We’ve come to John’s final mark of being born again. The first mark was righteous living, the second mark was loving others, the third mark was loving God, and the final mark is victory over sin. You find it in 1 John 5:4, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
I love that verse! The word “victory” is a Greek word that you might recognize…it is nike. As you grow in your faith you discover that all who are brought forth by God will overcome the world. MacArthur said, “The word reflects a genuine superiority that leads to overwhelming success. The victory is demonstrable; it involves overthrowing an enemy so that the victory is seen by all.” Now understand this—you didn’t win the victory—you simply benefit from the battle that is already won. Jesus won the victory and God in us gives us the victory!
The faith that God gave you after he brought you forth enables you to live in victory because it places it’s focus upon the only one who can deliver you—the Son of God. How do you live in victory? You live in victory the same way you were saved—you live in totally dependence upon the one who brought you forth. If we follow the context of 1 John 5:1-5 we discover the flow of John’s four marks. Do you love the Father? You can’t say yes unless you love His children. Do you love His children? You can’t say yes unless you keep His commands. Do you keep His commands? You can’t say yes unless you are seeing victory in your life.
Let me close with some words of encouragement. The victory will come in every believer’s life, but it doesn’t come at the same rate. In other words God’s sanctifying work will end in glorification for every single believer, but we will have to admit that the pace is different in every believer. Some seem to grow at a faster pace…some seem to grow at a slower pace. I would desire for all of us to grow at a sprinter’s speed, but I’m not in charge of that. The main point is that we are growing. Victory over sin will come in a believer’s life…one way or the other!
Let me close with some words of Paul, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” We don’t have to agree on every jot and tittle of verse 29-30, but one thing is clear—God finishes what He starts!