Overcoming The World — 1 John 5:1–5

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Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 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 for the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? — 1 John 5:1–5, ESV


Have you ever played the game called Tug of War? When I was a young man, I did it many times. It was a team sport. Both teams held on to the same rope. Each team had the same number of players. A flag was on the centre of the rope between the two teams. Between the two teams, the ground was wet. Each team tried to pull the flag on their side of the damp ground. The winner was the team who accomplished it.

The Forces Fighting Against The Spirit Of God

The message in 1 John 5:1–5 is for true Christians, the born-again believers in Jesus Christ. Sometimes, trying to be a Christian is like playing the game Tug of War. It is a battle between the flesh (sinful nature) and the Spirit.

In Galatians 5:17, the Apostle Paul says, “For the desires of the flesh nature are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. The “flesh” is our “lower nature.” The nature that gives in to temptation. In the Christian life, a tension always exists between living for the Lord and living according to self-desires. If we give into the will of the flesh, we are in bondage to sin.

We must remember what 1 John 2:15 says: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. What is the meaning of this verse? It is a warning not to idolize the world.

Have you ever tried to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with somebody who had no interest in becoming a Christian? The Apostle Paul would call them a natural person. In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul tells us that the natural person, unlike the spiritual person, does not accept the things of the Spirit of God. Spiritual things make no sense to him. His fleshly desires (man’s lower nature) control him. In blind ignorance, he mocks Christ and born-again believers (Christians).

Satan is the enemy of God and the author of evil and suffering. In 1 Peter 5:8, the Apostle Peter says Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. The devil, also known as Satan, roars at God’s people, and his purpose is to destroy them.

Respect him-he is dangerous. Our vacuum sweeper needed to have a new two-pronged plug. I am not very good at fixing things with my hands, but I thought I could replace the plug safely. When I wrapped the wire around the two prongs, I forgot to make sure that the wire wrapped around the two prongs did not touch the other. When I put the plug in the electrical outlet and turned on the vacuum cleaner, a loud noise and a ball of fire came out of the outlet. It scared both my wife and me. At that moment, I realized how dangerous it could be to do electrical work. Since that happened, my wife has not allowed me to do electrical work!

The devil (Satan) is dangerous because he is a deceiver and murderer. He does not stand for the truth. Yet Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

How can we have victory over our adversary (our enemy)? We can if we separate ourselves from a life of defeat because we give in to our sinful nature. If we refuse to live a self-seeking life, we born-again believers crucify the flesh.

Do you remember the story of Satan tempting Jesus in Luke 4:1- 13? Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He had not eaten anything for forty days. Warren W.

Wiersbe says, “Satan suggested that there must be something wrong with the

Father’s love since His “beloved Son” was hungry.” Satan told Him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” The temptation for Jesus was to use his divine power to feed Himself and save His life. Satan took Jesus up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. Satan told Him, “To you, I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, you will worship me, it will be all yours. The Father had already promised He would provide His Son with all the kingdoms of this world.

(Read Psalm 2:7–8). But first, the Son had to suffer and die (Read John 12:23–33 & Revelation 5:8–10). If Jesus had worshipped Satan, His death on the Cross would have no meaning. Satan set Jesus on the pinnacle of the temple. Satan said, If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, He will command his angels concerning you to guard you. If Jesus voluntarily jumped from the temple, He would have acted contrary to the Father’s will.

Hebrews 4:15 says God knows our struggles, for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are without sin. Hebrews 2:18 says For because he has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Someone said that the carnal Christian, which means “to walk as mere men, not as Christ walked” window shops’ on sin. Satan comes to the door and invites him in. He says, ‘Oh no, just looking.” Yet his openness to temptation leads him invariably to sin.

Everyone Who Believes That Jesus Is The Christ Has Been Born Of God.

