God Giveth Us The Victory
J. T. Mawson
The life that overcomes was God's gift to us when we believed on our Lord Jesus Christ, for “the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23), and its greatest triumph, when at last we leave the field of conflict and depart this life to be with our Lord, is also God's gift to us, for we read, “Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Cor. 15:57). And, thanks be unto God His Word cannot fail us, we have taken our stand in fearless faith upon it, and this we 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 to it 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 greatest 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. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scripture,” and we can say “Thanks be unto God that giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
An old Christian, and a valued friend of mine in Adelaide, Australia, was stricken with paralysis, and it was clear that his service for Christ was done and his life on earth was 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. 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. But he could say nothing with his mouth; articulate he could not, yet they were not to be disappointed, 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 some deaf-mutes who lived near his home, 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 unto God, which giveth 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 them on me with a look of surprise that plainly said, “Who are you?” I said, “I have been giving some Gospel books to the men in this ward, but I am afraid you are too ill to read.” “Yes,” he answered slowly, “and the doctor says there's no hope for me, but I'm in the Lord's hands.”
I had not expected an answer like that from him; his words moved me, and brought the lump into my throat. When I was able to command my voice, I said: “Then you are in the very best possible hands, for He has said, ‘My sheep shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.'” “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 believeth 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 withdrew from his bedside and the last words that I heard from his lips were, “everlasting life.” No disappointment, defeat, dread, were at that lad's dying bed, but everlasting life—VICTORY. Yes, thanks be unto God who gives us the VICTORY.
Whether in the far north or under the Southern Cross whether with 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. Where then, O death, is thy sting, and where, O grave, is thy victory?
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, and the sky not the grave is our goal. 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, 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.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58