God wins by losing

“We all love stories of triumph, and we want to be on the winning side, but God does not defeat his enemies in the way we might anticipate. In fact, God subverts human triumphalism in that he wins by losing” (Timothy Gombis). Jesus dies on the cross in weakness and yet, that death has power to overturn the reign of sin and death. In utter weakness he disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15). And then God raised Jesus from death exalting him in triumph as Lord over all. In this drama, all our expectations of triumph over powers are overturned.

But if these “powers” have been defeated, why does evil still appear to carry on reigning supreme as before? Is the good news of God’s triumph over darkness just wishful thinking? On the cross, God did triumph over the dark powers that ruled over us: sin, death and Satan. And we can see something of this victory even now as people are rescued from the domain of darkness to be transferred into the kingdom of the Son God loves. As free people, we are now the community of the king sharing his love relationship with the Father in the Spirit. Truly we are rescued and restored to communion under God’s triumphant rule. However, we will only see this triumph fully revealed in the future in God’s plan to sum up all things in heaven and earth in the Messiah (Ephesians 1:10). Now, as the community of the king, we struggle against the powers of the present evil age with God’s power through weakness. And we do so with a mix of joy and grief.

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