Real and Counterfeit Victory

Messages on the Victorious Life

Message Three – Part OneRealvictory

Victory is a great word in the New Testament, and yet I am sure there are many Christians who have received Jesus as Saviour, who have been born again and have passed from death unto life, who nevertheless are deceived day-by-day by a counterfeit victory when GOD wants them to know what real victory is. I can speak with deep feeling as to this, because I lived to be nearly forty years old (after having lived for more than twenty-five years as a sincere Christian) never knowing what real victory was, and having all those years taken the counterfeit victory – active Christian worker though I was – as a substitute for the real.

Our Lord once said to some Jews, who were sure that they were all right, “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:34-36).

Then again, the same Holy Spirit who indwelt the Lord Jesus said to Paul, “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace,” and the Lord Himself adds later, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” “Ye are not under the law” which says do, “but under grace” which says done, and that is the reason why “sin shall not have dominion over you.”

So it is that Paul could cry out to the Galatians, as he was making that passionate protest against relapsing from grace into law, as most of us Christians have done at one time or another, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” And again in Philippians, “To me to live is Christ.” And to the Corinthians, “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” If there is one word that we do not always realize should be printed in capital letters in that triumphant thanksgiving, it is the word “Giveth.” “Thanks be to God, which Giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

That is grace. That is the test of the real or the counterfeit victory. Just remember this: any victory over the power of any sin whatsoever in your life that you have to get by working for it is counterfeit. Any victory that you have to get by trying for it is counterfeit. If you have to work for your victory, it is not the real thing; it is not the thing that GOD offers you.

On the train this afternoon I was reading a letter from a woman who is at this Convention, and she said, “I am trying to live the victorious life,” and so I did so and so under certain circumstances that Christian friend may be in this audience tonight; but if she is, I cannot refrain from saying that as long as she keeps on trying to live the victorious life, she won’t live it. If any of you are making the mistake of trying to live the victorious life, you are cheating yourself out of it, for the victory you get by trying for it is a counterfeit victory. You must substitute another word; not try, but trust, and you cannot try and trust at the same time. Trying is what we do, and trusting is what we let the Lord do.

Let us think for a few minutes of concrete examples of the counterfeit victory and the real victory, keeping in mind as we do so the offer of the Lord Jesus to set us free so that we shall be free indeed. Because the pity of it, the tragedy of it, is that the Christian people of our land have not been taught the truth in this matter. Our ministers, many of them, are not able to teach the truth in this matter. They themselves have not been taught the truth. Our seminaries are not teaching it. So laymen and ministers are substituting counterfeit victory for the real.

I read not long ago some extracts from a sermon by a well-known preacher, and they were something like this: “We all of us need to do weeding, rooting up the bad weeds in the garden of our own life. The thing to do is to give your attention to some weed, some sin that has taken root in your life, and with prayer and effort dig it up. It may take you a long time, but keep at it day after day, week after week, month after month if necessary, till you have weeded that sin out. After you have gotten rid of that sin, take another, and keep at that till you have weeded it out. And then another and another of the sins of your life, till you have made your garden what it ought to be.”

Dear friends, you do not find anything of this sort in God’s Word. A victory gained in that way, by a gradual conquest over evil, getting one sin after another out of our life is counterfeit victory.  No, the Lord Jesus does not offer to give us any such gradual victory over the sins of our life.