How does 1 John 5:4 say that faith is the victory that wins over the world?

How does faith triumph over the world (1 John 5:4)?

The Christian faith and the belief that Christians are overcomers is a central theme in the writings of the apostle John. In 1 John 2:13–14, Jesus writes about believers’ triumph over “the evil one.” More than often, John describes Christians as conquerors in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). Paul does not mean to imply that only a select few “super-Christians” are overcomers when he writes, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). The fact that we have faith is the triumph by which we conquer the world. Only those who believe that Jesus is the Christ will be victorious against evil and the world. (First John 5:4, ESV)

According to John, “our faith” is the thing that ultimately triumphs over the universe. The Greek words for “our faith” in 1 John 5:4 mean trusting in the atoning work of Jesus Christ or accepting the message of the gospel. Anyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning act on the cross (His death and resurrection) is a co-heir with Christ to the triumph He won over sin (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15), death (Acts 2:24), and the powers of evil in the world (1 John 3:8; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14). By grace we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and been reborn as God’s children (Galatians 2:16). By having faith, we give up control over our lives and submit to His. The victory will come because of our faith. Believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and you will have victory over the evil in this world.

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At the moment of conversion, the Holy Spirit baptizes Christians into one body, the body of Christ, and so Christians are “hidden with Christ in God” (1 Corinthians 12:12–13). Christ is in us, and we are in Christ (Colossians 1:27). We are victorious, as John writes: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is bigger than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Jesus warned his followers that they will face trials in this life. Yet, have hope! I have triumphed above all odds (John 16:33). Because we Christians still live in a sinful world, we shall continue to fight against evil and the forces of darkness. For all that is in the world, the wants of the body and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life are not from the Father but are from the world, as John makes plain. And this world and its lusts are passing away, but those who fulfill God’s will will live forever (1 John 2:16–17, ESV).

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That our salvation is certain is a promise Jesus gives to us (John 3:15–16; 10:28). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit assures us of our salvation and marks us as God’s until the “day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). On the other hand, until then, we must “live by faith in the Son of God,” who loves us and gave His life for us (Galatians 2:20). Finally, we will be able to say with Paul, “Thanks be to God!” Thanks be to God, who, in Christ our Lord, has given us the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57).

The Bible is a source of strength and encouragement because we know that Jesus has already won the final, eternal triumph. Through our unity with Christ and identification with Him, we have already won the victory. But we keep on conquering the world as we go about our daily lives, because we trust that God’s love, which is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord, will be with us and carry us through any “trouble or hardship or persecution or hunger or nakedness or danger or sword” (Romans 8:35–37). In Christ, we have the fortitude to persevere “in plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Philippians 4:12, ESV).

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Whenever trouble arises, Paul urges us to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the wicked one” (1 Timothy 6:16). (Ephesians 6:16, ESV). Believers in Christ are immune to the destructive power of evil and the destructive weapons of the dark. As a matter of fact, it is our faith in Jesus that ultimately triumphs and brings us victory.

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