But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
— Isaiah 53:10-12
I sometimes forget that this thing is a done deal. Complete. Over. Not a matter of outcome, but only a matter of time. Christ has seen all that has been accomplished by His anguish and He is satisfied. It isn’t lacking in any way. Not a thread of regret over missed opportunities exists in Jesus’ mind, for “It is finished.”
And because of that, in the words of Pastor Garner, “We fight from victory, not for victory.” Sure, there’s an enormous amount of work to be done and there are still many battles to fight. But this story’s final chapter has already been written and shipped to the publisher. No edits, appendices or epilogues are being accepted.
147 years ago to this day, the Battle of Gettysburg broke out in Gettysburg, Penn. Many historians consider it the turning point of the Civil War. Leading up to July, the South was on a roll and marching north, hoping to take the war into enemy territory. When the Union and Confederate forces collided in Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863, the Union would turn the tide of the war and send the Rebels back to Virginia no longer feeling invincible under General Lee.
A similar battle was won for us on Calvary some 2,000 years ago with an even more decisive victory. Our enemy was not just pushed back feeling vulnerable and unsure of victory, but Jesus “disarmed principalities and powers, [and] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15). He then rose again and “ascended on high, leading a host of captives in [His] train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there” (Psalm 68:18).
Probably the most effective strategy the enemy engages against me is to take my eyes off these truths laid out above: that because of the work of Jesus, everything has changed. We’ve won. And Satan’s head has been crushed.
An Age for the Ages
The age in which we’re living is the one foreseen by the prophets of old and is even a wonder to the angels themselves. This isn’t just “church”. This isn’t some religion. This isn’t a feel-good, bedtime story. This is the very mystery of God that was sealed up for ages and has been released in our time to be made known to not just man, but to even rulers and authorities in heavenly places (Eph. 3:7-10).
Peter tells us (1 Peter 1:10-12):
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Isaiah, one of the most gifted prophets ever, with the most revelatory insight into the Messiah, gazed upon those wonders for YOU and I. And those heroes of the Hall of Faith, who “were stoned… sawn in two… killed with the sword… of whom the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:37-38)? Though they are “commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:39-40).
WE ARE PART OF SOMETHING HUGE… THE GREATEST STORY OF ALL TIME! There are literally millions of saints, Jews and Gentiles alike, who are tuning in to our very lives on a day-to-day basis to see this thing brought to a close. Able. Enoch. Noah. Abraham. Isaac. Jacob. Joseph. Moses. Joshua. Samuel. David. Daniel. Isaiah. Jeremiah. Esther. John. Paul. Peter. All of them. The inheritance for which they all labored was purchased by Jesus and is being secured by us. We’re part of it. We have roles to play. Their faith is in a sense incomplete until it bears the fruit of the Bride of Christ.
That’s why the author of Hebrews follows up chapter 11 by saying: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” They’re banking on us to seal the victory and bring home the trophy. It’s a relay race and we’ve been handed the baton with the lead for the final leg of the race. We can’t get tripped up!
All of the created order—heaven and earth, angels and demons, animals and plants, ocean and desert—it all has a reverence and awe for mankind. While we rightly have our own reverence and awe for creation and its power, wonder and beauty, it’s actually designed to be the other way around. Creation is eagerly longing and groaning for us to fully realize who we are and secure our inheritance—creation itself! For when we do fill the earth and subdue it as God intended from the beginning, creation “will be set free form its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).
What does that even mean? Mankind is wasteful, greedy and destructive, right? What freedom can we actually offer creation? And what glory do we have that this world desires?
Those questions aren’t going to be addressed in this post, but they’re important to consider. For millennium, people have pondered the question, “What is the meaning of life?” And this is part of the answer. We were ultimately made to glorify God. And we glorify God as we fulfill the original intent for our existence, seen in God’s first directive to Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” Gen. 1:28). Our purpose is to co-labor with Christ as God’s adopted sons and daughters, ruling the Earth as God rules creation.
His kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.