Wednesday in the Seventh Week of Easter

1 John 5:1-12

The Way to Overcome

In this passage, John shows us the way to overcome the world, which is through faith in Jesus Christ.  We remember that for John, the world is an enemy.  The world is the tool of Satan to tempt us to sin and rebellion.  The Christian is called to flee, shun, or even better, overcome, the world.

We have already said that the way to overcome the world is through faith.  But how does one come to saving faith?  The first verse of this chapter speaks volumes: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.”  This verse tells us three things.  First, it tells us that faith has content.  In other words, faith isn’t just believing anything.  Faith isn’t some mysterious experience that you can’t explain.  Faith isn’t something empty, as revealed in such sayings as, “Keep the faith,” which only begs the question, “Faith in what?”  Faith is believing something specific, namely, that Jesus is the Christ.  John states this in two other ways as well: confessing that Jesus is the Son of God (4:15) and that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (4:2).  We also notice that saving faith centers around a specific confession about Jesus and His relationship to the Father.  Which brings us to the second point this passage reveals, and which has been emphasized all along in this letter, namely, that there is no daylight between the Son and the Father.  To have the one is to have the other (2:23).  The Christian faith makes an exclusive and offensive claim before the world: That Jesus is the Christ, and the only Savior of the world.  And finally, this opening verse tells us the divine order of how one is saved.  Notice that those who believe “have been born” of God.  They believe because they have experienced the new birth, which John speaks of throughout this letter and in his gospel.  We do not believe so that we may be born again; we are born again so that we may believe.  And this puts the emphasis back where it’s supposed to be: with God.  We remember that it is He who loved us, not vice-versa, and it is only His loving us that enables us to love Him.  Likewise, it is only His birthing us anew through the Holy Spirit that enables us to believe that His Son is the Christ, the one who came in the flesh, the Savior of the world.

And it is this faith that keeps the commandments, since the Holy Spirit living within us gives us a heart to keep them, so that they are no longer burdensome to us but a joy.  It is this faith that hears the Spirit say that our Lord came by water (his baptism) and by blood (his passion) to save us.  It is this faith that teaches us that abundant and eternal life dwell in the Son.  And it is faith in such promises as this that overcomes the world.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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