The Conquests of the Cross

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  1 : 17-25
Subject: Victory in Jesus; Cross; Forgiveness of Sin; Resurrection; Satan Defeated

The Conquests of Christ at the Cross

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

1 Corinthians 1:17-25:

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The scripture we are considering today surrounds the victory - the conquests - that Christ won for us at the cross.

The songwriter penned,

"At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light,  and the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight, and now a I am happy all the day." (Isaac Watts)

We can look at the cross in two ways. We can view it from the physical and historical event itself. We can describe the circumstances surrounding the cross, including the agony our Lord suffered. Certainly that is worthy of our attention. This, of course, almost every person has heard at one time or another.

There is a recounting of an event in the life of a boy named Stevie who loved listening to stories on his old tape recorder. His favorite was about an old-time one‑room schoolhouse where a little boy gets into trouble for taking an older student's lunch. The part Stevie liked best was when the boy whose lunch was stolen offered to take the spanking that the boy who should have received the punishment for stealing the lunch. The story, titled "He Took My Whipping," is a clear picture of Jesus' willingness to be punished for our sins. In the story a poor young boy is hungry at school and steals another boy’s lunch. When the teacher examines the evidence she discovers the one who stole the lunch. She calls the boy before the class and is going to whip him publicly to ensure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again. She pulls back the stick and hits the poor child one time, but before she can hit him again, a larger boy in the class steps up and asks to be allowed to take the boy’s punishment. After some discussion, the larger boy replaces the poor kid and takes the licks from the teacher. As the teacher completes the punishment, the poor child who was spared the whipping, throws his arms around the neck of the larger boy and with tears running down his face he repeats the words, “Thank you for taking my whipping for me, Thank you for taking my whipping for me.” The entire class breaks down in tears, which includes the teacher who exacted the punishment.

As I said, the boy named Stevie had heard this story on a tape. One day, when lunchtime rolled around, Stevie's mother heard a firsthand testimonial that this story had made an impact on the 3‑year‑old. Before Stevie ate, he bowed his head and prayed, "Dear Jesus, thank You for this nice day, and thank You for taking the punches for me." He had meant to say punishment, but that big word didn't register with Stevie. Being a boy, however, he did know about punches and he was glad Jesus took the "punches" he deserved.

At the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserved. As believers all of us can figuratively throw our arms around His neck and say, “Jesus, thank you for taking my whipping – my punishment – for me."

Another way we can look at the cross is from a spiritual or priestly perspective. This viewpoint reveals to us more than just the physical occurrences at the cross, for it discloses the victories Christ won as He died at the cross. What did Christ accomplish through His death and His resurrection?

Today I want to examine The Conquests of Christ at the Cross. There are three very important achievements which Christ fulfilled at Calvary.

I. The Conquest of Sin

The great problem of humanity is the sin problem, and we can see that by merely watching an evening news broadcast each day, reading a paper or opening almost any live internet site on our computer or tablet. Our greatest problem is not financial, social, political, psychological, or educational, but is actually a SIN problem. Sin has increased crime, sexual extremism, family breakdown, drug use, violence, hatred, bitterness, revenge and so many other issues throughout our daily lives. In order to see how Jesus was victorious over sin, we need to observe three important facts.

A. The Reach of Sin

"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God!"

Sin is not just your neighbor’s problem, or a problem for the political party you don’t like, sin is a problem for every one of us.

Charles Spurgeon, a world-renowned preacher from another generation told of a missionary who visited a primitive hut and became nauseated by the filthy floor on which he had to sit. He suggested to his host that they scrub the dirty surface with soap and water, but the man replied, “The floor is just clay ‑‑ packed down and dry and if I add water it turns to mud. The more you try to wash it, the worse the mess becomes!” That is the way it is with us regarding sin. If you try to clean it up yourself, you just spread the muddy part of your life around and make matters worse. A hut with a dirt floor needs a new floor not made of dirt. That is the way it is with us – with all people everywhere – when it comes to sin. We don’t need our dirty hearts cleaned up, we need a new heart. That is exactly what Jesus came to supply. He died that we might be born again and have a new heart – a heard created through the sacrifice which Jesus became on the cross.

