Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and 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? ( John 5:1-5)
The Christian is engaged in an ongoing struggle against a threefold enemy,namely, the World, The Flesh and the Devil. These three entities have array themselves against the believer, as rivals to the Holy Trinity; The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, Satan sets himself against the Son of God, and there is no room in the heart, for both the love of the world and the Love of the Father.
The citizens of heaven are all over-comers, there are no idle spectators among them. All have had to fight and win, and through their faith , they have overcome lukewarmness, idolatry, temptation, the worship of the Beast, the fear of man, and a host of other obstacles laid out before them by their adversary.
We are told that the victory that overcomes the world, is our faith. The purpose of this article is to answer the question, how is it that our faith overcomes the world?
First we must understand the use of the term ‘the world’, in scripture. The world, literally the “cosmos” , which means ‘the order’ or ‘the adornment’, refers to the way that humanity instinctively organizes itself independently of God.
The world is a spiritual entity, it resists Christ, is at enmity with God and cannot receive the Holy Spirit. The whole world, lies in the (power of) the wicked One. Therefore the world will hate Christians because it hates Christ itself.
At it’s core the World has a central doctrine, which was first taught in the garden of Eden, by the serpent. That doctrine is “…you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil...”. It is the exaltation of man to the place of God and even to the replacement of God, it is humanism, the deification of man! This is why the world hates, rejects and persecutes Christ.
Worldliness is an outlook, which excludes God, rejects his authority, and which would allow all of us to decide for ourselves what good and evil are. The Self is the supreme authority in worldliness, the highest ideals of this world are human autonomy. Concepts such as to follow one’s own heart, and to be true to self at all costs, permeates our modern culture.
Paul warned us that “In the last days, perilous times would come for men would be lovers of Self…”, and as a consequence , they would be, “…covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.(2 Timothy 3:1-5)
It is not “faith” in general that overcomes the world, it is the specific core of the Christian faith, the incarnation of God in Christ. The man who turns to Christ with all of his heart, embraces a doctrine which is a direct refutation of the core doctrine of Satan and the world.
We no longer believe that man can be as a god… in fact the Christian conversion involves giving up on being as a god, we want instead to be mere men again, but redeemed by Christ, and under God as worshippers of God. In fact our new core doctrine is the incarnation, which is the opposite of the Serpent’s lie, and of the core spirituality of worldliness, “Man can never be as a god….but God has descended to us and has become a man, for God was in Christ…!
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.(John 3:13)
What a man worships, he conforms to. Worldly man, worships man, the self, and exalts self above all that is called God or that is worshipped. He has cast off reverence to the God of the Bible, self is supreme. This is the source of the corruption of the soul, for man was created to know and worship God and as a consequence, grow into godliness.
When a worldly man repents of his self worship, and turns to the God revealed through Jesus Christ who humbled himself and came down to save us, in the flesh, this doctrine has an incredible capacity to humble us! We worship a God who “emptied himself and took upon him the nature of a servant”, which is the absolute opposite of worldliness.
The deep inner acceptance of the doctrine of the incarnation automatically delivers us from the Spirit of the world, we can never be the same again, nor can we ever have the same values again, after worshipping the God who condescended to us in our needs.