Summary: Proper 12 (A) Christ has won victory over sin, death, and all things. We are in Him, and have His victory. Therefore, we may live boldly in daily Christian Life.
May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
“Victory in Jesus”
V is for Victory. Victory is the focus, the goal, of every athlete and every warrior. Soon our high school boys, the (name of local team) will be on the practice field. They will be practicing their sport because they are seeking victory. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines drill, and train, and drill some more. They seek victory in their mission. For them victory, or the lack of it, can have life and death consequences. So too for us. Victory in the Christian life can have life and death consequences. It is in our best interest to reflect briefly on our “Victory in Jesus.”
In this reading, Chapter 8 of Romans, St Paul tells us about the victory we have in Christ Jesus about that victory that we may know it and live in it, more fully and more deeply. Today we will look at three aspects or qualities about the victory we have received in and from our Lord.
First, we see that the victory we have in Christ is a completed victory. Paul writes, "those He called, He justified, and those He justified, He glorified." Notice the word is He glorified, past tense. Not He will glorify, future tense. What does that mean? It means that God’s redemption of us and our victory in Jesus is not something to come. We do not have to wait for our daily walk of faith to improve to be gloried. Nor do we have to wait until this life is ended, as if we are only glorified when we “enter into glory” as it is sometimes called. No, it is a victory now. It is a completed victory. As baptized and redeemed sons and daughter of God, living under Christ in His kingdom, you are already victorious. You have victory in Jesus.
Let’s look again at Paul’s words. He writes that God foreknew, (past tense), that He predestined, (past tense), He called, (past tense), He justified (past tense), and He glorified (past tense). All of these are past tense. They are all completed actions. You were and are called by the Holy Spirit. How do you know? You were and are baptized into Christ. For we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ or come to Him. (Sm Catechism, Third Article) Yet, You believe. Why? The Holy Spirit has called you. You are called and you are justified. It is a completed victory. You need not work your way up a ladder to justification. Christ cried out from the cross, “It is finished.” You are fully and completely justified in Him. Your calling, your justification, and your glorification are simultaneous. They occurred together at the same time. You were justified in baptism, and in that baptism you entered in glory – the glory of victorious life in Christ.
Let’s look at the text again. It does not say, those He called He will then justified, and those He justified He will later finally glorify. It is not a case of first this, then that. All are past tense. Your victory in Christ is a completed victory.
Well then, if this is all past tense, all completed, why do I see sin in my life? Why do I not feel glorified? Because you and I live in time in this world. God is eternal. His Word is eternal and His promise is sure. Look at a flower. See how the flower grows, and then it buds, and then it blooms. You and I don’t see the beauty, the glory of the flower, until it is fully blossomed. But we also know that the glory of that flower was fully there in that unopened flower bud. It only needed to grow and unfold. In fact, the glory of that flower was fully complete, fully there, in the flower seed. We could not see that glory when it was only a seed. It surely didn’t look glorious. But the glory that God created in and through that flower, was already complete and done, before it was even planted. That seed was predestined to be a flower.
I do not always act as one already glorified by God. But you and I live in that victory of glory in Christ. It is a completed glory, one that continues unfolding day by day as we live in the love of Christ.
Our victory in Jesus in not only a completed victory, it is a confronting victory. Life is full of confrontations. Paul tells us that we will have confrontations. His question, “Who can bring a charge against God’s elect” does not mean there will be no confrontation, no charge. For the adversary confrontation us daily, trying to charge us with our sins. He seeks to condemn and destroy us. But we live in Christ, and in Him we have a confronting victory. Paul’s questions, “Who can charge?” and “Who can condemn?” are not seeking information. Paul knows who the condemner is, the old evil foe. Nor is Paul saying there will be no charge or condemnation hurled by that foe, our flesh, or the world against us. Paul is saying that those charges and condemnation are a nothing. For God has justified. No charge or condemnation by the enemy or by the world, or by our own flesh can overcome God’s justification. We are justified by the death of Christ. “Wait,” Paul writes, there is more. Lest any false prophet claim that he died for us – for any man can die – we are justified by the Christ who died, and who rose again, and is at the right hand of the Father. The Creed that we confess is not made up words. It is Scripture in condensed form. It is from this text and others that we say, “He is seated at the right hand of the Father.”