If you are a sports fan, a word that may be near and dear to your heart is the word victory. The word “victory” means success in defeating an opponent. It means winning the game or the championship. Victory is sweet when it’s your team that has won. In warfare, it means winning the battle or the war against an enemy. In 1 Corinthians 15:57, Paul speaks about a victory. He gives thanks to God, to the One who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
But what is this victory that we have won, why was it necessary, and how did we win it? The victory that Paul refers to in that verse is the victory over sin and death. It’s a victory that was won on Calvary and will be made complete when Jesus returns to take His people with Him to heaven. It is a victory that was made necessary when sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden through man’s disobedience to God. And it’s a victory that we could never have won through our own strength.
Jesus Christ came to earth in order to secure our victory. He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins, taking our sins upon Himself in order to pay the price for those sins. The price for our sins was death. When Jesus breathed His last on the cross of Calvary, He took our sins with Him, washing us clean of the stain of those sins and enabling us to stand before the presence of God. That is when our victory began, but it didn’t stop there.
Jesus died and was buried in a tomb but, three days later, that tomb was empty. Jesus had risen from the dead. His resurrection was the next step in our victory, as Jesus conquered death. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, death no longer has a hold on us. Our mortal bodies will die, but we can have eternal life through Jesus, if we believe in Him and follow Him.
The victory over death will be made complete on the day that Jesus returns for us. On that day, a trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised, and we will be changed. The perishable body that we live in now will be replaced by one that is imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:52-53). Our mortal bodies will become immortal and as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:54, death was swallowed up in victory. And, what a sweet victory that is!