uses a powerful image to speak of the triumph of Christ (Col. 2:15). The Romans
won victories in war. When they conquered their enemies in military battles
they marched toward Rome. A celebration ensued when the Roman army marched into
Roman general led his army through the streets of Rome as crowds gathered. The
general rode into Rome on a two-wheeled chariot pulled by four horses. The general
wore a purple robe, a laurel crown, and glowed in the grandeur of victory. Soldiers
waved trinkets, jewelry, and other things which they took from the enemy. When
Titus captured Jerusalem his soldiers held high the Jewish candelabras and the
golden table along with scrolls of the Old Covenant.
prisoners followed the procession, a symbol that Rome maintained its peace,
freedom, and power while overpowering it enemies. The whole procession filled
the streets of Rome with celebration, dancers, singers, soldiers in triumph,
and the emperor himself in the glory of Roman victory.
Paul transfers this image onto Christ. Greater than Roman conquest is the triumph
Christ delivers. Christ defeats the enemy and takes captive Satan himself. The
historian Josephus tells of Romans decorating the city with garland laurels
during a triumph. Paul uses the image to explain the eternal victory of Christ
which decorates the hearts of believers with the laurel of peace.
does Paul further describe this victory?
Symbol of Victory: The Cross (Col. 2:6-14).
yearns for the Colossians to welcome Christ in their lives and so walk in him
(Col. 1:6). Christ’s love demonstrated on the cross takes root in the soil
of the soul as love and establishes a firm faith for living (Col. 1:7). Paul
knows that the world offers alternatives to the cross: philosophy, tradition,
material sufficiency, intellectual self-sufficiency, and independence from God
along with the worship of false gods. Paul, however, proclaims the truth of
One God through Christ who gives personal, life-changing, and eternal victory.
John Calvin warns of being “intoxicated with false confidence.” Paul
invites true believers to place confidence in Christ.
cross of Christ removes all obstacles on the path to victory (Col. 1:14). The
cross supplies love (Col 1:7). The cross infuses the soul with grace that leads
to gratitude (Col. 1:7) The cross produces forgiveness (Col. 1:13).
American poet Robert Frost spoke of a road which he took that made all the difference:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” For Paul the road of the cross made
all the difference.
cross calls for personal response. C. S. Lewis once said, “Our highest
activity must be response, not initiative. To experience the love of God in
a true, and not an illusory form, is therefore to experience it as surrender
to His demand, our conformity to His desire.” To surrender to the cross
of Jesus is to be changed forever, or in the words of Oswald Chambers, “to
be severely altered.” God’s love alters us for good (Col. 1:7).
Significance of Victory: We’re Alive!
the power of the cross and resurrection God brings life where once death reigned.
He fills an empty heart with his fulness which forgives sin and transforms the
flesh (Col. 1:13). Paul announces the good news of victory: the old ways are
put to death; sin is washed clean; and the dark powers of un-seen spiritual
warfare called principalities and powers are defeated (Col. 2:15).
New Testament scholar D. A. Carson says, “God, in Christ, stripped from
the powers of evil their hold over the lives of men.” Evil no longer holds
us. Christ sets us free. We triumph in daily life because of him!
Simplicity of Victory: We Do Not Live Defeated Lives!
surrounds us. Tragedy strikes. Storm trouble blows into life. Anxieties riddle
the soul. Worry imprisons us. Principalities and powers attack like an army
battalion. Trials tax energy. Darkness looms on the horizon. In spite of all
of these things, Christ gives cause for a song of victory as we walk and march
step by step towards Christ and his purpose for life (Col. 3:15). We live abundantly
because of Christ as victorious warriors celebrating faith in Christ (John 10:10).
Paul speaks of the triumph of Christ he pictures Christ as the victorious general,
his people as the soldiers in a victory march, and the peace secured for all
eternity. (Col. 2:15). Saint Columba of Iona, in the sixth century after Christ,
called for God’s servants to follow an active Christianity. He asks, “What
is best for the Christian life? Simplicity and singlemindedness.” Triumph
comes in simply and single-mindedly following Christ. Victory is in Jesus!
brief provided by: John Duncan, Pastor, Lakeside Baptist Church, Granbury, TX