Bible and cross

This past Sunday, the United States women’s national soccer team defeated the Netherlands 2-0 to claim the Women’s World Cup soccer title. It was a victory we can all celebrate, whether you’re a soccer fan or not. Unfortunately, as we all know, victory celebrations don’t last forever.

No matter how often your favorite team wins a championship, the joy of victory is quickly forgotten as we get back into the routine of day to day life. But God’s Word tells us about a victory celebration that doesn’t end. In 1 Corinthians 15:57, the Bible says, “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

To win a victory, we first need an opponent to compete against. In this case the opponent was sin and death. Sin is a relentless opponent. Every day we are surrounded by countless temptations to disobey the will of God. We find temptations on television, the internet and anywhere we go in this world. We can’t escape sin no matter where we go. In Psalm 51:5, the Bible says, “Surely I was sinful from birth. Sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

Sin is a part of us when we enter this world, and it remains a part of us as long as we live. We can fight against the temptation to sin all we want, but in the end sin claims the victory over us all. In Romans 5:12, the Bible says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in the same way death came to all because all sinned.”

Finally, sin leads to death. Death leads to an eternal separation from God in the life to come.

But in 1 Corinthians 15, the Bible tells us how God overcame sin and death for us. We couldn’t defeat these enemies, so God chose his Son to take the battlefield for us. God had the perfect battle plan. Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, would first live a life without sin in our place. Then Jesus would carry the burden of our sins for us and endure the punishment our sins deserved.

By his death on the cross, he won the full forgiveness of all our sins. Then to prove his victory was complete, he rose from the dead. As a result, God’s Word proclaims in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?”

Death has no victory to celebrate. It will still claim us at the end of our earthly lives, but, through faith in Jesus, death won’t defeat us. We have the sure promise of eternal life with him in heaven. It’s a victory that cannot be taken away.

Those who trust in Jesus Christ as their only Savior have the sure promise that his victory over sin and death is also their victory. Through Jesus, this victory is yours, now and forever: “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Rev. Greg Tobison is pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Hutchinson.

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