What is victory in Jesus for?

Paul tells us to be joyful and thank the Lord in everything.

One possible inference from this is that our lives are supposed to be perpetually exciting and always wonderful.

Just to state the obvious; this is not true.

To be more specific, God restores us and works through us as we faithfully continue in our labors.

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 ESV).

This passage on work reminds us of what the Apostle has already written in this letter:

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power (1.11)

And,

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word (2:13-17).

So the very tradition to which we must hold, and for which Paul prays that we may be established in every good work, is also a tradition that tells us to reject idleness and embrace work.

Our tendency to separate “good works” from “working for a living” is not helpful in most cases. Working for a living is one aspect of our good work in the Lord.

And it thus requires Gospel encouragement, which the Lord supplies in his word. For example:

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:54-58 ESV).

The point that may need emphasis, is that God does not redeem us from ordinary life to escape into a realm of supernatural power. He redeems us to be the powerful agents of change he created us to be in our ordinary work.

And God promises to give us rest.

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