But, notice also …

B. The Result of Sin

“The wages of sin is death”

In the Book of Genesis God promised that he would judge sin. Also, He stated in Ezekiel, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." In fact, you see in all the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament death taking place as a payment for sin - the animal served as a substitute for the sinner. This process was a precursor and picture of that which Jesus, the Son of God, would do for us at the cross. Sin required the death of the sinner, but God provided a way for a substitute to take the sinners place. In the animal sacrificial system there was a requirement that every animal was to be inspected to see that it was without blemish. In other words, it was required that the animal be “perfect.” This, too, was a foreshadowing of Jesus, the perfect Savior who was worthy of dying and paying for our sins. Sin brings death. Every sin will be paid for with death. You can pay for your won sins with death and judgment or you can accept the death of God’s Son as a substitute. But, no sin will go unpunished in eternity. Thank God for His love and for the fact that Jesus was willing to show that love by dying for those who place their faith in Him.

We also see here ...

C. The Remedy for Sin

Jesus is the remedy for sin. This is clearly stated again and again in the Bible. No doctrine in the Christian faith is clearer that the one that states that Jesus died and rose from the dead to deliver us from sin.

Look at Colossians 2:14.

Look at the Lamb of God as described in Revelation 5. In the Book of Revelation the idea of the Lamb and the blood is used 23 times. Yes, Jesus paid it all! There is no payment for sin other than that which Jesus provides. The only other way to deal with sin is to face your own judgment before God and separation from God forever. I have chosen God’s remedy for my sin in Christ and what He did for me at the cross.

So, we have seen that the cross provides a conquest of sin, but notice also the …

II. The Conquest of Separation

Separation from those we love is a truly difficult experience. Those of us who served in the military know firsthand how hard it is to go into dangerous situations far from our family and friends. I spent a tour of duty in Vietnam and I was married to Jayne and we had our baby daughter Sherry at the time. Separation is a difficult experience.

Far more challenging and grim is separation due to death. Every family has experienced the death of a loved one and you know how awful it is when you hear that the one you love is gone from this earth and that you will not be able to see them again in this life. Grieving for a loved one can be one of the most grueling experiences in life. Yet, there is separation that is even worse.

A. Separated from Fellowship with God

Think about being separated from fellowship with God forever. Now this is very hard to do, for everyone listening to me right now, Christian and non-Christian, is enjoying God’s presence. I mean by this that we are all breathing God’s air, eating food from God’s earth, being warmed by God’s sunlight and enjoying the life he has given to us on earth. It is impossible for us to fully appreciate what it is like for those who have gone out of this life unprepared to meet God. Those without the Savior die and fly from the presence of God. The horror of this reality is mind-numbing and earth-shaking. Yet, that is exactly what the Bible teaches.

Look at Colossians 1:20-23, and there you note that all of us were once alienated from God due to sin; however, even then we still lived in this world with the hope that we might come to know God through His Son, Jesus. In Romans 5:10 we read that those who receive Jesus as Savior are reconciled to God – that is, we come into fellowship with God now and forever once we turn in repentance and faith to trust God’s Son.

No separation on this earth can be compared to being separated forever from our Creator and God. And, most importantly, it is not necessary for us to be separated from Him. God made a way for us to have fellowship with Him forever. He invited us into His family through His Son. The cross is the means of bring God and man together – melded through the cross of Christ into an eternal bond.

Also, think about being …

B. Separated from Fruitfulness for God

Philippians 1:11 states that the fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus Christ. You and I cannot bear fruit until we are planted in Christ. In essence everything we do in this life is fruitless unless we are in Christ. Romans 7:4 states that we were saved in order to bear fruit for God. Jesus said in John 15:14 that he chose us to bear fruit, fruit that will last! In other words, our separation from God means a totally fruitless life. This is one of the saddest thoughts I can think. A life without any meaning. A life without any purpose. A life lived in vain, totally in vain. That is a life outside of Christ.

