“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?” 1 John 5:4-5
The word victory and the word overcome both come from the same Greek root – nike. You might recognize this as an apparel brand or the name of a Greek goddess. So the verses could really be translated like this: “For everyone who has been born of God has victory over the world. And this is the victory that has gained us victory over the world—our faith. Who is it that has victory over the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
The implications of this verse are at least twofold:
We are already victorious – God has already declared that we are overcomers. This is true because of who we are in Christ – who is the ultimate Overcomer. We have already gained victory over death and damnation. We have already gained victory over sin.
And yet, the fight goes on. Therefore…
Day by day we must continue to overcome – Day by day we must exercise our faith, demonstrating our ongoing dependence upon God, to overcome temptation and worry and the difficulties that will come our way. Being an overcomer entails more than believing; it means that our faith is manifest through actions and choices each day.
I love the promises in The Revelation that are given to overcomers. They give me hope and motivate me to continue to overcome each day…
- To the one who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (2:7)
- The one who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (2:11)
- To the one who is overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. (2:17)
- To the one who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. (2:26-28)
- The one who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. (3:5)
- The one who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. (3:12)
- To the one who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. (3:21)
May God gives us the courage and strength each day to overcome this world as we anticipate the rewards for overcomers that we will gain in the next world.