“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 (ESV)
We again find a promise in the first letter by the apostle John written to the believers in the surrounding churches. As the pastor/teacher to the congregation in Ephesus, his concern was for all those who believed in Christ and who were beset by false teachers and pressures of the world. Christians who truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior need to know that they are overcomers of evil. They need to know why and how they are overcomers. This promise tells us. Those born of God, everyone who is a child of God overcome the world. Jesus has made that possible and a fact in our lives. It is said very clearly right here, “this is our victory and we have overcome the world because of our faith.” Then, as John has done throughout this letter he emphasized by saying it again more forcefully. Take this as for each of us. Who overcomes the world? Those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Unless a person believes that Jesus is who He said He was, they are out. But those who do believe Jesus, have already overcome the world in Him.
“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.” – 1 John 5:3–4 (ESV)
Struggling to be obedient to God as if obedience is a heavy burden is not evidence of love for Him. Our acts of loving God amount to much more than just keeping His commandment. Truly, loving God is having a heart for God that enables us to keep the statutes and instructions without that becoming a burden. John explains why God’s commandments are not burdensome. When we are born of God – and this is for all who are truly born of God – He makes us overcomers of the world system. We have what overcomes the many pitfalls and obstacles to keeping God’s will. It is the new nature we have through being born of God. That new birth creates in us a new creature and that creates a faith developing and maturing within ourselves. This faith in God who loves us and gave us His only Son, does more than enable us to assent to God will, it also enables us to embrace all that He is for us in Christ. Eighteenth-century pastor Jonathan Edwards wrestled with this text and concluded, “Saving faith implies love. Our love to God enables us to overcome the difficulties that attend keeping God’s commands.”
“ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7 (ESV)
We find in the Bible promises that are within instructions. We have such a promise in our verse today. We have two commands, two actions we are instructed to do. The first is Submit and the second is Resist. Working together obeying these instructions has a promise. But instead, many times we Resist Submission. Submitting is contrary to our concept of “free will.” The word “submit” here is a military term “to be subordinated” or “to render obedience.” Submitting is required in many circumstances. Resistance fits more comfortably with our concept of freedom, but here’s a problem, that’s not freedom. When we resist God we are submitting to the way is the devil wants us to behave. Of course that’s backwards from what we are instructed. We’ll never see the promised results of running the devil off if that is the way we live. What we really want, and need is freedom from sin and the devil. That comes when we submit to God and resist the devil. The devil cannot overpower God power in our lives. Submit to God, Resist the devil, We must do this with consistency, over and over. The victory of Christ becomes more precious.
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NASB)
Our promise today is found in the last verse chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians. It continues the instructions Paul gave in the first verses of the chapter (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Where we are is spiritually depends on what we are taught and learn and believe. The gospel Paul had preached in Corinth (1 Corinthians 2:1–2) had not changed; but he feared that along with the declension in the church concerning the message of Christ crucified and its implication for believers, the same was happening with regard to the message of Christ resurrected. False teachers who work for the enemy to turn people away from the truth of Jesus’s resurrection. The proof Christ is who He claims to be is His resurrection. So the enemies will always attempt to deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul had clearly stated the case for Christ’s resurrection and that if He did not rise from the dead our faith in Him would be useless. But it is true. Christ did not say in the grave. He conquered the sting and power of death for all who believe. He secured our victory over death so that what we do for Christ’s Gospel is not in vain.