Christ's Victory Is Ours
By S. D. Gordon
Our Lord is Victor! He has all power! His power is at our disposal! What the Lord has done for us we must appropriate and claim for ourselves. Our Lord defeated Satan on our behalf. Now each of us must claim all the power of that defeat on the battlefield of our own lives.
With greatest reverence let it be said that our Lord cannot decide our battles for us. He wins the victory for us. Then we must claim that victory in our own firm decision to resist the evil one.
Compare the Name of our Lord Jesus with Satan's. Satan – big and strong, wily and persistent and aggressive. Be wary of him – keenly, intelligently, earnestly wary of him.
And Jesus – bigger to the point of being Almighty, stronger, wise in conflict, resourceful in battle, and who undertakes for us. Remember Jesus, our Lord! That is the first thing that helps.
The second is this. Remember that Satan is defeated. We are fighting a defeated foe, who has all the enormous handicap of a defeat behind him. He is defeated and he knows it.
We have the great advantage of fighting a defeated foe. All the stinging sense of defeat, the disappointment and disheartening that defeat makes, Satan knows. All the swing and spirit, the joyousness and elasticity of action that comes from an assured victory already achieved – we have in our Lord Jesus. We ought to sing as we fight!
There is a fine, free reading of a verse in the Fiftieth Psalm that helps greatly in the thick of the fight. It runs like this: "Whoso offereth the offering of thanksgiving glorifieth Me; and openeth a way that I may show him the victory of God" (Psa. 50:23). That victory is already accomplished. Our spirit of thanksgiving – which is faith at its best – enables God to reveal all afresh in our lives the victory Christ has already won for us.
Sing as you fight. Pull out the organ stops and loosen the swells. Let the cheeriest, most joyous music of heart and voice out. Our enemy is defeated! Our Lord, our Captain is Victor! Our resisting shall make Satan's defeat more marked and make it a more real thing in our own lives and in our service among others.
Our enemy is a twice-defeated foe. The first defeat was on the battlefield of the earth. The second is to be on the battlefield of each man's life. Every man decides his own life and settles the outcome of his own battles by the way he chooses. It cannot be reaffirmed too strongly – every man is a sovereign in his own will. What our Lord has done for us, we must each one recognize, appropriate and claim for ourselves. Our Lord defeated Satan on our behalf, but each of us must claim all the power of that defeat on the battlefield of our own lives.
Jesus taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Matt. 6:13). He was led up to be tempted, and He was victorious in the temptation. We have been tempted and have failed.
But in Jesus, the Victor's Name, we claim His victory in our temptations. We cannot stand being tempted. Eden proves that. Every man and every day since Eden makes it plainer. We cannot stand temptation alone. We must go in Another's strength, and in Another's victory.
"Lead us not" means that we get in close behind our Victor, and claim what He has done for us. Each of us must do that. With greatest reverence let it be said that our Lord Jesus cannot decide my battles, my temptations for me. He wins the victory for me. Then I must claim and boldly enforce that victory in my own firm decision to resist the evil one.
The second defeat of the enemy is to be on the battlefield of my will, in the full power of the Lord Jesus. That defeat may be just as radical and sweeping in my life as it was on the cross and the resurrection morning.
May I, in a brief word, tell how that defeat may become a real thing to me every day? First of all by trusting in the blood of our Lord Jesus. We overcome on the ground of the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 12:11). We hide ourselves in Him and claim all the power of His victory for ourselves in our conflict.
Then there must be the full, glad surrender of life to the mastery of our great Victor-Friend. That means the recognizing and yielding to the gracious sovereignty of the Holy Spirit at every turn, in every act, until it becomes as habitual as breathing.
It means that there will be the same obedience, the same self-forgetting humility, the same tender, loving sympathy with men, the same simplicity of life, the same glad willingness to sacrifice for the needs of others, as marked our Lord's Nazareth life. This will be the standard habitually kept before the eyes of our spirit. The Holy Spirit works out in us the life and spirit of our Lord Jesus.
Then there is something else on the Satan side of things. We should become keen in recognizing him. Recognition of the enemy is winning half the fight. With recognition must follow resistance, quick and sharp. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).
Satan knows that he is defeated. He knows that he cannot stand up before Jesus' victory. As we – in Jesus' Great Name – resist steadily, he must leave. He will leave slowly, angrily but surely before the power of Jesus' Name.
Resist Satan actively and aggressively. Learn to recognize his step and voice and tricky devices and then put up an earnest fight in the Victor's Name and Satan will know his great defeat on the battlefield of your life. "Be sober, be_vigilant" (1 Pet. 5:8).
