For those of you who are struggling…who are tired…who feel like the world is out to get you…be encouraged by these words starting in John 16:33,
“ I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Then in 1 John 5:1-5 we get something very similar with a slight twist,
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For 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. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?“
Belief/faith lead to new birth and that new birth means we claim a victory that was initiated in Christ and is lived out through and in us. This victory overcomes all the dark and evil powers of this world…takes them off the throne and recognizes the true King and Messiah, Jesus Christ.
If this world is getting you down and you feel powerless…know that there is a great power at work in your life that is not of yourself…it is the victory of Christ and the overpowering and overcoming of the forces of this world. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:31-39,
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Consider also what Paul wrote in Colossians 2:11-15,
“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.“
This world has nothing on you because you live under the banner of Jesus Christ. It is easy to forget that and good to be reminded of the reality of what it means to be in Christ and to live under the victory that He brings to our lives.
Coming up next, I am going to be reviewing Richard Beck’s book “The Slavery of Death” where we can listen in as he unpacks some of these themes of scripture in ways that are hopeful and practical.
Perhaps if the church quit pretending that no one was suffering, no one hurt, there was no evil in the world, and there are no problems and starting reading the above words from St. John, things would be better and fewer people would be missing from the churches. For too long the suffering and hurting were ignored, the mourners weren’t comforted, and the martyrs and their faith went unmentioned.
Only Romans 8 starting at 37 was read. The verses before them tragically weren’t.
Thanks for mentioning these verses.
So true brother Mark! We are trying to reclaim a spirit of authenticity and vulnerability in the church.