Jesus died in order to bring us into fellowship with the Father so that our lives will have meaning and joy. We read in John 15:4 that knowing God the Father through Christ makes fruit-bearing possible. As we abide in Him, we bear fruit that is eternal. If you expect to live a life with any eternal consequence, you must come to know the Christ of the cross.

We have seen the conquest of sin, and the conquest of separation found in the cross; now look with me at the …

III. The Conquest of Satan

The great enemy of the soul is sin, and the one who perpetrates sinful behavior is the tempter – Satan. The first sin on earth was prompted by Satan in the Garden of Eden. He has wreaked havoc on this earth and in human hearts since that day. At the cross Jesus dealt with the devil. We have victory over that old slew-foot enemy through Jesus.

First, note that…

A. Satan has been Disarmed

Colossians 2:13-15 states, “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

Ah, do you hear that? Do you see this truth? Jesus disarmed the devil.

A man was working in a zoo one day and he was in an area with a large lion. He walked right up the lion laid some food near him. The worker then turned to walk away. A man watching this called out to the zoo employee, “Hey, mister! Aren’t you afraid to be that close to a large lion?” The employee smiled and said, “Not at all – I’m not afraid. You see, this is a very old lion. He has lost all his teeth and poses no problem or danger for me.” Dear friends, those of us who have Christ as our Savior can rejoice that Satan has had his teeth pulled. Now, don’t get me wrong. The devil is still at work and he still trips up God’s people; however, he cannot take those who are saved out of the hand of God. Once we are in Christ, we are free from his power to remove us from grace. He has been disarmed, and so have all his demon friends. Don’t you thank God for the old rugged cross? That is where our victory is found.

You see, when Jesus died on the cross, the devil thought he had won the victory he long desired. But, on Sunday morning Jesus rose up from the grave. He stepped out of the tomb, placed his foot on the chest of death and said, “I was dead but I am alive forevermore. I hold the keys of death, hell and the grave.” Yes! Jesus is Lord and even death has no possibility of having dominion over those who place their faith and trust in Him.

Not only has the Satan been disarmed, but ….

B. Satan has been Defeated

Psalm 68:18 reads:

“You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the Lord God might dwell there.”

The Psalmist prophesied that the Lord would ascend on high and take captivity captive. In other words, Jesus took the place of captivity (sin and death) captive.

We read in Hebrew 2:14, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil …”

You see, Jesus became flesh, like us, even though He is God. Then, He lived without sin. To top it all, He took our sin and died in our place. Then to reach the very pinnacle of victory, He rose from the dead. He took the power of death away from the devil. Satan is defeated!

What a victory is ours in Christ, and what a victory is waiting for you if you will come to Him in repentance and faith. Victory is yours in Jesus.


The late Dr. W.A. Criswell tells in the book he wrote on Galatians the story of a man who had been a drunk. Alcohol had devastated the man’s life and family. He lived in the gutter and in the filth of the bar life. His children were hungry and one day people came to repossess what little furniture the poor family had. There they were living in a hollowed-out house without food or furniture. The bank was threatening to come and take away the home because they were behind on the payments.

Then the most wonderful thing happened. The man heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and by faith he gave his life to the Lord. He was saved and redeemed. His employer gave his job back, his furniture was returned and in time his mortgage payments were caught up in full. His wife had a husband, his children had a father and they all had food and shelter.

But one day an old drinking pal of the converted man came to him and began to ridicule and taunt him. The old drunk asked the new Christian if he believed in the miracles of the Bible. The newly converted man admitted that he did believe in the miracles discussed in the Bible. His old bar buddy asked him how in the world he could believe in such far-out stories found in God’s Word.

The new Christian man smiled happily and replied, “I am no theologian, and cannot explain all the mysteries of the Bible. But I know that Jesus turned my beer into furniture; He turned my whiskey into house payments; he turned my drunkenness into well-fed children; and, that is good enough for me!”

What a victory Jesus won at the cross and in the resurrection. Are you living in that victory? You can! Come to Him today. And, Christian, if you are not walking in the beauty of all that God purchased for you at the cross, come back to Him afresh today and claim all he paid for through his death and resurrection.