Posts Tagged ‘Perseverance’

I’m going through 1 John right now in my Greek class, and thought I would offer some thoughts.

John speaks of the false teachers (the antichrist) who have come into the world. And then as if to reassure his beloved church, he then changes his tone:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them (the antichrist), for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (4:4).

This reminds me of a theme I’ve been noticing all throughout the NT, but particularly in John’s writings. Namely, that Christ indwells his church.

It sounds simple enough, but this is a profound mystery. There is this vital and mystical union between Christ and his Church, and it is one of the reasons why Christians don’t get destroyed by the evil one. It is not because we are tough enough to take on our spiritual enemies. On the contrary, we are weak, poor, pitiful, hobbit-folk — halflings — who roam a world full of desperate peril.

We are like spiritual ragamuffins, defenseless if left to ourselves. But Christ works through us by the power of the Holy Spirit, sanctifying, guarding, protecting, nurshishing, strengthening, and preserving us unto the end.

Calvin comments:

Though then they must contend, yet he says that they had conquered, because they would have a successful issue, as though he had said that they were already, though in the middle of the contest, beyond any danger, because they would surely be conquerors.

But this truth ought to be farther extended, for whatever contests we may have with the world and the flesh, a certain victory is to follow. Hard and fierce conflicts indeed await us, and some continually succeed others; but as by Christ’s power we fight and are furnished with God’s weapons, we even by fighting and striving become conquerors. As to the main subject of this passage, it is a great consolation, that with whatever wiles Satan may assail us, we shall stand through the power of God.

But we must observe the reason which is immediately added, because greater, or stronger, is he who is in you than he who is in the world. For such is our infirmity, that we succumb before we engage with an enemy, for we are so immersed in ignorance that we are open to all kinds of fallacies, and Satan is wonderfully artful in deceiving. Were we to hold out for one day, yet a doubt may creep into our minds as to what would be the case tomorrow; we should thus be in a state of perpetual anxiety. Therefore the Apostle reminds us that we become strong, not by our own power, but by that of God. He hence concludes, that we can no more be conquered than God himself, who has armed us with his own power to the end of the world. But in this whole spiritual warfare this thought ought to dwell in our hearts, that; it would be all over with us immediately were we to fight in our own strength; but that as God repels our enemies while we are reposing, victory is certain.

Our only hope is to call upon the name of the Lord, our only strength is through the power of prayer, and our only victory is obtained through faith in Christ the Victor.  He, and he alone, is why we overcome.

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