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The Basis of Victory
by David A. DePra
In the article, "The Proving of Faith," we saw seen that God’s goal in a trial of faith is to PROVE the Truth is the Truth, and to therefore PROVE our faith was valid. This is really nothing more than saying that God wants to establish US in the Truth. He wants to reveal in us TRUTH HIMSELF, and build in us a relationship of faith that cannot be moved.
The grounds of faith is the Truth. Only to the degree that you know the Truth can you believe and stand in the Truth. That is because the Truth is a Person, and faith is a relationship of trust in Him.
But once we see the goal of God, the goal of the enemy ought to be clear: He wants to get us to DENY the Truth. He wants to convince us that the grounds for our faith is a lie. Thus, the battle of spiritual warfare is on.
A Fundamental Issue
There is a key to victory in all spiritual warfare. The key, as just noted, is Truth. Without this key, we are never going to make it. With it, nothing will move us. Without it, the enemy will have a field day with us. With it, the enemy has no chance. What is this key? Just this: The finality of the Cross; the finished work of Christ.
At this point, I am talking to saved people. If you are saved, YOU GOT THAT WAY by embracing the Cross. If you think you are saved, but never came to terms with the Cross, you had better backtrack. You must bring your sin and your self to the Cross and relinquish your life to Christ through repentance. Then you will be raised to newness of life.
That is basic gospel. But it is precisely because it is basic that it forms the foundation of our faith – not only for salvation, but for the entire Christian life. It is on the grounds of the Cross of Jesus Christ that we enter into LIFE, and it is on those same grounds that we stand by grace before God to LIVE that LIFE. And it is in a trial of our faith that we need to see the Cross more than at any other time.
The Christian life is a process of growth. It is a process of, "working out our salvation with fear and trembling." In other words, we are saved all at once. But then we have to spend the rest of our time living out that salvation. In short, we have to become living evidence of the risen Christ.
Now, I say this because I want to emphasize that the very definition of a Christian is one who stands on the basis of what Jesus has done in His redemptive work. If Christ is in you, you did come to the Cross, and you were raised in union with Him. Thus, you DO have some knowledge of this Truth if you are a Christian. You may not know by heart the theology of the redemption, or be able to lay out all of the Bible verses. You may even be mistaken about many facets of the Redemption. But nonetheless, if you have Christ in you, you had SOME knowledge of the Truth, and SOME faith in Him. You could not be saved otherwise.
The reason I want to establish this fact is that I want us to see that every Christian, no matter how ignorant they are, and no matter how backslidden they may be, and no matter how perplexed and down under a trial they are, does have the foundation of the Redemption. That Redemption is WHY they are in Christ. Thus, the weakest and most ignorant of us do have some grounds for our faith. If we are saved, we have it.
But the good news is, if we are in Christ, we have, in the finality of the Cross, the only grounds we really need. Indeed, we stand on the only ground THERE IS! I’m not saying that there isn’t an on-going revelation of Jesus Christ that we all need – indeed, this is a huge part of God’s purpose in our lives. I’m not talking about anything right now except the basis of everything in the Christian life: The finished work of Christ. I am saying that the Cross of Jesus Christ is the only ground we need, and it is the only ground that will do. And if you really are born again, then have some apprehension of that Truth. You stand on that ground. You could not be born again otherwise.
Now, all of that is vital to see. For it is in a trial of faith that we must make appeal to this ground of the Cross. For if we have nothing else in a trial, we have THAT – and it is the basis for everything else. I may be perplexed, but I do not stand before God on the basis of my understanding. I may continue to fail in many ways, but my stand in grace never depended upon my success. Again – no matter where I am in my Christian experience, and no matter what got me there, if I am in Christ, I GOT THAT WAY on the basis of His finished work. I have that ONE TRUTH to stand in by faith -- if I have nothing else. And the fact is, that one Truth really is, at the end of the day, the ONLY Truth that will get me through.
The reason that this is so important is that, by definition, the trial of faith is going to attack this very Truth of the Cross. But not directly. Rarely will the enemy come and try to get you to believe that Christ did not die for you. But what does happen in a trial of faith is that the enemy will try to convince you that God is not WITH YOU.
Can we see that this really IS an attack on the Truth of the Cross? Sure. Why? Because the Cross is WHY God is with me. Thus, if God is not unconditionally with me, then the Truth of the Cross is a lie.
Can we see this? It is all or nothing. It is the Truth of the Cross that gives me the absolutely certainly that GOD IS WITH ME. Thus, any suggestion otherwise is an attack on the Truth of the Cross.
Now, this also shows us the necessity of standing by faith on the grounds of Christ’s finished work. For if the Cross is WHY God is with me, then the ground for my stand against the lies of the enemy is that same Cross. Any time the enemy suggests that God is not with me, I can always go back to the finished work of the Cross. Indeed, rather than, "go back," I ought to never leave it! Again – it is the basis of my faith if I am born again.
