He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
I remember in the first Gulf War against Iraq, the Americans and allies so decimated the Iraqi military communication system, that several days (and even weeks) after the war was concluded and the arms laid aside, there were Iraqi soldiers who were still fighting because they didn’t know that Iraq had retreated and the war was over.
But for those who accept the victory of Jesus Christ through what He accomplished for you upon the cross, peace will come into your heart, the battle will be done, and the truth of our Lord’s words on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), will become reality in your life.
As Christians, we don’t fight for victory. We fight from victory. And thanks to Christ’s work on the cross, that victory can be yours today if you’ll only trust in Him. When you do, you can have every confidence that the victory against sin and darkness is yours and you’ll live forever with Jesus Christ!
FIGHT FROM VICTORY—NOT FOR VICTORY—BY PLACING YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST AND DECLARING THE WAR AGAINST SIN AND DEATH TO BE OVER!
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
I remember back in the early 1990s after the Gulf War when, several days and even weeks after the war was concluded, there were still Iraqi soldiers who were fighting and resisting. Why was that? Well, the coalition of forces had so badly damaged their communications infrastructure that they weren’t able to receive the message that the war was over.
It reminds me of many people in the world today who don’t know that the war against condemning sin is over. They’re still fighting and struggling, trying to overcome sin on their own, but the mission has already been accomplished.
You see, when Jesus went to the cross, He didn’t die for a possibility of salvation. He didn’t give His life on the outside chance it would work. No, He came to earth, humbling Himself, and died willingly in your place so that for all who know Him, there would be a guarantee of eternal salvation.
All you have to do is accept the victory of Jesus Christ—what He accomplished for you upon the cross. When you do, peace will come into your heart and the war will be done. Just as He proclaimed on the cross, “It is finished,” that battle over condemning sin will be eternally finished in your life!
IN CHRIST, THE BATTLE AGAINST CONDEMNING SIN IS OVER! SO TRUST FULLY IN HIS SAVING WORK FOR YOU ON THE CROSS.
This was the first word spoken by our Lord on His cross. It was uttered just when the soldiers were in the act of crucifying Him – driving the terrible nails through His hands and feet. It was a moment of excruciating, inconceivable anguish. Yet He uttered no cry of pain, no word of execration upon those who were causing Him such suffering, but calmly prayed for His brutal, pitiless murderers - “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
The moment the sacred blood began to flow the intercession for sinners began. The pleading was first for the ignorant heathen soldiers who were acting as executioners; but it was not for these alone. It certainly widened out, and took in all who had been concerned in the condemnation and crucifixion of Jesus. It was for the Jewish rulers and people who had rejected their Messiah. May we not believe that many of those who on the day of Pentecost and afterward were brought to repentance were forgiven and saved because on His cross Jesus made intercession for them?
Then the prayer went out beyond the people who had a direct part in the crucifixion. From His cross Jesus saw the lost world down to the end, and prayed for all men. We know, too, that that word of prayer was but the beginning of an intercession that is going on yet inside heaven, where Jesus pleads the merits of His own sacrifice for the salvation of sinners.
This word of Jesus teaches us a great lesson on Christian forgiveness. He prayed for His murderers. We should pray for those who injure us. There are some fragrant trees which bathe in perfume the axe that gashes them. So should it be with Christ‘s people. Instead of resentment and injury for injury, we should show only sweet, tender love to those who harm us.
We talk a lot about rights these days. Yet the attention given to human entitlements hasn’t brought about corporate or personal freedom. Instead, most people are prisoners of jealousy (you have greater rights than I do!), greed (I deserve more!), or bitterness (my rights have been violated!).
Instead of focusing on the privileges due us, we should take the biblical perspective of loving enemies and forgiving persecutors (Matt. 5:44). Believers lay down their rights so they can take up the cause of a holy kingdom. That doesn’t mean that we let people trample on us. Rather, we offer a proper response according to biblical principles. In short, believers should be more concerned about showing God’s love to those who do wrong than about demanding their rights.
Maybe you’re thinking, But he doesn’t know how I’ve been mistreated. Indeed I do not. But what I do know is how Jesus Christ, our example, reacted to terrible abuse. He was betrayed by His friends, persecuted by His people, condemned by His peers, and crucified for our sins. Yet He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34).
Before assuming that Jesus’ capacity for forgiveness and love is out of reach for mere human beings, remember: His Spirit dwells in believers. We can choose to give away our rights and let God’s love work through us.
Luke 6:29 says to turn the other cheek and give up more than is asked because expressing love outweighs exerting our rights. You can’t lose when you show others the boundless care of the Lord. You gain His blessing, and, hopefully, someone will be saved because of your example.
Dr. Charles Stanley