The Strife Is Over, the Battle Done

Bob Roane Death, Eternal Life, Heaven, Hell, Hymn Stories, Jesus Christ, Loving and Trusting God

“O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:55-57)

From “Christ is Everything to His Followers.” Used counseling and prison work.

This Scripture above was the basis of an old Latin hymn entitled, “The Strife Is Over, the Battle Done.” It was translated to English by Francis Pott in 1861. In each stanza, the first line contains a statement on the fact of Jesus’ physical bodily resurrection in history. The second line is a personal response to these factual truths, concluding with the jubilant “Alleluia!” “Alleluia” is a Latin form of the Hebrew “Hallelujah,” which means “Praise the Lord!” The verb hallel in Hebrew means to joyously admire God in song or to boast about Him. Yah is a shortened form of YHWH, the covenant name of the Creator God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Hallelujah is used 24 times in the Book of Psalms and four times in the Book of Revelation.

Here are the words to the hymn:

Refrain (at beginning and end of each stanza): Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

1. The strife is o’er, the battle done; The victory of life is won; The song of triumph has begun. Alleluia!

2. The powers of death have done their worst, But Christ their legions has dispersed: Let shouts of holy joy outburst. Alleluia!

3. The three sad days have quickly sped; He rises glorious from the dead: All glory to our Risen Head! Alleluia!

4. He closed the yawning gates of hell; The bars from heaven’s high portals fell: Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell. Alleluia!

5. Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee, From death’s dread sting Thy servants free, That we may live and sing to Thee, Alleluia!

This hymn captures the triumphant joy of Christ’s Resurrection reminding, us that He is the conquering Victor, not a helpless victim in His death and resurrection. The New Testament emphasizes this element of victory often:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit….God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.1

The final stanza of the hymn  draws upon Isaiah 53:5—“Christ was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53 not only prophesies Jesus’ death, but also His victorious resurrection:

Though the LORD makes Messiah’s life an offering for sin, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the LORD’s will will prosper in His hand. After He has suffered, Messiah will see the light of life and be satisfied. By His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.2

Who are Jesus’ offspring? All believers who trust and follow Christ through the centuries! “Both the one who makes people holy (Christ) and those who are made holy (Christians) are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters….He says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”3

However lowly and sinful our human families are, true believers are set apart for holy purposes and brought into God’s family. “Adoption is an act of transfer from an alien family into God’s family. This is surely the apex of grace and privilege.”4 Christ and His followers all belong to one Heavenly Father. Christ is now our Elder Brother and we are His little brothers and sisters. That’s amazing grace!

So we pray:

Lord Jesus, by dying you destroyed our death.
Lord Jesus, by rising you restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come again for us in glory. We pray in your great name. Amen.

Go in peace, beloved. Walk with King Jesus today and be a blessing to others!

Notes:     1 Gal 3:13-14; Col 1:13-14.     2 Isaiah 53:10-11, Psalm 18 also prophesies Jesus’ death and resurrection.     3 Heb 2:11-13.     4 John Murray (1898-1975).