Queen Victoria, being true to her name, said, “We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat.” Christians should say the same.
Jesus knew that he had done all that he needed to do on the cross. It was with a triumphant cry that he said “It is finished”. On that basis, having been “declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection” (Rom 1:4), he appeared to the disciples proclaiming that “all authority in heaven and on earth” had been given to him (Mt 28:18). He was not entertaining any possibility of defeat.
Since that glorious day, Jesus’ authority has been established over every atom of a rebellious universe. We look forward to his return, but we know he is not coming back to complete something he was unable to finish last time he was here. He will come to claim the fruit of an already-accomplished victory. His victory is not only assured; it is also acheived. It is finished.
Such confidence is in stark contrast to the pessimism that is prevalent both in the world and the church today. This matters. It is not a matter of idle speculation about how the future might pan out. It is on the basis of the confidence of his unassailable victory that we get our marching orders: “All authority is given... therefore go!” Hoping for victory in the future makes us tentative in the present, but believing in victory in the past motivates action in the present.
So we advance. The church may prefer the pastoral metaphor of retreats to the military metaphor of advancing, but we are called to be soldiers. As John Lofton said:
“Real Christians don’t retreat – they attack! No more get-togethers where we eat, meet and retreat. Now it’s snack, yak and attack!”
So in this, the seventh chapter of The Treasure in the Field, we will think about the Victory of the Kingdom. Here’s what we will see:
- Pessimism: its roots in the world and the church
- Victory: Jesus has won and we are winning
- Triumph in tribulation: living during through the death throes of a defeated devil