With God we will gain the victory. Psalm 108:13
This month millions of people will spend time filling out NCAA basketball tournament brackets. The odds of randomly completing a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. If you know a little bit about basketball you can trim your odds to 1 in 125 million. No wonder websites offer huge cash prizes to anyone who fills out a flawless bracket. The uncertainty of the tournament makes it improbable that anyone will receive the big payout.
CERTAINTY OF SALVATION
How thankful we can be that there is no uncertainty regarding the outcome of the Lenten season. Every March we follow Jesus to the cross knowing that his struggles against sin, death, and Satan will result in victory for us. The victory cry will ring out from Calvary: “It is finished!” The tomb will be empty on Easter morning. Satan had no hope of defeating Jesus.
The certainty of Satan’s defeat was expressed in the very first gospel promise. The ancient serpent was told in no uncertain terms that the offspring of the woman would crush his head (Genesis 3:15). Jesus also expressed the certainty of victory well before Holy Week: “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Luke 9:22).
By faith we embrace the certainty of our eternal salvation. We stand in the winner’s circle with Jesus. Even during the somber season of Lent, we live in Easter joy. We know the end of the story.
CERTAINTY IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
The certainty of Jesus’ victory helps us live life in this uncertain world with joy and hope. The outcome of a basketball tournament may be unpredictable, but so is most of life. How long will I live? Is my job secure? Will accident or disease disrupt the routine of my life or the life of a loved one? Will the horrors of terrorism strike close to home? Will I always be able to worship Jesus freely without fear of persecution? We can make educated guesses about the future, but only the Lord knows with certainty the paths our individual lives will take. Yet we have this confidence: We live securely in Jesus! We exclaim with St. Paul: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
Satan persists in his attempts to draw us back into uncertainty and doubt. He wants us to believe that our place in God’s family still needs to be secured by our own victories over sin and temptation. Satan is there with his accusing finger every time we fall into old sins or invent new ways to satisfy the desires of the sinful nature still residing in our hearts. Oh, how we need to hear the sweet message of the gospel over and over again. It is finished! Jesus won! No more doubt! “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:11).
Can you imagine being offered a million dollars for filling out a perfect bracket for last year’s tournament? That would be money in the bank! The outcome of every game is already in the books! Even more certain is the victory Jesus won for you on Calvary. Enjoy the prize—freedom from sin and life filled with God’s blessings forever.
Contributing editor Michael Woldt is pastor at David’s Star, Jackson, Wisconsin.
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Author: Michael A. Woldt
Volume 102, Number 3
Issue: March 2015
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