“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.” (1 John 5:4 RSV).
The born-again believers are not of the world; however, they live in the world that is hostile to the cause of Jesus Christ and His followers.
The world (the mass of the ungodly) is hostile to the followers of Christ because the world is under the dominion, control, or influence of the devil, the wicked one (1 John 5:19).
The Lord Jesus explained this truth in clear words to His disciples in John 15:
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (NKJV).
Not only is the world hostile or unfriendly to the followers of Christ, the world is also constantly seeking to distract, discourage or dissuade them from following Jesus Christ on His own terms.
The world is always seeking to defile or corrupt the minds of the believers through its lust, fashion, style, mode, or music. Therefore, it is absolutely impossible for anyone to love, worship, follow and serve the Lord Jesus Christ faithfully without confronting and overcoming the world and its lusts.
The word “overcome” in the New Testament is from the Greek word “nikao”
This word is a verb which denotes an action, occurrence, or a state of existence.
The word “nikao” literally means “to subdue, to conquer, to overcome, to prevail or get victory.” It implies “carrying off the victory, coming off victorious, or maintaining one’s cause.”
It is used of Christ as victorious over all His foes. It is also used of Christians that hold fast to their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, tribulations and temptations.
From the understanding of the Greek word “nikao” that was translated “overcome” in the New Testament, it is clear that overcoming the world is not a passive thing, but an active, dynamic or on-going experience or exercise.
Overcoming the world implies not seeking after or pursuing the earthly things, like the children of this world (the unbelievers) do.
The Lord Jesus commands His disciples in Matthew 6:
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (NKJV).
Overcoming the world also implies not loving, pursuing, hoarding, or living for the temporary things of this world as the ungodly do.
Apostle John warns us in 1 John 2:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.
17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV).
The believer who overcomes the world is the one who though living in the world is not conforming to the world in any way, or living according to the modes, standards, maxims, precepts, customs, principles, or fashions of this evil world (Rom. 12:2, Col. 2:20-22).
The believer who overcomes the world is the one who still maintains his focus, allegiance, loyalty, dedication or commitment to Jesus Christ and His cause in spite of the abounding distractions, temptations, tribulations or persecutions he faces or encounters in the world (Heb. 6:10-12).
Overcoming the world connotes not allowing the pressures and cares of this world to dampen, suppress or quench your first love for Christ.
In a nutshell, as Apostle Paul puts it, overcoming the world is to be dead or crucified to the world and the world to you.
Paul writes, “But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14 RSV).
How can anyone overcome the world?
Through faith in Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world!
It is impossible to overcome the world and its lusts without a confrontation or battle with the devil, the god or ruler of this world (2 Cor. 4:4, Eph. 2:2, John 12:31, 14:30).
Unfortunately, there is no natural man who is strong or wise enough to defeat the devil (the god of this world) and thus overcome the world and all its lusts.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only man who has ever confronted and defeated the devil, thereby becoming the only One to ever truly and completely overcome the world.
The Lord Jesus clearly announced, “I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV).
Anyone who puts his faith in the person of Jesus Christ and His finished redemptive work becomes a partaker in Christ’s victory over the world and its lusts.
The Scripture states this truth in 1 John 5:
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.
5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (NKJV).
It is only through experiencing the New Birth that Christ’s victory over the world can become a reality in your life or your personal experience.
When you experience the New Birth through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work, you become a new creation in Christ and spiritually joined to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul testifies to this truth in 1 Corinthians 6:
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (NKJV).
What are the spiritual implications or benefits of your spiritual union with Christ?
First, by reason of your spiritual union with Christ, you died with Christ and also rose up with Him:
Paul queries, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:3-4 NKJV).
He further states, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20 NKJV).
The believers in Christ are dead to the world and all its lusts and enticements, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. And because the world cannot defile, discourage, distract, influence or control a dead man, the believers have overcome the world.
The Scripture amply affirms this truth.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. (NKJV).
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (NKJV).
14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (NKJV).
Second, because you are now one with Christ, all that Christ has done, achieved or accomplished through His death and His resurrection is now imputed to you or credited to your account (1 Cor. 6:17).
Therefore, Christ’s victory over the world (its god and lusts) is now your own victory!
Third, by virtue of your union with Christ all that Christ has is now credited to your account.
Therefore, you are now heir of God and joint heir with Christ!
Paul aptly states this truth in Romans 8
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (NKJV).
As a joint heir with Christ, you now share or possess His authority, power or dominion over the god of this world.
The Lord Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19 NKJV).
Fourth, by the reason of your spiritual union with Christ you have been raised up together with Christ and made to sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” (Eph. 1:21 NKJV).
Even though you are physically living and walking about in the world, you are spiritually operating from the heavenly realm, far above the god of this world.
Lastly, because of your spiritual union with Christ, you are now all that Christ is.
The Scripture testifies that “as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17 NKJV).
Like Christ, you are now the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness of this world cannot comprehend, apprehend, defeat, dominate or prevail against you (John 1:5). Hallelujah!
Paul writes, “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” (1 Thess. 5:5 NKJV).
Beloved, though the world is full of darkness, you are the light of the world and you have overcome the darkness of this world through your faith in Christ.
The Lord Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matt. 5:14 NKJV).
Therefore, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16 NKJV).
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (Philip. 2:14-15 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I acknowledge and declare today my victory over the world by reason of my spiritual union with Christ. I am the light of the world and I shine in the darkness of this world, and the darkness of this world cannot comprehend me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.