How Do We Overcome the World?

16 Dec
Blood of the Lamb

from Google Images

According to Galatians 1:4, Paul claims that Christ has delivered us from this present evil world. This is the true Gospel, and anything or anyone that places us back in the world would be a false gospel or a false prophet. Notice that through the Gospel we receive grace and peace from God our Father and Jesus our Messiah (Genesis 1:3), and in this God is glorified (Genesis 1:5). Contrariwise, God’s grace and peace cannot be enjoyed, if we are in the world, and, if this is our position, then God is not glorified in our behavior, no matter how righteous looking that behavior seems to be. In other words, God is glorified in our behavior in Christ (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13, see Philippians 2:11), but he is not glorified in our behavior in the world, from which Christ has delivered us according to the Gospel.

What does it mean to be called into the grace of Christ (Galatians 1:6)? I believe it has to do with being created anew (Galatians 6:15). That is, we are no longer a creature of this world, but in Christ we have become a new creature for the purposes of God (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:13). We are not called to fight the evil in this world, which would place us back in the world to do a so-called ‘righteous’ work in the name of God. Rather, we are called to exemplify the nature of the Kingdom of God (Colossians 3:10-15) in this world as a witness. How is this done? It is done through the only work God has given us to do, namely, to trust in Christ (John 6:28-29). In Christ our ‘old man’ or ‘the body of sin’ has been crucified (Romans 6:6). We are commanded to put off our old man, that is, our previous behavior (Ephesians 4:22 & Colossians 3:9) by embracing Christ, trusting him that he would bear the fruit of his Spirit in us (cp. 2Corinthians 3:18 and Galatians 5:16). Therefore, to be called into the good favor or grace of Christ means that we have put off the old man and put on the new man, and this is done by faith. Through faith, we have become a new creature in Christ.

What, then, is the old man? Is he simply the man I used to be? Is he only an allegory for my old evil works and habits? I don’t think so. I believe Paul gives us a different picture than simply reforming the old man and making him ‘like’ new. We have really become a new creature, but it does not yet appear what we shall be (1John 3:2). The whole old creation lies in that wicked one, in whom we have had our former life (1John 5:19; cp. Ephesians 2:3; 4:22). According to 1Corinthians 15:22, we die in Adam, who is our old man, but we live in Christ, who is our new man (Romans 6:6-11). The old man is Adam—from whom we derive our fleshy life, which is called the “body of sin”, which will be destroyed (Romans 6:6).

According to Paul’s analogy, the new man is Christ, whom we have put on through faith (Galatians 3:27). Christ has become our second Adam, in whom all live forever, (1Corinthians 15:45; Romans 5:17). This cannot be done through any power or work of our own. We are in Christ through the power of God (1Corinthians 1:30) that works by faith (Ephesians 2:8).

Only Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33), and only those in Christ are able to participate in that victory (1John 5:4-5). He that overcomes is promised eternal life (Revelation 2:7) and cannot be hurt by death (Revelation 2:11). He that overcomes will be nourished by the hidden manna from heaven (Revelation 2:17) which is Christ, the bread of life (John 6:48-58), and will be given authority over the nations (Revelation 2:26). He who overcomes has his name written in heaven (Revelation 3:5) and will be a pillar in the Temple of God (Revelation 3:12), and will be granted the authority to sit with Christ on his Messianic throne (Revelation 3:21) and be called the son of God (Revelation 21:7). How do we overcome the world and inherit all these things? We overcome the world through the blood of the Lamb, i.e. the cross or the crucifixion and death of Jesus (Revelation 12:11) expressed in the word of our testimony. That is, it is done through our trust in Jesus, our Savior, who has not only died to destroy our old man, but was raised by God and lives to justify us (Romans 4:25) as we walk in our new life (Romans 6:4) bearing fruit that is acceptable to God (Romans 7:4).

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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Paul


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