“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (I John 5:4)
SO many evils and troubles exist in our world: sickness, persecution, pain, disappointment, death. How do we overcome these things, which are so pervasive and constantly assault us? They would drive one to despair (and many atheists have indeeed expressed that hopeless perspective). But John gives us the Christian answer here:
We overcome these worldly enemies by our faith. Faith believes that there is something greater than these ills which assail us; it believes that there are things “unseen” (Heb. 11:1) but which are very real, and which make a difference in our perspective:
— The world sees a person who is getting older, and whose body is failing him. But the Christian sees by faith that “though the outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:16) and that they are growing spiritually even as their physical body declines. Rather than despair, they believe have a glorious future to look forward to.
— The world sees a person who died — in their reckoning “the worst” thing that can happen to someone. But the Christian reckons a different thing. By faith they believe the person who died in Christ is experiencing beauty and joy which we cannot begin to imagine here.
— The world sees hardships which seem crushing to a person. But the Christian by faith sees something more: that “the sufferings of this present age are not worthy to be compared with the glory which is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
So the Christian “overcomes” all of these things and more — NOT because they always “win,” or never fail to get rich, or always escape from persecution, or never get sick or decline physically or die — but they overcome these things by faith: by believing that there is something which transcends all those earthly troubles. They gain victory over the world by faith!