“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Faith Is the Victory
(Please read 1 John 5:4)
We might expect the second word of our text to be “whoever” instead of “whatever,” but apparently John was speaking of the new birth itself rather than of individuals who are reborn. The new birth, of water and the Spirit (John 3:5 and following) empowers us to “overcome” the world. And the instrument we use is our faith.
At first reading it may appear audacious in the extreme for John to claim that somehow Christians can overcome the world. When he wrote this, the world was dominated by the Roman Empire, which seemingly was powerful enough to conquer whatever countries it wanted and frighten the rest into abject servitude. Now, about two millennia later, we can well be apprehensive about how followers of Christ will fare in a world where weapons of mass destruction may fall into the hands of nations dominated by religious zealots who are enemies of Christ, and where our voices sometimes seem drowned out by those of the minions of Satan.
But John is confident in the power of faith in Christ to win the victory. John’s last writing, The Revelation, includes letters from Christ to seven churches, each of which offers rewards to those who overcome. That book appears to foretell victory over the cruel empire, with the message for Christians: “We win!” Roman brutality toward Christians was so bad that even pagans rebelled. The empire fell, but the church remained.
We can be confident that although persecution may come, Christianity will not be snuffed out. When the Lord returns, there will be faithful servants to greet him.
Faith is the victory.