But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! — 1 Corinthians 15: 57
With Christ we are victors!
Through His sacrifice and resurrection, the Lord has conquered sin and death. Belief in Jesus Christ allows the sinner to be delivered from sin and to resurrect from the dead. Through His word and the sacraments, God today gives us the strength to conquer that which separates us from Him. But it is up to us to fight against evil. Let us make 2016 a year of victories with Christ.
Victory over evil
Let us make it our objective to gain victories over evil, for example by
- Remaining faithful to the Lord despite afflictions (1 John 5: 5).
- Adhering to the law of God even if we are the only ones who do so—simply out of love for Jesus.
- Doing good even when we ourselves have been victims of evil (Romans 12: 21).
Victory over fear
This year we will once again have to give thought to the future. Let us see to it, however, that we do not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by worry, even when times are difficult. Those who trust in God will not have to fear tomorrow (Matthew 6: 34).
The victory of Jesus consisted of overcoming evil, not of eradicating it. Evil is still rampant, but it cannot prevent Christ from saving those who trust in Him. Right up until the return of the Lord, the church will still have to experience fiery trials (1 Peter 4: 12). Even if these tribulations undeniably cause us to suffer, let us not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed. We believe in the victory of Christ and continue to trust in Him. “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20).
When making important decisions, some are paralysed by fear of commitment. But why should we be afraid to get married, raise children, or exercise a ministry? Christ is there in order to guide and help us! With Him we can succeed in our matrimony and in raising our children. With Him we can successfully balance the exercise of a ministry with a happy family life and personal fulfilment.
Victory over ourselves
The year 2016 will also provide us with many opportunities to gain victories over ourselves. Here we must still overcome
- Our pride in securing the help of God, as the example of Naaman shows (2 Kings 5:11–14).
- Our prejudices in accepting the differences of our neighbour. Let us remember the account of Peter and Cornelius (Acts 10:9–35).
- Our desire to say what we are thinking, in order to preserve the peace.
Many believers will once again this year give up a portion of their income in order to bring their offering to God. What a great victory of the love of Christ!
Victory with Christ
Christ will only give the victory to those who fight in accordance with the rules that He has established. These rules are:
- We must believe (often without seeing) in the truth of Christ, in His love for us and our neighbour, and in His victory.
- Jesus will only bless our efforts when they are motivated by love.
- Perseverance. Without this there will be no victory (Romans 5: 4).
- Unity. We need one another in order to overcome (1 Thessalonians 5: 11), and only those who attain unity in Christ can ever be crowned (Ephesians 4: 13).
Thanks be to God, who always allows us to triumph in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 2: 14)!
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the New Year’s divine service held on 03 January 2016 at Midrand Congregation.