Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Overcoming in Christ

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."John 16:33

This verse has a wonderful meaning to each of us, not only positionaly, but in a very practical way as well. When we look at the churches in Revelation 2-3 there are promises to the Overcomer that fit the specific situation that faced them. I hope to review the applications for us in a moment. But first I want to look at the instruction this verse has for us concerning Overcoming.

In John 13-17 we see the Lord Jesus with His own in that upper room instructing them as to His departure and their future. In chapter 13, He gave them an example of genuine love and true humility to follow. Then in chapter 14, He points them to the Father's house and reminds them of their relationship with the Father. In chapter 15, He informs them of the need to abide in Him and that the world will hate them because it hated Him. He also promises to send the Holy Spirit to them in chapters 14-16. This upper room discourse ends with the Lord Jesus declaring that He is the great Overcomer!

This great fact was to encourage these disciples and provide them with peace in a world full of strife and tribulation. “I have spoken these things” refers back to chapter 13-16. It should encourage each of us today as well.

Notice the contrast in this verse between "in Christ" and "in the world". The Lord Jesus said, “In Me you may have peace” and “in the world you will have tribulation.” In fact the word “will” is not in some translations, it simply reads, “in the world you have tribulation.” We are left here in this world and we have tribulation. That is part of being in a world that has turn it's own way in rebellion against God. But we are to identify with the great Overcomer. He has overcome everything that stood against us. Romans 3:4 speaks of the legal victory that He has won, this reminds us of what we read in Colossians 2:14.

When the Lord Jesus said “I have overcome the world” I believe He desires us to realize that this is an abiding victory. We should not fear a defeated foe! He has not only given us a legal victory, but He has gained the victory over sin, death and the grave. He has overcome this very world system. In John 12:31 and 16:11 He speaks of the victory over the very ruler of this world. In Luke 11:21-22, He is liken to the stronger man that has overcome the strong man and won the spoils. We are told in Hebrews 2:14 that the Lord Jesus “has destroyed him who had the power of death, that is the devil and release those who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage.”

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