How can I achieve victory in Jesus?The apostle Paul writes: "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57). In immediate context, Paul is talking about victory over sin and death. He is describing the future resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50–58), after having explained the centrality of Jesus' resurrection to the Christians' faith and hope in Him. He explains how "in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). He writes, "The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For 'God has put all things in subjection under his feet.' But when it says, 'all things are put in subjection,' it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:26–28).
Paul goes on to describe the future resurrection of the dead, proclaiming that, "For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:53–57). This victory is the forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life that is given to all who put their faith in Jesus (John 3:16–18)—what a victory it is!
We also talk about victory in Jesus in a more general sense. Jesus gives us not only victory in an eternal sense, but in our daily lives. Victory belongs to the Lord, so it is only by submitting to the lordship of Jesus Christ that we can achieve victory in Jesus. How? And what does it look like?
We achieve victory in Jesus when we submit to Him, because He is the one with all power and authority, the only one who has conquered sin and death. We are not victorious in our own strength, but Jesus empowers us to walk in His victory. John the apostle gives this exhortation: "You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:5–8). The forgiveness Jesus provides frees us from the power of sin and enables us to walk righteously, keeping in step with Him and His work in the world. It is wise for us to draw near to God through reading His Word (2 Timothy 3:16–17) and in prayer (Hebrews 10:19–23) and to surround ourselves with fellow believers who can encourage us in our journey with Christ (Hebrews 10:24–25).
Victory in Jesus will often look different than victory in the world's eyes. The lusts and desires of the flesh are not something to indulge or glory in, though selfish conquests of many varieties are praised as victories in the eyes of the world. In Jesus, victory looks like overcoming the selfish temptations and sins the world has to offer in favor of the true life offered only through Christ. Remember: "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24; see also Romans 5:20–21). This victory is not simply about overcoming sinful habits, but about dying to sin that we might live in righteousness (Romans 6:11–14; 12:1–2). Victory in Jesus is not about ascetism or willpower, rather it is about fullness of life in Christ (John 10:10). The victory is enabled by the work of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:12–13). Sin is deceptive and ultimately leads to death (Romans 6:23; James 1:14–17). God's ways lead to that which is truly life (John 15:1–11). Obeying Him can bring purpose and peace to our lives, even when following Him is difficult and even in the midst of very real hardships (Romans 5:1–5; James 1:2–18; 1 Peter 1:3–9). Galatians 5:22–23 explains, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul goes on to say, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). When we walk with Jesus, we walk in obedience and do the work of the Lord. This is the guaranteed victory that we have; we can walk in victory like Jesus as long as we stay walking with Him. The victory is not our responsibility—the obedience and submission to His lordship is what we must attend to in our own lives. It is our responsibility to rest in Christ (Matthew 11:28) and trust that His victory is enough to provide freedom and victory for all of us (Romans 5:17; 1 Peter 2:9).
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