Saving faith is not a superficial commitment to Christ. It is a sincere confidence that Jesus can save us from our sins. When God has control of our lives, it is evident that we are His sons and daughters. W. E. Vine says the word “believes” means “to be persuaded of, to place confidence in, to trust, and it implies reliance upon.” By our faith in Jesus Christ, we win the victory over sin. It is a personal union with Him. To believe means more than saying you have faith that Jesus is the promised Messiah; it means personal faith in Him and a personal union with Him.

By This, We Know That We Love The Children Of God When We Love God And Obey His Commandments.

Obey means occasional acts. To keep and obey God’s commandments alone is to love God with the commitment of our total being. Keeping the commandments of God includes, first and foremost, keeping the primary commandment of love. Someone said, If love to man proves the truth of our love to God, love to God proves the worth of our love to men.

The Interpreter’s Bible says, when a man believes that Jesus is Christ, he enters the distinctive solidarity of Christian fellowship, and the love of the brethren prevails. The love of man becomes most real and fruitful when it is rooted in the love of God.

John writes about a man’s love for God as a measure of his love for his fellow man.

His Commandments Are Not Burdensome.

Matthew 11:28–30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

We need to remember Jesus did not promise life on this earth would be easy. But there are some essential things we need to understand in the message of Matthew 11:28–30. W. E. Vine says, “Rest” is not a rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of will, the heart, and the imagination. In each, we find in God ideal satisfaction and development. Someone said it is also freedom, an achievement that results when a person, out of freedom of choice, submits himself to God. “Yoke” is symbolically a submission to the authority of Christ’s yoke that born-again Christians share with Him.

Everyone Who Has Been Born Of God Overcomes The World.

A true born-again believer overcomes the world because he shares the nature of God. God has given him the power he needs to obey His commandments. It is harder for him to disobey God. Fulfilling His commandments is as natural as denying them previously.

The most profound truth about human nature is that we are to obey God’s commandments. An imminent psychiatrist has said that children need rules and discipline for emotional health as much as they need bread and butter for physical health. So, the children of God need the discipline of commandments for spiritual and moral health.

The Victory That Overcomes The World Is Our Faith.

1 John 2:15–16 &17b says Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 4:1–2 says Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, For many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this, you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.

Throughout the years, there have been many false prophets. False prophets claim to speak for God but do not.

The declaration that faith in Jesus as the Son of God enables the believer to overcome the world. The declaration that faith in Jesus as God’s Son makes it possible for the believer to overcome the world. It is a victory from the temptations of the world.

Evangelist John Wesley was stopped one night by a highwayman who robbed the Methodist leader of all his money. Wesley said to the man, “If the day should come that you desire to leave this evil way and live for God, remember that ‘the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.’” Some years later, a man stopped Wesley after a church service. “Do you remember me?” the man asked. “I robbed you one night, and you told me that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. I have trusted Christ, and He has changed my life.”

Who Is It That Overcomes The World — Except The One Who Believes That Jesus Is The Son Of God?

The new life Jesus gives within us can provide us with the power to be gradually more victorious over sin. That doesn’t mean we will be utterly sin-free on this earth. However, in the Christian life, we experience victory when God controls our lives.

As we mature as born-again believers, we increasingly experience victorious living.

Jesus says in the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world. Jesus knew that instead of having faith when He was arrested and crucified, His disciples, in fear, would scatter. But the words Jesus said in John 16:33, “In me you have peace,” would happen after His disciples submitted to Him (Read John 15:1–11).

We can have peace despite any future trouble, misery, or sorrow. The fact that Christ died for our sins and arose from the grave means that our faith in Him helps us to overcome the world.

I John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In 1 John 4:4, John says Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

In Galatians 2:20, the Apostle Paul says I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved and gave himself for me. It’s a complete commitment to Christ’s lordship and to God’s will (Read John 15:1–5).


My friend, I believe if you do that, you will overcome the world.

Contributor | By C Paul Wooderson | Minister & Author

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