Winning and Losing
By Hal Lindsey
These days one of the worst things to call a person is “loser.” No one wants that word associated with his name. But is it even possible to apply words like “winner” or “loser” to human beings? The winning quarterback one week may be the loser in the week to follow. The successful entrepreneur may make a fortune in one business, then lose everything in the next. In various aspects of our lives, we all sometimes win and sometimes lose.
But there is one part of life where every person on earth either wins or loses. And in this most basic and consequential area of life, any person alive can go instantly from loser to winner, and never go back.
Human beings are engaged in a contest, but it’s not a game. Dictionary.com defines a “game” as, “an amusement or pastime.” Life is more than mere amusement. The same website defines a “contest” as, “a race, conflict, or other competition… as for a prize; a struggle for victory.” That’s what we’re in the middle of — a struggle for victory. While there are degrees to both winning and losing, ultimately you are in one category or the other. You either win or lose on the greatest scale imaginable. You either live forever or die forever.
1 John 5:19 lays out the situation. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Jesus confirmed the devil’s power over this world. He called Satan “ruler of this world” in John 12:31, 14:30, and 16:11. John 10:10 refers to the devil as “the thief” who comes to “steal, and kill, and destroy.” Satan’s ways lead to destruction.
But before 1 John 5:19 speaks of Satan’s power over the world system, it says something crucial to those who have entered Christ’s eternal covenant of grace. It says, “We know that we are of God.” Verse 20 says, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
Jesus gives eternal life to all who receive Him. That’s how to win. At any point in a person’s life, they can step out of darkness into life by believing on and accepting Jesus as their Savior. Those who reject Him over their entire lives suffer eternal loss.
I said that there are degrees to both winning and losing. Jesus made it clear that those who reject Him will be held accountable for all their failings. That means some will have it worse than others. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 tells us that the reward Christians receive will vary according to the amount and quality of their work on earth.
But the first step is the most important. It is a step out of death and into life. That part has nothing to do with our works and everything to do with the works of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
We often say, “He died for our sins.” That’s true, but there’s more to it. The other part is, “that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He took our sins onto Himself so that He can impute to us His perfect righteousness. He ran the race. He won the victory. And He gives His victory to all who receive Him. That’s you — or it can be you. If you have not accepted His provision for your salvation, you can. Right now. Just ask Him.