@ReadingSpurgeon: 1 John 5:4 – The Victory of Faith (NPSP1S14)
“The word “overcomes” seems to have in it something of the sword and warfare, of strife and contention, of agony and wrestling.” This sermon from C. H. Spurgeon on 1 John 5:4 – “For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” – is about the battle Christians fight throughout life, but which they do with the certainty of victory.
He has 3 points:
I. A great victory
Christians have overcome the world – in what sense have they? They overcome the world by living “as a distinct people, a separate race, a chosen generation, a peculiar people.”
“Men usually swim with the stream like a dead fish. It is only the living fish that goes against it.” Most if they “see that the majority of mankind have certain habits,” they succumb and yield. But not the believer, “you are to come out and be separate, if you would overcome the world.”
When “we rebel against the world’s customs,” the enemy changes his conduct either frowning with persecution or admiring with praise. “A smiling world is worse than a frowning world… Christians are not so much in danger when they are persecuted as when they are admired. When we stand upon the pinnacle of popularity, we may well tremble and fear.”
We also, when God sends affliction and sorrow, resist the world’s solution to escape them.
II. A great birth
We must insist “that in order to enter heaven there must be a radical change” – a new birth.
The new birth is mysterious “that human words cannot speak of it,” and yet it is a change “which is known and felt.” It is a supernatural change, “something which man cannot do and which only God can effect… something so mighty and wondrous that it must be confessed to be the work of God and God alone,” and it is an enduring change. “If I am really born again, with that real supernatural change, I shall never fall away. I may fall into a sin, but I shall not fall finally.”
III. A great grace
Those who are born again really do overcome the world. How? By faith. “Faith overcomes the world by curing like with like.” Fear of the world is overcome by fear of God. The hopes of the world are overcome by the hope of glory. The love of the world is overcome by the love of God. “So faith overcomes the world by like curing like.”
Spurgeon closes with some questions and a warning. “Has your faith overcome the world? Can you live above it? Or do you love the world and the things thereof? If so, sirs, you must go on your way and perish, each one of you, unless you turn from that and give your hearts to Christ.”