There’s an old song. The chorus goes,
O victory in Jesus, my Saviour, forever,
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him.
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood.
Usually sung just a little too fast as an aerobic workout – we like to keep our congregants fit as well as saved! Wonderful sentiments and powerful truths. But what is the origin of this victory? Or, where? Or, how? Perhaps the real question is “who?” In preparing for the new “Atonement” series in the Thames Valley church I’ve been refreshing my understanding of atonement ‘models’. This week’s focus is ‘Christus Victor’. Are you familiar with it?
The CV approach is to emphasise the defeat of Satan by Jesus. The world is under the devil’s sway (1 Jn 5.19), but Jesus has come to drive him out, disarm him and destroy his work (Jn 12.21; Col 2.15; 1 Jn 3.8). However, let’s be honest, it doesn’t always feel as if we are living victorious lives. I’m tempted, I sin, I’m not always the best disciple in my home let alone my town or country!
As John Stott puts it, “..though the devil has been defeated, he has not yet conceded defeat. Although he has been overthrown, he has not yet been eliminated.” (The Cross of Christ, IVP) Hence we live in the “already but not yet” time where the victory is assured and we share in it, but we do not yet see all of its fruits.
Thus we sing songs like the one above in faith. Joyful in anticipation of the fullness of it’s promise, while conscious of our struggle. Present difficulties are not an indication the victory is not won, they are the death-throes of a desperate devil. As Greg Boyd puts it, “Like an infinitely wise military strategist, God knew how to get His enemies to use their self-inflicted blindness against themselves and thus to use their self-chosen evil to his advantage. He wisely let evil implode in on itself, as it were, and thereby freed creation and humanity from evil’s oppression.” (The Nature of Atonement, IVP Academic)
What does “victory in Jesus” mean to you? How do you understand it? How do you experience it? Let me know by posting where you see this.
Until next time, may Christ’s victory be yours.
God bless, Malcolm
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1–2 NIV11)