A Season of Victorious Faith

Published on Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:00
Written by Stewardship Today Staff

A Season of Victorious Faith

From the Stewardship Today Archives: April 2009

     

In the course of the last solemn evening Jesus spent with his disciples in the Upper Room, the Lord prayed. The Gospel of St. John provides an extended prayer that began with a simple declaration of purpose. “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” Whether they fully understood the import of his words is certainly debatable, but the apostles were apparently present to hear a priestly prayer on their behalf and for all those whose presence in the Kingdom is attributable to their faithful service and ministry.

The small group of letters ascribed to the Apostle John that precede the close of the New Testament contain related words—among them a stunning statement of faith and spiritual understanding, ideas that connect the Father and the Son, those who belong to him—the children of God, love and obedience, and the nature of victorious faith. In the fifth chapter of the first of three epistles, we read the following: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the father loves also the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.”

We picture Christ on the cross, as St. Paul himself wrote, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” We picture the Lord in agony in the Garden, and we envision him victorious over all, having risen from the dead, appearing repeatedly to his followers in the days before the Ascension. And, those granted eternal life, those called the children of God, those blessed to know him, those who believe Jesus is the Son of God, those granted the gift of faith, those . . . well, those we picture victorious, too. Who are they? Who are we? By God’s grace and mercy, we are those who live victorious, for “the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” Jesus was crucified, died and was buried. Yet, we celebrate this Easter because we know he rose again from the dead—victorious. We rejoice because that victory purchased eternal life for us as well—truly a season of victorious faith.