4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I John 5:4-5)
What does it mean when the Apostle John says that those who have born of God have overcome the world? He uses the phrase “overcomes the world” three times in today’s text. Therefore, by the reality of such repetition, the Holy Spirit places great importance upon this truth.
In all three occurrences, the word “overcomes” is from the Greek word νικάω (nikao). In each instance it means to conquer, prevail, to be a victor, or to be victorious.
What is it that the believer in Christ, or those who have been born of God, have overcome? John’s answer in each occurrence is the world.
The word world (κόσμος; kosmos) specifically refers to the fallen world systems of thought and behavior which is anti-God and rebellious towards God’s commandments. It is this meaning which we first studied in I John 2:15-17 which says, “15 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. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
And what is it that gives the believer in Christ the victory over the world as a victor? Is the individual believers’ faith. The victory over the world is through one’s trust in, commitment to, dependence upon and worship of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This is what John says in I John 5:5.
Dr. John MacArthur writes concerning the world that it is, “Satan’s worldwide system of deception and wickedness. Through Christ and his provision of salvation, the believer is a victor (5:5) over the invisible system of demonic and human evil that Satan operates to capture men’s souls for hell. John repeats the reference to overcoming the world three times—to press it home. Faith in Jesus Christ and dedication of one’s life to him make one an overcomer. John repeats the truth for emphasis.”
When did Christ deliver you from the dominion of the world and make you an overcomer? Who do you know that is still under the domination of the world and needs for God to deliver them from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin? Pray for those individuals today and thank the Lord that you are no longer like them.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!