Daily Readings & Thought for June 18th. “THIS IS THE VICTORY”
Humanly speaking, the victory we read about today in 1 John ch. 5 was a strange kind of victory. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world,” writes John, and then he adds, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” [1 John 5 v.4]. What is faith? The answer is simple! Or is it? It has to be an active faith, to prove it is real faith.
Consider the disciples, they were 12 ordinary men, most of them fishermen and they witnessed many miracles, but this did not create a permanent state of faith in them, think how often Jesus had to chide them, “Oh you of little faith” (Matt. 6 v.30, 8 v.26; 14 v.31., &c) Then came the reality of their Master’s resurrection – and they were ‘new’ men!
As the message of Christ went out into a pagan world how great was the challenge for the pagans to experience genuine conversion. Remarkably an ongoing faith developed that spurred so many on to be faithful in the face of all sorts of persecution.
Paul in his letters reminds them “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” [1 Thess.1 v.9,10] These former pagans now had a conviction as to the real nature of the Creator of all things and who had sent his Son into the world. They learnt that “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” [Hebrews 11 v.6] This is an active and victorious faith!
Today the fiction of evolution is a major challenge to many to have a victorious faith.. We must turn from this human fiction to the reality of “our faith” that it “is the victory” that enables us to “overcome the world” It is the reality of “our faith” that is going to inspire us as this world becomes even more ungodly..
At the end of our chapter today John stresses “We know the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ” [v.20] A real faith leads us inevitably to know God, to have a prayerful relationship with him, a relationship which keeps developing as we feed on his word every day to create a state of mind that will lead us to “victory” when it is put to a final test as this world collapses when Christ is at the door – but, wonderfully, the “oil” of real faith is in our lamps. Let’s all make sure it is!