FAITH THAT OVERCOMES
I John 5:3-12
1 John 5:3-12 (KJV)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Faith is very prominent in the writings of John. More that one half of the 100 occurrences of the verb "believe" in the New Testament occur in the writings of John. Oddly enough, the noun "faith" is found only once in John's writings.
I John 5:4
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
Up until this passage, "belief" has been mentioned four times in I John.
I John 3:23
"And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus."
I John 4:1
"Beloved, believe not every spirit."
I John 4:16
"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us."
I John 5:1
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."
Now John wants to teach us, that this believing on the name of Jesus, and the believing in the love of the Lord has great effect on our lives. In fact, it results in a faith that has conquering power, a faith that is resident in a Person, and a faith that authenticates a Christian's witness.
FAITH THAT GUARANTEES US VICTORY
I John 5:3-5
"...His commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God."
The "whatsoever" is not "whosoever" for it is not referring to us doing the conquering, overcoming, and winning... it is the victory of the Spirit of God working through us. The divine life residing within us, is what conquers.
"He Who is in you, is greater than he that is in the world."
The first use of the word "overcometh" in I John 5:4, is in the present tense.
This suggests two things:
The Christian conflict with this sinful world, is still in progress.
Continuous victory is possible.
Victory does not need to be a past experience or a future hope. We need victory now, and it is possible.
When John speaks of "the world", he is referring to all the forces and powers of evil that are against God and His children.
The second use of the word "overcometh" in I John 5:4, is in the past tense. It is our faith, and the acceptance of it within us that at the moment of reception of such, guaranteed us victory in battle. A past experience and decision that we made - is what makes us now victorious. Victory has been assured by a past event upon calvary... and our past decision to accept this victory.
Victory and "faith" are linked. Those who have this "faith" are guaranteed victory. There is no way a person with faith can lose. If we die, we go to be with Jesus. If we live, we have more time to hinder sin, and give the light of the gospel to the world. If we are in prison, we can see the walls shake with the presence of God. All that is necessary for such victories, is our faith.
I John 5:5
"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
It is the faith in a Jesus Christ Who came as a human being, but still remained the eternal Son of God, that is the overcoming faith. The gnostics did not teach such a doctrine... but John surely does... He re-iterates this truth over and over.
When Jesus seemed to be defeated on the cross, but that event became the source of all conquering power. Whenever we seem to be on the verge of being defeated by the devil, we are still guaranteed victory through our faith in Jesus.
I John 5:6
"This is He Who came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit Who beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth."
Faith in the Lord is a faith in a person... Jesus Christ is the "He" in Whom we believe. Jesus is the Christ, i.e. the Messiah, the Sent One. This Sent One was testified and announced by water... that is the water baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist was the announcement of Jesus to be the Sent One... John the Baptist announced Jesus to be the One sent to be the Lamb of God Who would take away the sin of the world.
The blood of Jesus on the cross proved to the world that He was the Son of God. The gnostics denied Jesus' death and resurrection but they accepted His baptism. These gnostics would not believe that the Son of God would suffer the cross. But John emphasizes that Jesus was proven to be the Son of God by the water and the blood...
The Spirit bore witness to the deity of Jesus Christ, because Jesus said that if He would not go away, the Spirit would not come. The Spirit did come on the day of Pentecost, proving that Jesus had arrived in heaven.
I John 5:7-12
"But there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one... and there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in Himself; he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
We can rest assured that Jesus is definitely the Son of God. The Trinity has witnessed to this fact.
The testimony of God with His voice from heaven at Jesus' baptism, the testimony of Jesus by His going to the cross for our sins, and the testimony of the Spirit by His coming on the day of Pentecost, show agreement. The whole Trinity agreed with the fact that this Jesus Who died on the cross was the eternal Son of God. But there is a fourth witness that every saint has.
The ones who believe on the Lord have a witness in themselves. (See verse 10) There is an inner awareness. God witnesses to each of us, and tells us that Jesus is truly the Son of God. We hear His voice, and hear that witness, if we are children of God. If we try to say that He is not the Son of God, we are calling the witness of God that we are hearing in ourselves... a "liar."
If Jesus had not truly been the Son of God, then His death would have meant nothing... but He was resurrected because death could not hold Him. As the sinless Son of God, He could not be held in the tom.. He was victorious in death... proving thereby that He is the Son of God. Our faith in Him is our victory!
Because of His death, resurrection... we have life within us. And we know that this life within us is the abiding life given us by Jesus the Son of God. He conquered sin, conquered death, and proved himself to be the eternal Son of God . Our faith in Him, definitely makes us to be conquerors too.