Calvary Was Not a Success

Calvary Was Not a Success – It Was a Victory?

Bill Burkett


The story of the cross is the story of what happens when a divine omniscient with a plan of victory visits a world of ambitious men bent on success.

God has no plans for succeeding- He has invaded this planet to conquer.

If His objective had been success, then success oriented and success prone humans would have rejected and crucified Him!

But take an honest look at the ministry of Jesus. As far as super crowds He was a failure. He apparently did not want to succeed at amassing the people. When the crowd came out to Him He shattered them with denunciations that scattered them in every direction mumbling to themselves. For three and one half years He stunned the nation of Israel with miracles of the greatest magnitude and yet out of a nation only a band of one hundred and twenty tarried for Him in the upper room. John 8 and Acts 1,2. That’s not exactly being a success.

He would not allow Himself to become an object of charisma worshipers! This is where the real battle lines and decisive spiritual combat begins…and where many battles are lost by the modern preacher and layman.

Western culture and not Jesus has programed us to success. Many modern “Christians” equate success with spiritual achievement and maturity. Millions of modern Christians labor under the illusions of the success philosophy.

Excuse me sir, but the Holy Spirit is not come to make you a success, He has come to make you victorious!

Material gain is a fringe benefit of obedience, not a prime objective worthy of the extreme emphasis we have placed upon it in this church generation. Our taste for victory has given way to a lust for success.

Jesus knew the difference.

Jesus was not presented to the world as God’s P.R. man. (public relations).

Success makes us feel good, victory makes us feel right. If riches constitute a sort of spiritual success or divine approval then Christ’s simplistic lifestyle proves Him a failure…but if godliness and purity is a goal- then He was a great victor.


Where the church necessarily touches the world there will also be business transactions supportive to the church’s existence “in her world!” But, even in the church’s business her methods are based on simple honesty and have very little in common with the psycho- commercial methods of the business world. What business principles of the world may apply to the business of the church must be watched and kept properly at the perimeter of the church’s activities. But if that spirit penetrates to influence the spiritual leadership of the church it may indeed produce a visibly successful church. But when personal purity and holiness of life is no longer stressed- the living organism becomes an organization and the judgment promises to be devastating.

Success is a business word.
Victory is a battle word.
The Kingdom of God never was and never shall be “big business.”

Success depends upon human resources.
Victory depends on Heaven’s resources.

Achieving success will make us feel good and then we make the big mistake of believing that good feeling is the “blessing of God.”

The next step is natural; we confuse the blessing of God with the approval of God. It then follows in our thinking that what God blesses, God approves.

This is where the “big men” jump the track. Scripture reveals that “big men” make the biggest mistakes.

Thank God, Jesus did not make the mistake we are making…to confuse spiritual victory with material success!

The cross is the greatest paradox of world history!

While Jesus failed to sway the depravity of men to thinking God’s way He nailed that depravity to the cross, stripped principalities and powers of their dominion, and in an open display triumphed over them in the spectacle of the cross. Col.2:15, Charles Williams Greek translation.

The paradox of the cross, is that, while it contained the death of a man who did not succeed, it also contained the resurrection of a man who was victorious.

Golgotha was a place where the raging legions of hell engaged the powers of Heaven spilling the blood of our Prince.


Yes, brethren, the Kingdom of God is not, “business as usual” It’s  war!

You better believe there is no business going on between Heaven and hell!

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” There has never been any other kind of relationship between the God of Heaven and the imps of Hades.

You don’t succeed in battle!
In war you are victor!

To defend the theories of “success” to give your life and destiny to a myth.

To emphasize prosperity over piety is to pit a fantasy against the MIGHTY LACERS OF DIVINE TRUTH!

Let’s get back to the business of holy lives.

Building scripturally moral lives “unspotted from the world” is the “chief business” of the church.

In business, morality is sacrificed for unity.

In the spiritual warfare, unity is often sacrificed for the lorals of righteous victory.

Moses refused the offer of unity with Egypt. He failed at unity, but joined himself to Israel and achieved moral victory.

Don’t be rattled brethren…the greatest achievement of a child of God is to accomplish the supernatural morality of Christ…and that means a thousand battles, a thousand scars, perhaps for some a thousand painful wounds with the promise of the victors crown when at last every enemy has been beaten down. I Cor.15.

The Bible doesn’t say, “We can succeed in all things through Christ, our executive director” – it does say, “We are more than conquerors.”

To know the difference between the gospel of victory and the gospel of success is absolutely essential to the thinking of the 20th century disciple


For further study see: Pentecostal But Not Charismatic  
                                         The Cross was not a Success 

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