For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (
1 John 5:4)
An old preacher—Vance Havner—once said of the church, “We’ve been subnormal so long, that if we ever got normal, most folks would think we were abnormal.” Do we even know what normal would look like in the church? We do—read the book of Acts. There we see normal Christianity. The first-century churches were not perfect—they all had their share of problems. Despite the struggles the believers faced, the Christian is described as overcoming. Victorious Christian living is not for a select group of super saints—it is Biblical Christianity.
It is God’s presence with us and His power within us, that equips us for victory (
1 John 5:1-5). This has come via the new birth that John
stresses throughout this letter. We
cannot win in our own strength—Satan is a supernatural foe and will always
overcome us. It is God’s work in us,
which gives us the power to overcome.
Paul said, “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” John echoes that. Love for the Father and His family mark a
genuine experience with Christ. Such
love is manifest in our obedience to God’s commands.
We must overcome because we have an enemy. There is an internal foe—the flesh—and an infernal foe—the Devil. Besides these, we have an external foe—the world (
1 John 5:4-5). This world system is bent on the destruction
of the church. The forces of hell want
to destroy our credibility, damage our testimony, defile our integrity and deny
our victory. We may not take it
seriously, but Satan’s soldiers are sold out to their cause. Yet God has given us spiritual armor and
armament to be deployed by faith. The
victory is not in self-effort, but by faith.
I am not saved by faith in Christ, then left to my own strength to
overcome sin—but I am to live by faith and walk by faith and ultimately win by
faith. I rest in the victory Christ has
won. This unleashes His power.
Our armed forces have a uniform, insignia and flag they fight under—these things identify their allegiance. So, we have identifying insignia indicating we serve the King of kings (
1 John 5:6-12). There is the witness of the Spirit (v.6-8). It is threefold. The Spirit witnessed at the water of Jesus’
baptism when the Dove descended from heaven and the voice declared, “This is
my Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.” ( Matt.3:17)
The Spirit witnessed in the blood of
Jesus’ cross when the Centurion overseeing the execution testified, “Truly
this was the Son of God.” ( Matt.27:54). Furthermore, the Spirit of God indwelling the
child of God witnesses through us. John
is an example ( 1 John 1:1-2). Today we continue to bear witness to Christ ( 1 John 4:14-15). There is also the witness of the Scriptures
(v.9-12). How do I know that I am
saved—that I am part of God’s army? I
know because I have the witness of the Scriptures. As a child I learned, “Jesus loves me this I
know for the Bible tells me so.” I have
the promise of Romans 10:13. John wrote to assure the believer (5:13).
The Spirit and the Scriptures do that.
Overcoming implies struggle. Sometimes there will be setbacks. You may be knocked down, but you aren’t knocked out. Victory in Christ is the birthright of the child of God.