was won. The laws had been changed. But it took a while for people to begin living by this new truth. Even though the war was over, the losing side struggled with their loss. Many still chose to hang on to their opinions and viewpoints… even to this day. And some refused to give up their old way of life. (And the winning side faced their own sets of challenges.)
Many needed to change their way of thinking, and this certainly didn’t happen overnight… or even in a generation. It has taken many years for us to get where we are today and yet we still see struggle in this area.
A battle won is often the beginning of change, not the end.
When Jesus defeated the enemy on the cross, He began something new. His Kingdom was established and He took His place and King of kings and Lord of lords. And even though His Kingdom was “at hand,” change didn’t happen overnight. In fact, He left us in charge of building and expanding His Kingdom to the ends of the earth… which is something that we are still working on 2000+ years later.
Standing firm in faith and victory happens when we choose to walk in the freedom we now have in Christ. We renew our minds to think differently, walk in the Spirit at all times, and live as a citizen of heaven rather than citizens of this world.
We stand firm every time we choose to live in the truth of who we are in Christ rather than limiting ourselves to what we see in this physical world. It’s choosing to see the world through our spiritual eyes in every circumstance and recognizing that Jesus truly is our King.
The enemy is a very sore loser. The presence of his former kingdom is still here, and he would love nothing more than to convince us that he still has power in this world. But Jesus very clearly stated that all authority had been given to Him. The enemy no longer has any rights. (Matthew 28:18)
Stand in the truth. Remind the enemy of his loss. And walk in the victory you have in Jesus.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:13-14
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.