Overcoming the World
“Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5).- 1 John 5:4–5
In our day, as in the past, the book of Revelation remains one of the most studied and controversial books in all of the Bible. Many people spend years looking at the details of this fascinating piece of inspired literature in order that they might understand what seems to be its perplexing message. In good faith, Christians of all kinds put forth all sorts of positions on things such as the dating of the book and the nature of Christ’s millennial reign.
Whatever position a person may take on these issues, it is clear that Revelation was written in order to encourage Christians to overcome the world. The letters to the seven churches in chapters 2–3 repeatedly promise rewards to “the one who conquers.” The majestic portrayal of the exalted Jesus throughout the book is clearly given to encourage continued faithfulness on the part of believers.
It is no surprise the theme of conquering, or overcoming, the world is also very important in John’s first epistle. We read in today’s passage that everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world and that the one who overcomes the world is the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God (5:4–5). John concludes his summary of the three tests of assurance by bringing us back to the essential confession of the identity of Jesus he gave us in verse 1.
This confession involves believing Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God. In other words, it is believing the divine Son of God became incarnate. This is the only confession that can enable us to have victory over the forces of darkness, for only the God-man Jesus Christ is worthy of our ultimate allegiance, and His intercession alone can guarantee His victory over sin will become real in our own lives (Heb. 9:13–14).
First John 5:1–5 reminds us primarily that the three tests of assurance are inseparable. True confession of the God-man Christ Jesus reveals us as born of God and leads to true love of God. This love leads us to obey commandments we do not consider burdensome because we overcome the world by our faith in God incarnate whose work makes us children of the Father (John 1:12–13).
Do you believe Jesus is the divine Word of God who became incarnate for the sake of our salvation? Do you believe He is truly God and truly man? If so, this verse promises you will overcome the world. Are you overcoming the world today? Do you find yourself walking in victory over sin and evil? If not, confess your faith in the Lord again and draw near to Him. Find at least one friend who will help point you to the cross in your time of need.
Passages for Further Study
1 Cor. 15:57
2 Tim. 2:11–13