God IS With You
If you see the Truth about the finality of the Cross, you will know that no matter what may be happening, and no matter how big of a failure you are, and no matter how circumstances seem to contradict the faithfulness of God – it is nevertheless an eternal reality that CHRIST IS IN YOU – and nothing can separate you from God. GOD IS WITH YOU. He is with you – not on the basis of your understanding, your sins, your faith, or your stature. He is with you on the basis of the Cross. And nothing can change this.
Some people may wonder why this is so important to emphasize. They will find out some day when they are tried. The Devil will attempt to undermine everything about your faith. And if you do not grasp the basis of your faith – the very foundation upon which you stand, you will never know the stakes, and never be able to get through. But if you are grounded in this great Truth, then any attempt by the Devil to undermine it will fail.
As I said otherwise, the Devil isn’t normally going to come and try to get you to directly deny that Christ died for you. But what he will do amounts to the same thing. For when you are in a trial of faith, isn’t the question whether God is with you? Doesn’t it come down to that in the end? Isn’t your greatest fear that somewhere you may have missed the boat, gotten out of God’s will, and have no way back? Are you not troubled by the suggestion that it is up to you to figure out what to do to get out of the trial, and to figure out God Himself, or everything is lost? Are you not tormented by the fear that maybe you don’t have enough faith to find God in this trial? You see, all of this really does come back to whether the Lord is with us on the basis of what Christ has done – rather than on the basis of who we are. THAT is the basic question.
The answer is the Cross. It is the only answer, and the full answer. If you are paying attention to yourself, you will find that the moment you begin operating from the premise that GOD IS WITH YOU no matter what – on the basis of Christ – you are able to come out from under the defeat of the trial. Despite still being IN the trial, you come above the trial.
But on the other hand, you will find that the moment you begin to doubt that God is with you – on the basis of Christ – everything comes in and crushes you. Your whole ground for standing is swept out from under you.
There are reasons for this. We stand only by faith in the Truth. It is by faith that we open and close doors to our mind and heart. The moment you stand in that basic Truth of the Cross, you know that there is NO condemnation for those in Christ. You know that nothing can separate you from God. And you know that you need not do anything to make God be with you, because you know He already is because of Christ.
And as I stated before, if you are saved, you do have some knowledge of this. It may not be much, but you have some. That is the place to start.
Herein we see the glory of God’s purposes. God may allow a trial in our lives for the very purpose of pressing us back to this foundation of the Cross. Perhaps the finished work of Christ has only been to us a doctrine. Maybe we don’t think it has any significant in the Christian walk, but is only the means of salvation. A trial of faith will press us to God. It will create a situation where only a revelation of the Truth in Christ will do. And often, that revelation will involve talking our elementary knowledge of the Cross and enlarging it to the point where our stand by faith becomes more of something we LIVE, rather than just talk about.
If you are in a trial, much of your faith is going to be tested. But if you have the foundation of Christ crucified, you will stand. The storms may come. But any house of faith built upon Christ will, in the end, not be moved.
All or Nothing
The question of whether God is with us in a trial is really a question about the nature of Christianity itself. Christianity is an ALL or nothing reality. If Christ is in you, God is with you. There is no middle ground. Therefore our problem is not whether God is with us on the basis of His Son. Our problem is whether we believe it. And if you see what I’m getting at, we have just defined the ground of spiritual warfare.
The very nature of a trial is that it will seem as if God is NOT with you. But despite the fact that we usually don’t think that through to what it really suggests – the reality of the Redemption in our lives – the Redemption is really the question. For as I said, if God is NOT with us, even despite ourselves, then Christ won nothing. But if He is with us, then the grounds for victory are eternally established.
Can we see built into this one question – whether the Lord is with us – is a large part of our walk by faith? Can we see that our relationship with God hinges on this one question alone? Sure. If God is not with us – always – then there is no Christian life. In that case, we are on our own. That is because our relationship with God is based on the finished work of Jesus that made us one with God. You cannot relationship with God without the Redemption.
Many Christians do not question the fact of their salvation. But often they will question whether God is with them – because there is so much in a trial that suggests He ISN’T. Condemnation, fear, unbelief, and depression – not to mention the circumstances of life – may all seem to PROVE God could not be with a Christian. What is the answer? Well, you may not be able to explain the WHY of a trial. Or think your way through it. But if you are in Christ, you have the basis of the Cross. And despite everything else, that is all the Truth we need to know that God is with us through His Son Jesus.
This is precisely why the Devil attacks us on that point. We stand or fall under the trial based on whether our faith is based on the finished victory of Jesus Christ.
An Attack on Christianity
The attacks of the enemy are always subtle. He does not come and say, "Christ did not die for you!" No. But what he does do is come and say, "What is happening in your life proves that Christ is not with you. You are out of God’s will and there is no way back!" And yet if that is possible for a Christian, then Christ did not die for us! Can we see that? For if Christ did die for us, and we are saved, then Christ is ALWAYS with us.
