VICTORY OVER THE WORLD
“In the world you shall have tribulation,
but be of good cheer.
I have conquered the world” (John 16:330).
Christ is the only author of life and the Victor over the world and death and declares: “I have conquered the world,” and He teaches us not to fear the world which He has conquered for the former tyrant of the world has been displaced. This world can still lead to disaster those who do not have Jesus Christ as their Savior, Deliverer and Guide. Tribulation and difficulties make it difficult for all, not only for the acquisition of necessities but even more important, for the preparation of our immortal souls for the ultimate end of our lives. Then we will face the fearful day of judgment, where we will each be judged according to our faith and deeds.
Our lives in this world appears to many to be of little consequence, for we are all born, reach adulthood and finally we die, but the litle known main purpose of our lives is of great importance. For the day of our death is the end of time and trial and every one of us must submit to the fearful judgment of God the Creator. God has established the whole existing world, given laws, with promises of eternal life, and threats of unhappiness, sickness and eternal death.
However rulers of this country who officially declare God to be dethroned and no longer the Ruler and Guide of people. They established a new and godless society where people foolishly say: “You are born, you live and enjoy yourself, and then you die, and that the end for you go out of existence.” But our consciences say something quite different. We are all born from parents and we are all aware that we are completely free to make our own decisions. We know we are under written and unwritten laws and that we are free to obey or disobey all laws of both God and man. Among men are many laws promising good to those who obey and punishments or even death to those who disobey. We have laws, lawyers, and judges who deal with these laws. Laws can only be given to those who are free and man being an image of God enjoys complete freedom, and is subject to legislation. In America we frequently speak of our freedom and liberty and extol its wonderful benefits. In this country we praise our great God-given freedom as we sing: “from every mountainside, let freedom ring!” “My country ’tis of thee sweet land of liberty, of you we sing.” “Give me liberty or give me death!” Liberty and freedom are so extremely important that they become cries when in battle.
It is impossible to understand our freedom and then deny the ultimate accounting of the actions of our our lives while on earth. Considering this, together with man’s laws are proof enough of God’s ultimate judgment concerning what we did with our lives. He sent His son Jesus Christ to teach the world, by words and example. Christ called to all men: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble in my heart.”
Christ established His Church which is today known as the holy Orthodox Church, wherein all that men need to know is available, for the Church, headed by Christ is His living Body. Through the Church we obtain victory and reward, but without the Church there is only defeat and punishment. There is much tribulation in the world but in the Church there is found peace and tranquility.
Let us Orthodox Christians rejoice in our blessed inheritance and bear witness to these truths before all men, a task which we must assign to ourselves. Saving ourselves is good, but bringing others to salvation is a blessing with an extremely generous reward.
But if we keep our faith only to ourselves we will derive little or no benefit, for It is an attribute of the freedom we enjoy to inform as many as possible about our treasure, the wonderful and glorious holy Orthodox Church wherein alone is victory possible.
Victory is not our own achievement but is granted to us due to our faith in Jesus Christ the Conqueror. He is both God and man who came to save the souls of all those who in faith follow Him and keep His commandments. His commandments are not grievous or a burden but they relieve us from the heavy burden of pernicious sin. This is the victory that we must always seek, to rid ourselves of all sin.
With Christ the tribulations of this world will not afflict us for He has conquered the world and made it useful tfor the salvation of our souls. That is why it is written, that we must not love the world and the spirit of the world. Our love must be totally directed to Christ who embraces us with His perfect love. Christ gained victory over the world and we must do the same. The world is not evil, but the spirit of the world is harmful to our souls. Victory is ours if we keep His commandments and love Christ with all our hearts and minds, for He alone is good and the only Lover of man.