Victory in Jesus


This concept has puzzled me.  It’s prominent in a number of the hymns they make us sing in chapel at the shelter,[1] but no one explains it or preaches on it.  There is no Wikipedia page about it.

The chapel presenters seem to think that victory over sin and death pertains to what happens at the end of life, in that the real or born-again Christian goes to heaven instead of hell.  That’s not it.  It pertains instead to how one faces this life from day to day; as will be seen.

It appears that a doctrine of Christian victory as I shall explain it below was popular in some circles in the early 20th century, but has somehow been eclipsed by a now-more-prevalent view; as follows.  God has a plan (It says.), and the born-again or real Christian has access to that plan through prayer.  If prayer fails to bring clear direction, one should wait till such direction comes.  “Wait on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14), “and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).  Under no circumstances should one “lean unto one’s own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Thus the real or born-again Christian need never take risks in life and need never face disappointment.  Consistent with this view, some say disappointment comes only from sin; one has deviated from God’s plan.  And risk-taking or taking initiatives is, itself, sin.

Hogwash.

Christian victory accepts instead that one faces inevitable difficulties in life, but says that by God’s grace one can take them all in stride.   “Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).  “A righteous man falls seven times, but gets up again” (Proverbs 24:16).  In this way, it’s not that much different from what I call the Way of Peace, or from Stoicism.

Victory over sin and death, in this view, is like this:  every time one finds oneself in the midst of shattered dreams, it is a kind of death; every time one accepts the love of God and so gets back on one’s feet, it is a resurrection.

That’s victory in Jesus.

[1]Notably:
– “Victory in Jesus”
– “In the Name of Jesus”
– “Victory is Mine”
– “When We All Get to Heaven”

 

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