Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Overcoming the World by Faith in Christ

Learning to live by faith in Christ is our one and only work in life. 

Do you think this statement is true? I think it is. Do you think this statement is too simplistic? At first blush, I did, but on further thought I don’t, and here’s why.

In John 6:29 Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent,” that is, that you believe in Jesus. There is, of course, much we can and must do in this life, but it is all designed to flow from faith in Christ. Believing in Jesus, clinging to Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, really is the core of life. I know no greater source than Jesus himself.

Now, the way we came to Christ is the way we ought to live in Christ. We came to him by grace through faith, and we live in him by grace through faith. As the Apostle John later wrote, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5).

So faith is what overcomes the world in salvation and in sanctification, in coming to Christ and in growing in Christ. When we look to Christ and believe, we overcome the world because we reject the world’s greatest lie, namely, that Jesus is not the way, the truth, and the life. And when we continually look to Christ and believe, we progressively overcome the world.

Do you need to conquer some sin in your life, like idolatry, pride, greed, anger, or lust? I know this sounds simplistic, but the way to do overcome is to look to Christ, believe in him, cling to him, seek him, and obey him by the power of his Spirit. Pursue Jesus with as much passion as you would pursue a treasure and you’ll gain power to overcome the false pleasures of this life. We often fail to overcome because we fail to seek Jesus with fervor and consistency. But the Lord, in his great grace and patience, would teach us a simple way of life—believe in him, seek him, and overcome the world.

After walking with Christ, and struggling with sin, for twenty-eight years, I’m not so naïve as to think that there are no further actions we must take beyond these. But those “further actions” are only discerned in the presence of Jesus as his will is revealed by his Spirit. Live by faith in Christ, and you’ll gain wisdom for the day. Look away from Christ, and you’ll live a foolish life.

Learning to live by faith in Christ is our one and only work in life.

This way of life is simple but it’s not simplistic. It is childlike but it’s not childish. It is basic but it’s not banal. So please join me in meditating on John 6:29 and 1 John 5:4-5 and learning to live by faith in Christ.

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