The Importance of Faith (Part 9): Victory

The Importance of Faith (Part 9): Victory

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).

Through faith, we can overcome the world. But what is “the world” to which John referred?

The world in this verse is not the physical creation. God called this “very good” (Genesis 1:31). As we noted in an earlier lesson, the physical creation is actually designed to produce faith in us (Romans 1:20).

Instead, this world that we are to overcome by faith encompasses all that is opposed to God and His spiritual kingdom. As we noted in the previous lesson, we are involved in a spiritual war (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). As we saw in that lesson, faith is a shield to provide us with protection (Ephesians 6:16). However, more than just protecting us against the enemy, faith allows us to defeat and overcome the enemy. This enemy is Satan – “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) – and we can be victorious over the world through faith.

It is important that we understand that the world as a whole is against us and is trying to turn us against God. James warned, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). When James warned about “friendship with the world,” he referred to the people of the world that refuse to submit to the rule of God.

Paul warned the Corinthians about being “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14, KJV). We cannot avoid all contact with those in the world (1 Corinthians 5:9-10), but we must guard against the evil influence of worldly people. This is why “friendship with the world” is so dangerous. Friends have a great influence over us. When our friends are not aligned with God, their influence can (and too often will) turn us away from Him. Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). We will inevitably have to make a choice – to please our worldly friends or to please God. Paul said, “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). If we value our friendships with those in the world and act in such a way as to keep them as friends, we will eventually have to do things that are contrary to the word of God, making ourselves to be “an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

While the influence of the world may often seem strong, we must remember that this world is only temporary. John wrote, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). Jesus told His apostles, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own” (John 15:19). This is true for us as well. We can choose to live like the world to be accepted by them. But what would be the point? This world will one day be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10). At that point, all that will matter will be whether or not we were on the Lord’s side. What the world thought of us will be infinitely insignificant.

At the end of a lengthly discussion about the resurrection, Paul wrote, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Again, as we noted in the previous lesson, the outcome of this battle has already been decided. “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). Victory is through Christ. We will be victorious with Him through faith.

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