As followers of Jesus Christ, we all want to live a triumphant Christian life. The Bible assures us that God and His Son Jesus are Victors and that believers can share in their victories: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). In a practical sense, how can we experience the victorious life that has been made possible in Christ? How can we achieve victory in Jesus?
Victory ultimately belongs to the Lord our God (1 Samuel 17:47). Since the days of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, whenever God’s people depended on Him alone, He gave them victory over their enemies (Exodus 15). Old Testament prophets consistently pointed to a future Savior who would bring the fullest expression of God’s triumph: “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9; see also Psalm 110:1). We know these prophecies refer to Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, who has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Jesus won the supreme victory at the cross. Sin was atoned for, and the power of sin and death was broken (see John 12:31 and 1 Peter 2:24). After Christ’s crucifixion and burial, He rose from the dead three days later, and now we share that victory. Satan thought he had won the ultimate contest with the death of Christ. Instead, that death released our chains, set us free from the prison of sin, and disarmed the supernatural powers of evil: “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:13–15).
The key to achieve victory in Jesus is faith in Christ: “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4–5; see also Romans 8:37). The first step to victory in Jesus is accepting Christ as Savior. We receive the Lord by grace through faith, and we live in His victory by grace through faith as well. Our salvation is a gift of God’s grace, and our victory in Jesus is a gift of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:4–8; Galatians 3:3).
What is the extent of Jesus Christ’s victory that He imparts to us? The victory that Jesus shares with us includes victory over the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Our Lord’s triumph over temptation and sin (Hebrews 4:15; see also Matthew 4:1–11) has become our victory as well: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24; see also Romans 5:20–21). The apostle John elaborates: “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:5–8).
Jesus has overcome Satan and the powers of evil (John 14:30; 16:11; Mark 1:23–27; Luke 4:33–36), and He shares that victory with us. Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:18–19; see also Ephesians 1:21–22). The writer of Hebrews explains that Jesus took on flesh and blood and shared in our humanity “so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14–15). We need not fear death or the devil because we share in Jesus Christ’s victory over them (Acts 2:24; Romans 6:9; 8:38–39; 2 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 1:18).
As long as we remain in this fallen world, we’ll still have struggles to overcome and battles to fight. At times we will fall and fail. But we continue to get back up, asking God to equip us with His grace and power to overcome (2 Corinthians 12:9). As believers, we fight our battles in the spiritual realm, on our knees: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3–4). God has given us spiritual armor to protect us from the powers of darkness that wage war against us (Ephesians 6:10–20).
Victory in Jesus is real and attainable now because our Lord Jesus has defeated Satan and every evil power of the world. We achieve victory in Jesus by resting in Christ (Matthew 11:28) and trusting Him to triumph for us (Romans 5:17). While we remain on earth, the Lord reigns victorious through those who have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and translated into His glorious kingdom of light (1 Peter 2:9). However, a day will come when the victories of Jesus will be fully realized and celebrated in the new heavens and earth: “He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 25:8).