March 31st, 2022
What does the word “world” mean in the Bible? Sometimes it just refers to the earthly portion of God’s good creation. This is the sense Paul used when he referred to the “creation of the world” in Ephesians 1:4. In our verses for today, however, the word has a definite negative connotation. It refers to the earthly portion of God’s good creation in so far as it has been taken over by Satan and infected with sin. “World” in the first sense of the term is not something that needs to be overcome. It is simply the place of our habitation as human beings and it is good. “World” in the second sense, in contrast, needs to be overcome.
It is the second sense of the word Jesus used when He said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus is not saying that he had overcome the earthly portion of God’s good creation, but that He had overcome the power of sin and the devil at work in the earthly part of God’s good creation. The reason Jesus came to earth was not to destroy the earth, but to destroy “the devil’s work” in the earth (1 John 3:8). The whole point of Jesus’ mission is to purge the earth of evil so that God may dwell with His people on earth (Revelation 21).
It is through our faith in Jesus Christ’s overcoming of the world that we overcome the world. Because of our faith, we have already overcome the world. We are already new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are already the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). We have already overcome Satan by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). And we continue to overcome whenever we resist, counteract, and destroy the works of the devil in our lives. In fact, whenever we resist the devil he will flee from us (James 4:7).
In Christ, you are an overcomer. Indeed, you are “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8:37).
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