But what if we really ARE out of God’s will? Well, if Christ is in us – even if we are out of His will – Christ will work to get us back in! And if Christ is in us, there is always a way back! Thus, all of these lies of the enemy which say that Christ is not with us are based on a bigger lie --- that the Redemption of Christ means nothing for us, and that we have no victory at all because of Him.
As stated earlier, when things go wrong in life, what is called into question? Often, whether the Lord is with us. We question that. We wonder whether, because of our faults and failures, that God has been justified in standing aloof from us. Or we wonder whether we have somewhere along the way missed the boat completely. We look at circumstances in life and cannot imagine how these things could be if God were REALLY faithful to us, or if we were really faithful to God. After all, God cannot lie or be unfaithful, so if things are going wrong, it must be OUR fault. Right?
When we start down this faulty road, we are really saying that our interpretation of life, and our reaction to life, is the Truth, and that what God says is not the Truth. We bypass what God has said and instead build our case upon what we think, feel, and understand. The enemy is able to have a field day with this routine. In reality, the only Truth in us is the Truth God has put there, and the rest, no matter how certain it seems to be, is NOT the Truth. And what God has said is that no matter what the facts suggest, He IS with us. No matter how far away God seems to be, He is in us. And no matter how we feel, interpret life, or react to life, Jesus Christ has redeemed us and nothing can separate us from Him.
The good news is that if we stand upon the finished work of Christ – and base our faith that God is with us on THAT BASIS alone – we will be proved right in the end. It will be proved that despite everything, God was always with us.
But don’t misunderstand. The trial of faith isn’t simply to prove God right, or to prove that we were right to trust Him. That is part of it, but not yet the point. The trial of faith does all of that, but more, the trial of faith provides the fire by which what we believe about God is refined into a living relationship with Him.
We all give assent to may doctrines and teachings. We all embrace what we read in books and in the Bible. And if those things are telling the Truth about God, then this is good. But is that really faith? Is it really seeing the Truth?
No. Not yet. All of those things have to be proven true so that our faith might become solid and real. And the only way this can happen is if they are tested by trial and contradiction.
Can we now see how a trial of faith PROVES the Truth, and PROVES our faith? Sure. In a trial of faith we face all of the questions and challenges TO the Truth and our faith. But if we stand on the foundational basis of the finished work of Christ, God will reveal to us His Son. Then the Truth will be proven to be the Truth. And our faith will be shown as sane – based in the Truth.
All of our faith must operate from the premise of the Cross, and we can always come back to it again and again AS our grounds for faith. The finished work of Christ is the foundation of our faith.
The Blood of the Lamb
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Rev 12:10-11)
Here we see some scriptural basis for everything we have been saying. The ground of our victory over the enemy is the Blood of the Lamb. But it will do us little practical good unless we believe and actually stand on that ground by faith. This is what is meant by the phrase, "the word of their testimony." The death of Christ for us is an objective, historical FACT. But through faith, it must become our testimony – one we live and one we wear.
Notice, however, the third MEANS of overcoming the enemy that is mentioned in this verse: They loved not their lives unto the death." What death? The death of our self into the hands of God! The death of our agenda, stipulations, and boundaries. The death of OUR WILL in the matter. We cannot stand by faith on the ground of the Cross – but then dictate to God what the outcome will be. No. If we are going to stand on the basis of the Cross, it will be ALL or NOTHING. The Cross overcomes the enemy – but only because we DIE. We will have to unconditionally surrender ourselves to God.
But even this is good news. For if there is one thing that troubles us in a trial, it is the question as to whether we are out of God’s will, and don’t know it. Often the enemy will use this as a basis for condemnation, and try to convince us that we don’t merit the help of God. But God never said we merited His help. In fact, we are being told, right here in Revelation, that we need only stand on the ground of the Blood, and in doing so, have a word of living testimony to that Blood. But we must do this in a complete surrender to God. In other words, we are trusting that even if we ARE out of God’s will, and totally deceived as to what He is after in the trial, we are trusting – through a surrender to Him unto death – that He will reveal EVEN THIS to us, and provide us with a revelation that will get us back on course.
Can we see that we can turn to God wherever we are? Right AS we are. We cannot change the historical past, but we can turn to God in it, and then He will change US.
On the basis of the Blood of the Lamb, God is with us as much as He ever can be. He will start over again with us every hour if necessary. But He is not with us unto our ends. He is with us on HIS TERMS. God’s terms are that we relinquish our entire selves to the same Cross that we stand upon by faith. For it is a fact that if we lose our lives – by, "not loving our lives unto the death" – that we will find them in Christ. But is this not the very definition of VICTORY and OVERCOMING? That is exactly what John says.
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