One of the greatest truths that a believer can hold onto is that the victory has already come through Christ. And when I say “the victory,” I am talking about the eternal victory over sin and death. In John 19:30 Jesus, while bloodied and nailed to the cross, cries out “It is finished!”

This proclamation (τετελεσται – te-te-les- teye) is a foundational truth and certainty which we must hold with gratitude and joy.

Through the work of Christ, sin has been paid for. We have been ransomed. We have been redeemed. Our lives were purchased by his eternal, loving, powerful, and blessed blood.

There was a divine exchange! Our sin and death for his righteousness and life.

Right now though, many of us might be saying, “if this victory is true, and the battle is won, then why do we still encounter temptations, trials, persecutions, and pains, sicknesses, and death?!”

This is because we are living in the era of “Already/ Not Yet.” The history of the world and all that is created can be put into this large arc (or meta-narrative).

Creation- Fall- Redemption- Restoration

Right now the world has been redeemed, but we are waiting for the time when Jesus will return and make all things new- when God will restore everything to how it ought to be (Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 43:1-47:12; Revelation 3:12; 21:1-22:5).

During this time of waiting we are told there will be trials and tribulations. There will be persecution, pain, suffering, and death. But because of the resurrection of Jesus, we can rest assured that the proclamation on the cross was true. 1 Corinthians 15 gives us this assurance

20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “Godc 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. 28When 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.

50I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When 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.”
55“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, 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.

See- we already have the victory of both the War overall, and inside of the current battles we face. We know that Satan prowls around this earth like a lion ready to pounce (1 Peter 5:8).

When we do wrestle with temptation and/or with spiritual warfare, we are told to “Stand firm” (Ephesians 6:14). But how are we to stand firm?

We are to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10).

What kind of power does the Lord have? Well, in the Greek it is an interesting phrase. We are told to be strengthened in, literally, “The power of his strength.” The NIV translates it “mighty power.” In order to really see just how powerful this might of God is, it is best seen in a comparison of the language used to describe the foes we are wrestling with, versus how God is described.

Verse 12 says that “we battle not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and authorities and the powers of this dark world…” These are all Greek word which would call to mind Greek astronomy, cosmology, and astrology. The word used for “powers” in “powers of this dark world” is the word κοσμοκρατορας (kosmokratores), and it is found in magical incantations, and astrology manuscripts and papyrus from ancient Greece and Rome, where it is talking about the gods and goddesses who were thought to be the/ of the planets and solar system[1] 

Alright, keep with me… don’t fall asleep due to the history and the Greek

We serve the Mighty God. It is in his strength that we do everything. “As pilgrims we walk, as witnesses we go, as contenders we run, as fighters we stand.”[2] Everything we do, whether it is live, evangelize, minister, wrestle, or stand – it is done in the power of the Lord.

And how is God’s might and power spelled out in contrast

Revelation 1:8 identifies the Lord God as “The Alpha and the Omega… Who is, who was, and who is the come, the Almighty.”

Now, a lot of you want me to go into the history behind “Alpha and Omega,” but that is for another time. This blog is already longer than most. I want you to look at one word

ALMIGHTY

In the Greek it is a compound word (two words fused into one). This word is παντοκρατωρ (panto- kra- tor). The two words that compose this singular word are the words for all (παν) and a word for power (κρατος). This word quite literally means “All Powerful” or “Power over all.”

So, let’s do a little comparison.

The biggest opponent you might face in spiritual warfare is a kosmokratores – a world power. That seems frightening at first.

But think about whose power you are supposed to live in, wrestle in- to be empowered by? It is the One known as pantokrator- the All Powerful. Wow!

This is why there is victory. When you wrestle, you do so by the power of the one who quite literally is the All Power. God is Almighty.

Don’t forget it.

-Pastor Ben

 

[1] See Clinton Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary, Ephesians, page 40, or Moíses Silva, New International Dictionary of the New Testament Theology and Exegesis 2nd Edition, 2., 739-42.

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer, commentary on Ephesians, ad loc.

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