Taking Authority over Satan
In His wilderness temptation, our Lord said to Satan, "Get thee hence" (Matt. 4:10). "Leave!"
Do you remember the storm incident on the Sea of Galilee? The common reading is, "He (Jesus)...said...Peace, be still" (Mark 4:39). Another reading is this, "Lie down! Be muzzled. Hush up" – just as you would speak to a dog. That is the word in the Galilean incident and here is the same thing: "Leave; get thee hence." Do not ask him to go. Tell him to go. And the marvelous thing is this – Satan obeyed.
Firm and Fearless
A signpost to victory in dealing with the enemy is fearlessness. Nothing weakens us like fear. Nothing weakens the tempter in his assaults upon us like a quiet, bold, steady fearlessness. Satan cannot operate in an atmosphere of trust. It chokes him. God cannot act in an atmosphere of fear. It hinders Him.
One of the commonest phrases on the lips of God throughout His Word is this – "Fear not." Like a bit of sweet, inspiriting music, it runs throughout these pages. If He may have His way, it will be the unfailing music of our lives. "Fear not," is His continual word to you and to me.
No matter how tight the corner, how steep the road and how rough, how difficult the circumstance, however fearsome the growling of the tempter – yet "fear not." Let this be the continual song of your life. The tempter cannot stand up before a fearless spirit.
There is no need for fear. Our Lord is Victor! He has all power. His power is at our disposal. There is always need of prayer, but never cause for fear.
That Revelation cry of victory has a tremendous second clause to it: "They overcame on the ground of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony" (Rev. 12:11). Their voice rang out clear and boldly fearless. The human was linked with the divine. The testimony made the overcoming power of the blood effective. Bold, wise fearlessness in life and speech, in action and spirit, undercuts the power of the tempter.
Still another signpost needs sharp emphasis. There must be aggressive warfare against the evil one.
I do not mean by "aggressive," making a noise and raising clouds of dust – but the steady on-moving of the sun in its course. I mean the aggressiveness of love, of sunshine, of goodness. There needs to be the fearless standing up against the wiles of the tempter. We should get our fighting clothes on and well-girded too, for sharp, decisive action.
Resist the Devil but Submit to God (James 4:7)
There is a good deal of meek submission by Christian people that is both cowardly and sinful. What comes along is yielded to as God's will – whereas a great deal of what comes along is not God's will but is the result of the planning of the evil one. Aggression means a thinking keenly into God's way of working, a seeing clearly what is His will and what is opposed to His will, and then a vigorous resisting, in the Victor's Name, of anything not God's will.
We should be ambitious to be able to repeat Paul's words at the end of his strenuous life. "I have fought a good fight" (2 Tim. 4:7). There is great need of more fighters – wise, steady, sane, hard fighters against the evil one, in Jesus' great Name.
"Ne'er think the victory won
Nor lay thine armour down;
Thine arduous task will not be done
Till thou obtain the crown."
That victorious cry of Michael's host has still another clause, "They overcame him on the ground of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their life even unto death" (Rev. 12:11). There was the aggressiveness of sacrifice. There is nothing so aggressive in the fight against the evil one as the sacrificial spirit of love that counts not its own life a thing to be prized in order that victory may come.
Paul gives a fine picture of the overcoming man. It is in the last chapter of the Ephesian Epistle (Eph. 6:10-19). He describes the foe against which we are to fight. Then follows the description of God's fighting man. The overcomer must be a fighter. The victory comes only through conflict!
Christ's Finished Work
Leaving Paul's armour figure aside, Ephesians 6:1-18 might be put into this simple shape. First, dependence upon the blood of Jesus Christ, which is the whole of the Gospel of peace. A continual claiming of the finished work of Christ – of the power of His death and resurrection. Second, a pure, holy life. Third, obedience based upon an intelligent grasp of the Word.
Fourth, fearless aggressiveness both in attack and defense. Then underlying and overlapping and breathing through all the rest, a spirit of quiet, confident praying. This sort of a man will be an overcomer. There will be sure victory for him at every onward step of the way. He will fight and he will win.
Mark you keenly, all of this is entirely practicable and possible through grace. The Holy Spirit is living in you and me, wherever the door has swung for Him. He is abiding within us to make us good fighters and overcomers. He can be depended upon to do it, too. Our part is to yield intelligently and actively to His generalship.
Today there is great need for overcomers, and our Lord earnestly calls from the glory for men to follow in His steps and His strength. He won the decisive victory over our enemy. But every man must make that victory his own on the battlefield of his own life. In Jesus' great Name, we can, and please God, by His great, sweet grace, we will!