Over the past few months, I have been preaching through 1 John during our student worship on Wednesday nights, and last night we worked through the first five verses of chapter five. This morning I still find myself meditating upon and celebrating verses 4-5.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5)
Far too often, Christians settle for spiritual defeat. We’re sinful people so it only makes sense that we’ll continue to fall to sin until we’re no longer sinful, right? While it is correct that perfectionism is not possible until Christ returns to fully usher in the new heavens and earth, we underestimate the power of the gospel for our lives here and now.
Jesus, the Son of God, stepped down out of heaven and, despite Satan’s best efforts, delivered the deathblow to sin and death. He overcame the world, the place that is fallen and in rebellion against its Creator. The resurrection proved it. But Jesus did not achieve victory in merely a futuristic, general sense.
That victory speaks to the present and the individual. John writes, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.” Our very own salvation points to our conquering King. You see, we were dead in our sins. There was no hope. But the Spirit of Christ came into our dead hearts and made us alive. That’s what it means to be “born of God” or “born again,” like Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3. To use Paul’s language in 2 Corinthians 5, we are a “new creation” in Christ. The love of Christ has overcome our cold, dead hearts. That’s a victory we can celebrate!
But it doesn’t stop there. Since we have the Spirit within us, we also have the power to overcome the world. Our Christian life does not (and should not) have to be one of constant defeat. We have not only been freed from the penalty of sin; we have been freed from the bondage of sin. The power that raised Christ from the grave is coursing through our veins.
I don’t mean that one time at church you decided to place your faith in Jesus. I mean a continual faith in the Son of God. Faith that His life, death, and resurrection has earned your righteousness. Faith that His Spirit is making you righteousness, preparing you for eternity with Him. Faith that everything He does, including the commandments He gives, is for your good. Faith that He will lavish His life-changing, mind-blowing, sin-crushing, glorious grace upon you. It’s when we turn our lives wholly to Him that we finally “overcome the world.”
Don’t settle for defeat. Christ has conquered. Believer and unbeliever alike, cry out to Him for forgiveness and change.
Experience the power of the gospel. As a matter of fact, experience your best life now.