God Giveth us the Victory

The life that overcomes was God's gift to us when we received it at first through our Lord Jesus Christ, and its great triumph when at last we leave the field of conflict is also God's gift to us through our Lord Jesus Christ — so we learn from two texts of Scripture — Romans 6:23 and 1 Corinthians 15:57. And, thanks be to God, His Word cannot fail us, we may take our stand in fearless faith upon it, and this we do and will continue to do. His gift of life He will never recall, and in the life that He has given His saints must always triumph through Him that loves us. The final victory is over death — the last enemy. The King of Terrors we used to call it, but no longer does that name apply for the children of God, for death has met its Master — it is a defeated, throneless, crownless king; wrenched from its hands are the keys of its stronghold; annulled is its great power, and delivered are those who through fear of it were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For if by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection from the dead, and it is because Christ died and rose again that we have the victory.

An old Christian and a valued friend of mine in Adelaide was stricken with paralysis, and it was clear that his service for Christ was done and his life on earth drawing to its close. The last hour had come, and his family, Christians every member of it, were gathered in his chamber. The paralysis had robbed the dying man of the power of speech but not of his joy in the Lord; his family could see that and had no misgivings for him. Yet they longed for some final word, some cheer and comfort that would abide with them when he was gone, and it was quite natural and right that they should; and so in the hope that at the very last his speech might be restored to him they asked if he had anything to say to them. It was not to be, articulate he could not, nor did it matter, for his last word was to be given to them in a more deliberate and thrilling way than by mere speech. He had learned to spell out the deaf and dumb alphabet upon his fingers in order to preach the Gospel to deaf-mutes, and now this knowledge came into blessed use, for upon his fingers he spelt out one word — just one word, slowly and with emphasis — and his family, as they eagerly watched the dying fingers, read all they desired, for the word spelt upon them was G-L-O-R-Y. No wonder they were able to say, "Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"

I was spending some days in the city of Aberdeen, and having an afternoon at liberty, I went to the infirmary to visit one of the men's wards. Every bed in it was occupied, and I spent a few minutes chatting with each patient until I came to the last bed in the ward. Here was lying a youth who could not have been more than eighteen years of age. His eyes were closed and he looked very wan and ill. I sat quietly by his side until he opened his eyes and turned to me with a look of surprise that plainly said, "Who are you?" I said, "I have been giving to the men in this ward some Gospel books, but I am afraid you are too ill to read." "Yes," he answered, "and the doctor says there's no hope for me, but I'm in the Lord's hands." I had not expected that from him and his words moved me. "Then you are in the very best possible hands," I said, "for He has said, 'My sheep shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hands.'" "Yes, He did say that," he responded, "and, He also said, 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.'" Then he closed his eyes again, and as though oblivious of my presence he repeated to himself, "everlasting life, everlasting life," I left him repeating those two words — not disappointment, defeat, dread were at that lad's dying bed, but everlasting life — VICTORY.

Yes, whether in the far north or under the Southern Cross; whether with the youth in his teens, a babe in Christ, or in the septuagenarian who had known the Lord for half a century, the life is the same, and its victory is the same through our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is thus that His saints triumph one by one, and march in a continuous procession to be with Christ, which is far better; but we who are alive and remain are waiting not for death but for Himself, we have a blessed hope, it is the coming of Christ; for "we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY." That is our hope, and therein will be displayed the victory of God in which all His saints shall share, and the final triumph and blessedness of the life that overcomes.

[There are two versions of this article, with no significant differences.]