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April 2016 - The Victory of Christ For Us

The Victory of Christ For Us

The enemies of Jesus thought they had Him beat and securely put away.  Satan, the false teachers and religious leaders of the Jews, the pagan gentiles of Rome, all thought Jesus was finally dead and buried.  A lifeless body taken down from the cross; around 120 pounds of burial wrappings and spices; a two-ton stone rolled over the tomb entrance; the official seal of the Roman Empire over the stone marking it with the threat of the Empire’s wrath and might if broken; a troop of soldiers to guard the tomb – yep, it looked like Jesus was definitely beaten and the threat ended.

            But we celebrate during the Easter season that Jesus’ enemies could not hold Him as He rose in victory of the powers of sin, death, the world and the devil.  With His bodily resurrection from the grave, He has kept His Word and proven that God the Father has accepted His Blood/Life payment for our sinful guilt and that the Father has now declared all of mankind clean and righteous in Jesus’ Blood!  There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!

            My family in Christ, as a follower of Jesus, you too have many enemies surrounding you and threatening to bury you in despair, grief or shame.

            You are wrapped and entangled with the burial cloths of your sinful flesh which will cling to you until the Day of the Resurrection.  You will struggle against those bindings your entire life in this fallen world.  The Old Adam will constantly oppose the New Person in Christ God created within you, threatening to choke out the faith God has created in your heart.   It also is part of a cursed creation that has inherited weakness, disease and pain.  Throughout our lives in this fallen world, our bodies are ravaged with afflictions that can also lead us to despair on our way to death. 

            You have the massive, cold, dead stone of the world over you as well.  It is an immovable force that presses down on you, threatening to overcome your new life in Christ with oppressive peer pressure and persecution, as well as crush your Christian Life under the weight of worldly pleasures and distractions.

            Finally, there is the guard surrounding you as well.  The devil and his angels have weapons pointed at you at all times, seeking opportunity to tempt you into sin, and even better, stab you with guilt and despair.  Their goal is to get you to look away from Christ and to your miserable failings and inner weakness, and despair of any hope, to get you to think that there is no forgiveness for someone like you or for whatever you have done.

            That is a lot of deadly enemies intent on your eternal destruction.   Yes, you are already buried in a tomb of death.  But rejoice children of God, for you have been buried with Christ!  Your daily battles and struggle against your sinful flesh, the word the devil need not lead you to despair!  Rather, fix your eyes on Jesus!  Don’t look at your fears or failures or to some inner strength.  You have none!  Look to Christ!  Know that you have been buries with Jesus, your sinful guilt washed away, and the sin’s mastery over you buried in Him.   United to Christ in your baptism, you have been raised up in the power of His resurrection and you now have the power to overcome the power of sin. 

(Romans 6:8-11 ESV)  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  (9)  We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  (10)  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  (11)  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

            Luther had this to say to that wonderful verse:

“Sin will not have dominion or triumph over those who do not want it to, although it will do battle against them and oppose them.  But Christ, in John 16:33, gives you this comfort, ‘In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’  It is as if He were saying: ‘My victory will be your victory, if you believe.’”

            As we look to Christ, we know that the devil can accuse us of no sin, for we are covered in the very righteousness of Jesus.  As we look to Christ, we know that the world shall not prevail against us for He has overcome the world.   As we look to Christ, we know that our Old Adam will have no dominion over us, for we belong to Jesus and He will help us daily to crucify the sinful flesh and instead raise up the New Person everyday for thankful living and loving service to our neighbor.    We rejoice, for we know that even death cannot overcome us, for death has lost its sting and can no longer truly touch us.  Rather, we who have been raised to new life in Christ live forevermore with Him now and into eternity.   His victory is for us!  Amen

 

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