June 10, 2016

Psalm 18:50 He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
to David and his descendants for ever.

One difference between the English and the Japanese in this verse really caught my eye. Rather than, “He gives his king great victories,” the Japanese says, “The Lord increases salvation to the king.” I feel sure that’s because of the particular turn of phrase in the Hebrew, but it really makes me think about our definition of both salvation and victory. We tend to think of both in temporal terms, on this earth in this life, but God looks at things from the eternal perspective. Death, which we tend to see as defeat, is entering into eternity, and for someone who is in Christ, that is the greatest of victories. Our lives on this earth do matter, and God does heal and otherwise pull us out of difficulties again and again, but we must not think that because a particular situation isn’t being resolved the way we would like, God isn’t pouring out His salvation. The Revelation to John makes it very clear that the ultimate victory of the believer is a foregone conclusion, but we have a lot of trouble remembering that in the middle of our daily lives. My wife Cathy remarked just yesterday about how many Christians, even, seem to get mad at God over deaths and the like, and how absurd that is. The resurrection of Jesus proved that the salvation God has provided for us by grace through faith includes victory in every area, even over death. We forget that, or act like we never knew it, and we suffer needlessly as a result. Separation from loved ones is painful, yes, but when all involved are committed to Jesus Christ as Lord, it is a temporary thing that is ultimately no big deal.

This is of course very personal, because I’m just as mortal as anyone, physically speaking. I do my best to stay healthy and active and have every expectation of what the insurance companies would consider a pretty long life, but I’ve already outlived my father by a few years, and who knows what some crazy driver might do even today. Just yesterday I watched a fascinating brief lecture on risk, which talked about how we tend to fear things over which we have no control, but blithely accept far greater risks when we think we do have a measure of control. Some people fear flying, for example, because as a passenger you can in no way influence the outcome, but they might smoke or overeat, either of which has a much higher probability of increased suffering and death. As a child of God I am to be a faithful steward of the body I’ve been given, not taking needless risks (such as smoking or overeating) but fearing nothing. God’s salvation, His victory, is absolute and eternal. I can have no better security than that.

Father, thank You for this clear, strong Word. Show me when and how I am to share it. May I live in all that You have provided for me in Christ, freely sharing it with all who will receive, so that the works of the devil may be destroyed (1 John 3:8) and many brought into Your family, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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