I John 5:4-5 says, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Would you please share your thoughts on what it means to overcome the world, and the way that faith is the source of that overcoming – ie what does this practically look like?
Hello Irene,Great passage! Thanks for your question.
Jesus encouraged his disciples, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). There is only one true overcoming life—His name is Jesus, and this Jesus lives in us.
We have divine life in us in a twofold sense. Those who are “born of God” have been regenerated with divine life in their spirit. The unregenerated spirit called the old man died with Christ and was raised with Christ the new man. This new man is the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) which is created after God in righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24). This is God’s nature implanted in us (1 John 3:9). Then the Holy Spirit moved in and indwells our regenerated spirit. This is an even greater truth. The Holy Spirit streams the life of the enthroned Christ right into us.
The Bible tells us Christ lives in us…by faith (Gal. 2:20). Jesus lives in us every moment, and this overcoming life of Jesus is accessible by faith. But without faith we miss out on the full benefit of Christ living in us. When we do yield to His leadership and power, the Spirit imparts to us the very life of Christ. When we are animated by the life of Jesus, we experience Jesus. Jesus overcomes because He is the overcoming life Himself. Thus, through faith in Him, we overcome.
Jesus is the victory (1 Cor. 15:57) and yet faith is the victory (1 John 5:4-5). But this is not a contradiction. Faith is not a work; faith depends on the worker—Jesus. When temptations and trials come our way, we have the privilege of looking to Jesus as our overcoming life. Just like when we looked to Jesus in faith to save us, we can look to Jesus to keep us. The text in 1 John 5 literally says, “And this is the overcoming that overcomes the world, even our faith.” Faith overcomes by trusting in the overcoming life of Jesus.
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