1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
For those who love God, His commandments are not to be grievous. Yet why is this so often not the case with us? Instead, usually we are trying our utmost to keep His commandments and are constantly struggling with feelings of weakness and guilt; constantly meeting with defeat after defeat. Other times, we find ourselves on the verge of giving up, feeling that it’s impossible to keep the commandments of God.
“Why,” we wonder, “is this Scripture not true in my life? Why do I find His commandments so grievous?”
Once we are honest enough with ourselves to admit that His commandments are grievous to us, we can then begin to apply ourselves to finding out why. And not only the cause, but also the remedy! And where do you suppose we can find all this? Yes, in the Bible.
Where better to start our search for an answer to a troubling passage of Scripture than in close proximity to that very passage? And so we find that in the very next verse, the issue begins to reveal itself.
1 John 5:4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
God’s Word says that those born of Himself do overcome the world. And as Christ Himself said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Yet instead of us overcoming the world, we find the world overcoming us, and are “drawn away after our own lusts.” But, this verse contains a key to unlock the mystery of overcoming, for it tells us what the victory that overcomes the world is…and if we know what it is then we can begin to seek it. And what is this victory of overcoming the world? “Even our faith.”
Faith! Our faith “is the victory that overcometh the world!” And thus is revealed overcoming the world by faith. And what is overcoming the world, except keeping the commandments of God? And what is keeping the commandments of God, except righteousness? And so we have come face to face with Righteousness by Faith.
Here we find the heart of the Gospel; that message which lay dormant in the hearts and minds of Christians for centuries…that message which was proclaimed with such power and clarity in 1888 by A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner, who removed all manner of theological sophistry and grasped the pure and true message of Righteousness by Faith, revealing it to us as the matchless charms of Christ.
And so what is it that our faith must be placed in? Christ, and Him alone. For in the very next verse we find yet another key, which unlocks the mystery of our faith, for it describes that which our faith
must be applied to.
1 John 5:5, “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
And so we find that our faith is the victory that overcometh the world, and that it is in Him who overcame the world: Jesus, the Son of God!
John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
And here is the promise, that in Christ we might no longer find the commandments grievous but, instead, finally have peace.
“But,” we say, “I already have faith in Jesus, believing that He is the Son of God. So why do I not also have the victory that overcomes the world?”
Indeed. So we must keep digging.
FAITH...and what is it? Consider this...do we really need to have the definition perfectly pinned down if we know how to get it? If we know how to get as much faith as we'll ever need, does it really matter if we know exactly what it is?
Romans 10:17. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God!"
There it is, friends!! The word of God! That is what will give us the faith we need to overcome the world!
When God brought the people of Israel out of captivity in Egypt and led them through the wilderness until they crossed the river Jordan into the promise land, just as He brings us out of captivity in sin and leads us through the wilderness of this life until we cross the river of death into the promise land of heaven, what did He feed them with? What did He sustain them with in the wilderness? Manna! Manna is what gave them the strength to get through the wilderness into the promise land. As long as they got that manna they had the strength to overcome...and as long as we keep getting faith we will have the strength to overcome!
The Hebrew word manna literally means "What is it?" They had no idea what it was! But they knew where to get it. As long as we know where to get faith, does it matter if we know exactly what it is?
One thing I have noticed when talking to other Christians is that there seems to always be a common denominator when they are struggling with not overcoming the world: lack of consistent searching of the Scriptures.
You would be shocked if you could see the actual number of people who read their Bibles faithfully every single day. If we would all concentrate on just 3 things, our entire lives would be changed, and our entire church would be changed, and the entire world would be changed, and Jesus Christ would be on His way back!
The three things are so simple: Bible study. Prayer. Sharing.
Can you imagine what would happen if every member of our church committed themselves to reading God’s word every day, praying all day, and sharing the Gospel at every opportunity?
This study is not entirely fleshed out and complete...but I have had this written down for a few weeks and wanted to get it out there. I hope that it will be helpful to someone out there. :-) God bless.