As I’ve mentioned the last couple of weeks… I talk to a lot of people who claim to be believers in Christ, but seem to have more defeats than victories, They are constantly recounting the details of their latest trial, latest hardships or their latest burdens. From their perspective, the enemy is always on the offensive, and they are always on the defensive, struggling just to survive and make it through another day.

I see this quite often and it’s sad, it should not be. There are millions of people who have been deceived in the worst possible way, to quite literally spend their entire lives being subjugated by an already defeated fore. A foe who has been completely beaten and spoiled by Jesus Christ Himself.

Today what I want to share with you, is the victory (yes, victory!) that you have in Christ today, right now. Not sometime later when you get to heaven, but right now today in this world. And by seeing this, you will not need to live another single second in defeat. You will no longer be held hostage by a powerless enemy any longer.

So as I mentioned, I  talk to people quite often are still living in defeat. Who spend each and every day being beaten down and held captive by a completely powerless foe. This happens, because of nothing other than deception and lies. These precious people, have been deceived to believe that their victory has not actually happened yet! They are still waiting for it! They have been taught that their victory will only come after they leave this earth and are taken up into Heaven. They believe that this world is still under control of the devil and that they are powerless to do anything about it down here, so they just wait and suffer every day, until one-day they will finally have their victory in Heaven.

This lie is so very damaging and deadly, because it has resigned literally millions of people to a weak and defeated existence, when Jesus has in-fact given us power and victory – and He wants us to make use of it now!

If you simply take a step back and think about it for a minute, there is no need for us to have authority and victory up in Heaven! There are no enemies to tread on up there! There are no gates of hell for us to storm up in Heaven! No, my friend… the conquering and storming that we are to be doing over the enemy, is for the here and now – so that we can set as many people free of the enemy now and today! But as mentioned, because of the lie, millions are not doing that – they are just sitting by and waiting as helpless, letting a defeated enemy walk all over them, and actually telling others how they are constantly being beaten down, and getting sympathy for it!

Do you see how destructive and evil this lie is? And how it is destroying lives?

Well today it stops. So let’s not waste any more time, and see what scripture says, starting with 1st Corinthians 15:53-58:

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.

O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Now, when most people read these verses, they immediately think of the resurrection that is going to occur in the future. This is how I heard it all of my younger life as well. However if we just assume that is all that is meant here, then we are missing something large.

You see, Paul uses this same language of “putting on…” in many of his letters, and specifically when talking about our victory, and putting on incorruption, I believe we have missed what he is saying.

Let me ask you a simple question: when do we put on incorruption?

Most people, without even thinking, would just assume that it is at the resurrection. However, I want you to stop and actually think for a moment… Who is the incorruptible One? That’s Jesus!

When did you put on Jesus? And that, dear friend, is the point which I would like us to consider first.

Consider the following verses where Paul uses the same language, as an example:

Romans 13:14:

But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

Galatians 3:27:

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

So we can see from these verses, that the putting on of Christ is not something that happens later when we get to Heaven; it’s not something that we wait for, but it is something that happens in the here and now as we believe in and on Christ Jesus.

Furthermore, we read this, in 1st Peter 1:22-23:

Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and stays for ever.”

And now the connection is made even more clearly. We have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible. By the Word of God (that’s Jesus) who lives and stays forever.

Even Romans 1:19-23 speaks about the idolaters, who exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for their idols instead.

So, with this understanding, returning to our verses from 1st Corinthians 15, and looking at verse 2, we see this:

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.”

This is a reference to the prophecy of Isaiah 25; a prophecy which details the redemption of God’s people… which naturally was fulfilled by Jesus on the cross! Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and the ushering in of the New Covenant, death has been completely swallowed up in victory. We have died with Christ and we are raised with Him as New Creations (Romans 6:8-11). This is something we are to account as being done now – not something we are still waiting for…and this is the key to it all.

The enemy, who has already been spoiled and defeated by Christ Himself (Colossians 2:15) has very cleverly used deceit to cause people to subjugate themselves to him in ignorance, because we don’t know who we are, and we don’t know what Christ actually accomplished for us!

Jesus has given us the best possible gift: Himself! He has given us His incorruption! This is why the scripture tells us over and over again, in a bunch of different ways, to “put on Christ”, that “we are one with Him”, we are “in Christ” – the scripture literally shoves it in our face again and again! And we still find ways to miss it and ignore it, because mainstream Christianity has forgotten this essential truth. And people are dying because of it!

So in closing today, let’s examine the final three verses of our text from 1st Corinthians 15, and see what this victory is, and how to avail ourselves of it.

1st Corinthians 15:56-58:

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

I’ve mentioned this before, and just as an aside – notice what the strength of sin is… it’s the Law, that is the Old Covenant Law of Moses. We have largely forgotten this important truth as well. Most church leaders today, will try to curb sinful behaviors by preaching more Law – and they are actually making sin stronger every single time they do that, because the strength of sin is the Law!

The solution, dear church leaders, is not more Law – the solution of more of Jesus! More of His Grace! It is the mercy, the goodness, the Grace of God that leads people to repentance (Romans 2:4, Psalm 130:4).

Furthermore, look at what verse 57 says: But thanks be to God, which gives gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Instead of complaining about all of the things the enemy is doing, it’s time for us to realize that we have the victory. And how did it come? We didn’t earn it. We didn’t suffer for it. We didn’t buy it. He gave it to us! And since we didn’t merit it, it means we can’t demerit it either!

Now, very important… notice the channel by which this victory comes: through our Lord Jesus Christ. There are a lot of people trying to self-earn their victory and blessings by trying to work for Jesus… but again, He gives us the victory as a gift… it comes through Jesus not for Jesus.

This just solidifies our point. Your victory comes through Jesus, when you actually put on His incorruption – which if you recall, happens when you actually believe on Christ, and what He has done, personally for you. Putting on Christ is a personal thing. The moment when you truly believe and receive the sacrifice of Jesus for you, personally. When you can truly look in the mirror and see yourself as forgiven, righteous and holy, not because you were such a good person in your behaviors, but because of what Christ did for you on that cross! Recognizing that it was actually for you… the old you is dead and gone, and you are now a new creation in Christ – and all that is included with that is yours!

And this flows right into verse 58:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Once you realize that you are God’s beloved, be steadfast and unmovable in that. Don’t let anyone or anything move you from this place of peace in Christ and the reality of your status in Him. Don’t ever let anyone preach that out of you either (many will try!).

Be always abounding, be always filled and overflowing in the work of the Lord. Notice that this is not your work, this is not your efforts, this is not the work of your strength or skill or intelligence… this is the work of the Lord. Which again, is from the previous verse, the finished work of Jesus on the cross!

And know that your labor is never in vain in the Lord… and really quickly, what is our labor today? We labor to enter His rest (Hebrews 4:11), to stand against the lies of the enemy and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2nd Corinthians 10:5). And again, notice that it is not our own obedience… but it’s the obedience of Christ!

Do you see how this all revolves around Jesus and His finished work?

So I encourage you today… You have victory, because Jesus Christ gave you Himself, and He gave you His own incorruption, for you to put on right now today! There is no reason to wait another single second. Put on Christ today, and enjoy the victory Jesus bought and paid for you to have.

Be blessed.

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