Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Victory! Our Hope in Christ
Terry R. Baughman
“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:54).
The perfect way to ruin a good book is to turn to the last chapter before you get there. Some readers become so anxious to know if their hero survives they cannot resist skipping over to read the final outcome. In movie reviews the words are chosen carefully to avoid giving away the story. Sometimes they will issue a spoiler alert if they are about to reveal something in the plot that may disclose an unexpected outcome. It is a warning that they are about to spoil the story.
There is one book that is designed to reveal what ultimately happens in the greatest drama of all times. That book is the Bible and the end is recorded in the Book of Revelation. It is intended to reveal the end, the final outcome. It was not intended to spoil the story, but to reveal value of faith and evidence of future grace. When John saw the Lord he said, “I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this’” (Revelation 1:17–19). He was instructed to tell the end, spoil the story, and share the outcome, “We win! Christ is victorious and we shall overcome!”
Many passages of scripture reveal the culmination of all things, letting us in on the secret that God is working with us and through us and He has already been in our future to assure us of the outcome. Paul expressed the hope we have in Christ, “Then the final stage of completion comes, when he will bring to an end every other rulership, authority, and power, and he will hand over his kingdom to Father God. Until then he is destined to reign as King until all hostility has been subdued and placed under his feet. And the last enemy to be subdued and eliminated is death itself” (1 Corinthians 15:24–26 TPT).
Death is our last enemy, but it has already been subdued. Its sting has been neutralized. Its doorway is not fatal; it is just a passage to a new and glorious reality. Jesus has gone before us. He tasted death for every individual and defeated it. Death is dead!
Jesus occupies the full spectrum of life. He initiates life and He suspends it. Jesus said, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts” (Revelation 21:6). Jesus is not just present with us but He exists in the end. He didn’t just read the back of the book, He wrote it! Jesus is, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). He has a plan for us right up to the final hour … then we will be with Him in Glory.
The ultimate triumph is the conclusion of death, hell, and the judgment. Jesus Christ came to set captives free, open prison doors, and deliver the oppressed. His plan is to bring about the final victory for us. We shall be victorious in Him!
I read the back of the book. Guess what? … spoiler alert …We win!
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).