Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Defeat is Defeated
Terry R. Baughman
“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 NLT).
From a young age we are taught that victory is everything and losing is not an option. Competition is ingrained in almost every sporting event. Some may argue that they are only competing with the clock, but the winner is determined by who beat the clock the most, so there is still a competition with other individuals in the sport. There is merit to sportsmanship and playing just for the shear enjoyment of the game, but at the end of the day everyone wants to know the score and, “who won?”
Tournaments are determined by winners and losers. Championships are structured to eliminate the inferior teams or players and produce the best of the competition. The Olympics are held to showcase the best in each game, to reward the winners and eliminate the losers. Only one wears the gold, the silver, and the bronze, while everyone else looks on and vows to compete again in the next Olympics, or to give up the opportunity to try again.
Paul used the analogy of a race to the spiritual quest in which we are engaged. He said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:24–25 NIV).
In a way we are all in a competition. However, this competition is not to beat anyone or condemn another to be a loser, it is to win the prize of eternal life. This prize is available for all who runs, anyone who pursues the goal, for all who come to Him are promised the prize of everlasting life! Again, Paul said, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 NIV).
Our ultimate victory is the defeat of defeat! What Jesus provided through His death, burial, and resurrection is victory for every believer. His victory assures us of continual success. There is no adversity we cannot overcome, no discouragement that we cannot subdue, no death that can keep us in the grave. His victory promises that defeat will be defeated. Paul wrote of the ultimate culmination of Christ’s victory, “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:24–26 NIV).
The conclusion of the matter has already been declared. The last act will be the destruction of death itself. Death is our final enemy and will be as powerless as it was to prevent the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the garden tomb. A tomb outside of Jerusalem stands empty to this day as a testament of Christ’s victory over death.
Every believer who has died in the faith awaits that resurrection morning when the trumpet sounds. “The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 NKJ).
“We thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One” (1 Corinthians 15:57 TPT).