First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, Nov-Dec 1971, Vol. 49-6.
"Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord
Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast,
unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye
know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians
"Thanks!" "Victory!" The Apostle has been dealing with the most
formidable enemies of human hope and confidence. It is as though he
had called out these giants, arrayed them, and dealt very
effectively with every one, immobilizing them by the Cross of
The first one to be so dealt with is the formidable colossus of
condemnation - the law. No man could ever stand up to that vaunting
force. It had challenged every generation, and always rendered men
casualties and defeated. Indeed, in the sovereignty of God one
purpose of its existence was to expose the weakness and impotence of
man in his unregenerate state. But grace, the grace of God, in
Christ Jesus, manifested in fullness in Christ crucified and risen,
has slain the law's power of condemnation, and has risen over that
prostrate form with this exultant shout: "Thanks!" "Victory!"
"Through our Lord Jesus Christ!"
The strength of the law was sin and this monster son of that
"Goliath" was the next to be dealt with in this tremendous chapter.
What a force is sin! Every conceivable recourse has been made to
neutralize it: ceremonial righteousness; psychological
justification; philosophical reasoning; fatalistic evasion;
sublimation and ideological make-believe; to say nothing of the
agonies of struggle and striving. But sin remains victor of the
field. Do what you may, and call it what you will, it scorns all
efforts to put it off. Until Christ came and He was "made unto us
from God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption"; the
"Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" ... "Made sin
for us (in our stead) that we might be made the righteousness of God
through faith in him". "By his Cross he triumphed", and over that
grave the triumphant cry breaks forth: "Thanks!" "Victory!" "Through
our Lord Jesus Christ."
The law, sin, and the consummation of both - death! What an enemy!
What a power! In its own realm it is final, and hope is silent. It
is the refuge (?) of the hopeless and abandoned. And yet, it is not
numbed; it has a 'sting', and, inasmuch as it is an 'enemy', it is a
We will not enlarge upon this parent of sorrow, loneliness,
disappointment and desolation. Neither can it be dismissed by that
philosophy which says - to man in general - "there is no death".
But, says the Apostle, "death is swallowed up in victory"! "O death,
where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" It assailed the
incorruptible Son of God, and He turned and plucked its sting from
it. He, by dying, destroyed death for ever for all who put their
faith in Him. Over death He conquered by His resurrection; for "now
is Christ risen from the dead", the trumpet has sounded - "Thanks!"
"Victory!" "Through our Lord Jesus Christ!"
The Apostle does not stop there. He adds an inspiring, heartening
word of assurance for all who "labour" in "the work of the Lord".
"Wherefore..." 'Be not disconcerted by condemnation, by your own
consciousness of fault or imperfection; by the persistent thrusts of
the accuser; by the shortness of tenure to finish the work; by the
disappointments which time brings. Because of this universal triumph
of the One for whom you labour, "Be steadfast, immovable, always
abounding... inasmuch as you know that your labour is not in vain
in the Lord."'
"Thanks be to God!" "Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!"