From Victim to Victor

Victory Through Light

Light has very much to do with victory.

John's gospel begins with verses wherein Jesus is there referred to as the Word, the Light, and the only begotten of the Father.

John  1: 1-9, 14
He is said to contain life and be full of grace and truth. And he radiated glory—the glorious light of the Father. He shone in the darkness of this sinful world, but the darkness could not quench or diminish his Light. He came as the true Light (not false lights that dazzle and lead astray), and he lights everyone who comes into the world. His light shines to everyone. But not all respond to that light in a way that leads to victory.

In John 3: 19-21, Jesus talks about the difference between believers, and nonbelievers who remain condemned. We all start out condemned because "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3: 23). But those who respond in faith to the Light of Jesus, are transported from condemnation (darkness) to salvation (light). They have the promise of eternal life. (See John 3: 14-16.)

Jesus spells it out for us: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in God" (John 3: 19-21).

Thus, we have a choice to make: light or darkness, belief or unbelief, victory or victimhood. God leaves the choice to us. We must choose wisely.
 

In John 8: 12, Jesus proclaims, "I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." To follow Jesus brings victory—the victory of walking in light. It is a victory over darkness.

In John 12: 35, 36, and 46, we see more about this, as Jesus tries to prepare the disciples for his coming crucifixion: "Then Jesus said unto them, 'Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you. For he that walks in darkness doesn't know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. . . I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on me should not abide in darkness." While we have light, while it is on our hearts, we must respond.

Responding to Jesus as Light, believing in him, brings victory. Walking in Light brings a full and complete victory.


What is a full and complete victory?

Full and Complete Victory

A thorough answer to that question would require pages and pages. Such a victory includes mastering our emotions and desires so that we do not sin or violate God's code of righteousness; learning to deal with past and present things done to us by others or by nature (for example, house flooded, etc.); never giving in to the devil's temptations to sin, fear, or doubt; and knowing that we are secure in Christ and bound for heaven.

Rom. 8: 35, 37
In Rom. 8: 37, we see that we are "more than conquerors through him that loved us." The "all things" in that verse refer to the things listed in verse 35, where the question is raised "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" All of the things listed would try to separate us. But none of them can. They can only work for our good (v. 28), as God makes and keeps us conquers over those would-be enemies. Additionally,
there are ten more things listed in verses 38 and 39, which cannot separate us from God's love or from the victory we have in Jesus.

As we read the list in vs. 35, 38, and 39, we can substitute words used today. These are all things that we could be a victim to or of, but, because of Jesus's sacrifice for us as the ultimate Victim, we can be victors over:
 
Troubles
Abuse
Hunger
War
Poverty
Danger 
Criminals
Pressures of Living
Demons
Heights
False Lights
 
Hardship
Depression
Bukkying
Confusion
Homelessness
Terrorists
Death
Angles
Powerful People
Depths
Darkne
Prosperity
Health
Hopelessness
Chaos
Brokenness
Sickness
Trauma
Memories
Future Evenys
Anything not listed


 

We also have victory over sin and death. 1 Cor. 15: 57, talking about sin and death, proclaims "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." In 1 John 5: 4-5, we read that we have victory over the world if we're born of God (i.e., "born again.") Faith in Jesus is "the victory that overcomes the world." That victory rests on the fact that Jesus overcame the world, as he says in John 16: 33: "Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." Our victory over the devil is certain, as we see in Rom. 16: 20. Again, that's because Jesus defeated the devil at Calvary (Col. 2: 14, 15).

And that brings us back to the secret to our transformation from victim to victor. We saw that believing in Jesus brings us into the true light and to a full and complete victory.
 


But what does Jesus have to do with being a victim?

Victima vicit (Latin, “the victim has conquered”)

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly came to earth as a human baby, grew to manhood, taught and worked miracles for three years, and then allowed himself to be nailed to a cross in a public execution, while the criminal Barabbas was set free. Jesus was the victim, the perfect Lamb of God, of whom John the Baptist had declared three years before, "Behold, the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world" (John 1: 29). The name "Barabbas" means "son [child] of father" – hence, every human, because we all have a biological father. Thus, the Son of the Father (God) became a sacrificial victim in place of us all—setting us free.

John 10: 10-11
The Israelites, the people of God, knew full well what that expression meant, for their rituals included sacrificing sheep and other animals for forgiveness of sins. They did it to foreshadow this ultimate sacrifice to forgive sins and to conquer sin and
death. Even the pagans practiced animal sacrifice (and some did human sacrifice), as they sought the good favor of their false gods. The idea of the necessity of a sacrifice is inherent in humans. This is why God planned that his Son, Jesus, would become the Victim, so that we could become victors.
 
How do we know this? 
God tells us. 

 

Because Jesus rose in triumph over the grave, we can rise with him. Indeed, we who believe in him are already "raised up together with him and seated in the heavenly places" (Eph. 2: 5-6). Spiritually, believers have already entered eternal life. This is possible because of the transfer which takes place when we are born again (see John 3: 5-7). There is a complete transfer of our sin to Jesus, and Jesus's righteousness to us, making us new. Paul writes about this marvelous exchange in 2 Cor. 5: 17, 21: "Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. . . For he (God) has made him (Jesus), who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

Is. 53: 5-7a
The prophet Isaiah wrote about this sacrifice 700 years before Jesus was born. Because of that, we know that Jesus was crucified in the plan and purpose of God.
That's why Jesus could say that no man was going to take his life, but he would lay it down of himself, but not be talking about committing suicide. He willingly went to the cross, as the perfect sacrificial victim. Moreover, he was buried, and God raised him from the dead, according to God's ultimate objective—to give us new life and to transform us from victims to victors.
 

Okay, but all that eternal stuff aside, don't many people overcome what was done to them and go on to be happy, productive people? Yes, of course. But how long does that victory last? At most, only to the grave. It is victory through self-effort. It may influence individuals in another generation or two, but in the light of eternity, it falls short of being a total and lasting victory. And it's only partial. Do we want a full and complete victory—over our weakness and past traumas and over the world's attacks?

Do we want the victory we read about earlier—victory over even death? It's a victory through light, a victory through faith, a victory that lasts forever because it is based on the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.


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