Victory means—at least in part—being able to see something for what it really is. It means exposing that which is hidden or revealing a fraud.
The death of Jesus exposed the cruel powers of religion (in the Jewish system) and politics (in the Roman system) and the supernatural (in the Satanic government). We can no longer go on thinking religion is benign, for it killed an innocent man. We can no longer go on thinking government is our highest protection, for it executed an innocent man. We can no longer think of the supernatural world as ambivalent, because it destroyed an innocent man.
These powers did their worst to Christ—they were forced to, in order to finally be rid of his meddling–but in so doing, they revealed that they are not good.
The resurrection was the ultimate triumph over these powers, demonstrating that even when they were pushed to do their worst, Christ could not be outdone or outlasted.
The devil exceeded his rights in his treatment of Christ and was therefore deprived of his rights and lost his kingdom.
Satan crushed Adam because Adam sinned. Death entered the world through the sin of the first man. However, Satan tried to push death also onto a sinless man, but this was not just. The wages of sin is death; where there is no sin there ought to be no death. Satan has overextended his authority.
The devil is like a tyrant who tortures those who fall into his hands; but now he meets a king’s son, whom he unjustly beats to death. This death then leads to the deliverance of others, as the king shows up with his army for revenge.
The devil is like a creditor who imprisons those who owe him; but now he imprisons someone who owes him nothing. He has exceeded his rights, and he is deprived of his dominion.
The devil found Christ to be innocent, but killed him anyway. He spilled innocent blood and took what he had no right to take. Therefore, it is fitting and right and just that the Father dethrone Satan and give his power to someone else, for he has proven himself unfit to rule.
My friend Elaine is a Wiccan. She tries to tell me earth-based mysticism isn’t harmful, that it’s ”white magic.” I’ve tried to convince her otherwise, because I know sooner or later her dabbling in the occult will be exposed for what it really is: pagan spirituality. She’s messing with dark powers masquerading as good ones. Victory will come for Elaine when she finally realizes what is actually going on and runs to take shelter in the cross.
My friend Farouq has a Ph.D. in political science, and he believes socialism will ultimately prove to be the way forward for global, stable government. I’ve tried to tell Farouq he’s relying on human agency to supply the kind of peace only Christ can offer. But he thinks I’m naive. Victory for Farouq will come when he realizes world peace will not come through strength of arms or skill in diplomacy, but only through changed hearts. And then he’ll let Christ change his.
My friend Jordan is a priest in the Episcopal Church and a staunch liturgist. He thinks all Protestants have abandoned the true faith in favor of fads. Jordan wants all Christian faiths to reconcile and fall again under one unified church leadership, including Catholics (though Jordan thinks they should follow the Archbishop of Canterbury). But religion doesn’t save. Not even the Christian religion. Victory for Jordan will come when he realizes that our means of following Jesus should never obfuscate actually following Jesus.
Victory comes when things are exposed for what they really are. When half-truths are revealed as lies and competing allegiances are settled and accounted for.
Victory, for you, will come as you are exposed for who you really are. And whose.
Do you belong to Christ? Have you been crucified with him? Resurrected into new life? Are you a participant in his divine nature?
Or are you still looking for victory through something else?