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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

John 16:33, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulations: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

I John 5:4, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

This morning, it behooves us again to take notice of the fact that Scripture no where contradicts itself, and whenever cursory glances seem to indicate such contradictions, they exist in our minds and not on the page itself. However, whenever we find what seems to be conflicting information, it does us well to investigate the verses/passages deeply as such study often yields the golden nuggets of God's wisdom in the penning of the book. There are rich details that we often glance over, but being prompted out of that state - by a question or otherwise - can oftentimes give us good, rich thoughts that we did not have beforehand.

Looking at the two verses above, they seem to indicate that Christ overcame the world, and our faith overcomes the world. Obviously if language means anything at all, our faith and Christ's person are not full equitable: they are not equal or the same. So, how are we to rightly divide what is being said? How many layers of thought are involved when trying to rightly divide this? Let us proceed into a multi-layered progression based on the "nuts and bolts" of the verse to arrive at a Scripturally balanced and rightly divided (God willing) conclusion.

In the first verse, Christ plainly states that in Him is peace. In other words a position "in Christ" yields a position of peace. Scripture plainly declares us "in Christ" in many places as far back as before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4) Therefore, we have had peace from a covenant standpoint since before our actual existence. This covenant peace does not nullify the necessity of Christ's actual coming and literal suffering for us, for that legally rendered peace between God (the offended) and the elect family of God (the offenders). However, God's people, being in Christ, were legally at peace with God by the meritorious work of the Son. (I Corinthians 15:22)

By the plain words of Christ, peace comes "in Him," and we are verily in Him both covenantly and legally by His work. Yet, there is another necessary layer to this discussion of position that John offers in the second verse above. I John 5:4 declares that "whatsoever" is born of God overcometh the world. Consider the difference between "whatsoever" and "whosoever." Sometimes John, in his first epistle, switches between the two words. In one sense, "whosoever" refers to the man that has been born again, but in another sense, "whatsoever" refers to the actual new man/new nature that a regenerated person has. When John says "whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world," he reveals that the vital work of salvation that began in the portals of eternity and was sealed at Calvary is made real and effectual to the heir of grace by being born of God. This changed heart, renewed mind, and new nature is completely not of this world. Being not of this world, it cannot be vanquished by this world nor overthrown.

Christ encourages His disciples not to fear those that can destroy the body, but rather to fear him that can destroy both body and soul in hell. (Matthew 10:28) When the world kills a person, what have they done? All they have done is destroyed the body: taken the life breath of natural existence from a natural body. Therefore, they have killed the body, but the new creature that is stamped and marked upon his inward parts immediately flies back to God, at rest and peace in the blissful abode of heaven. Can the world stop that? No, the world cannot, and the "whatsoever is born of God" can never be undone in an heir of grace once God has touched the inside. Regeneration never has to be re-regenerated. It is done once for all time in that person, just as Christ's offering was once for all time for His people. (Hebrews 10:14)

Therefore, a position of peace comes from being in Christ, which we are in many different ways. Christ goes on to say that He has overcome the world, and that victory (what the word overcome means) is seen by a brilliant stroke of love and mercy when He destroyed death and him that had the power over death by actually tasting death for us. (Hebrews 2:9, 15) Generally, one thinks of a victory coming in the opposite fashion. If a general wants to defeat his foes, he kills them, rather than being killed. If a king wants to expand his empire and kingdom, he puts down his rivals by exacting servitude upon them. Christ, however, won the victory by submitting to the most excruciating and shameful woes ever undergone. By the journey's end, His visage was marred more than any man's visage had ever been marred. (Isaiah 52:14) Yet, by experiencing this shameful course, He put down all rule, authority, power, or principality that could have rightfully or justly kept Him from His loved ones.

Justly, we deserved to die in separation from God forever. Now we do not. Justly, the devil could have made a case against us for all of our black marks and imperfections. Now he cannot, for our blights are gone forever, as God Himself remembers them no more against us. (Hebrews 8:12) Therefore, what was agreed on in covenant was made real and manifest by Christ legally. Due to this great sacrifice and overcoming the world, the vital aspect of our salvation will be just as real to every child of grace as His literal appearing is right now in heaven for us. (Hebrews 9:24) Therefore, this entire position of peace and overcoming that we have hinges upon the success of Christ, which He gloriously triumphed in to every jot and tittle.

Now, inevitably the question arises, how about our faith? What do we make of that last phrase that says our faith overcomes the world? Interestingly enough, the first phrase of I John 5:4 that we have already looked at describes the overcoming as past perfect tense (overcometh), much like the "believeth" in I John 5:1 is in past perfect tense. Using this tense, overcoming has already happened, but the second phrase uses present tense "this is the victory" to show where our faith comes in. We are already, past tense, conquerors through the work of Christ and vital union with Him in the new birth. How do we seize upon that blessedness now in the present tense? The utilization of faith, that stems from that new man, brings victory today.

Indeed, our victory in the portals of eternity stands sure forever, but today is a day (present tense) for us to utilize what has already been done for us. How can we keep the evils of the world from driving us to depression and despair? How can we stare at the bleak and icy hand of death without mortal dread and fear? How do we keep from thinking that we are all alone in this cold and weary world, and most importantly, how do we keep from always thinking in terms of "poor, pitiful me?"

For us today to walk in peace, we need to utilize the faith that God has given us to see things as they really are. The way things really are is that we are loved by God in so many different facets that there is nothing to fear in this present, evil world. Our home with Him is forever secure, and our state with Him is ever sure. What can the world do? Absolutely nothing to change that! Is that worth rejoicing in today, getting the faith gear in motion to walk as a victorious son or daughter of God? Undeniably it is! The way we feel the victory that Christ already has won to win our daily battles is to wield the faith and knowledge that this world is not our home, nor can it stand in the way of God's ultimate pleasure to us. By so doing, we minimize the trivial points of depression and exalt the spiritual bounty that God has blessed us to enjoy. May we be found exercising the faith that springs from the new man enjoying the benefits of our position in Christ and having peace with God and one another no matter what the world may do or say.

In Hope,

Bro Philip