â€œYe are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.â€ (1 John 4:4)
This is one of the most reassuring promises in the Bible for the believer. Because â€œwe are of Godâ€ and because He is in us (as the Holy Spirit,Â 1 Corinthians 3:16) and is â€œgreater . . . than he that is in the world,â€ we haveÂ alreadyÂ overcome!
I firmly believe that there are no empty promises in the Bible, and I know that this passage is true. But there are times when I do not feel like I am over anything. Just what does this promise promise? And who are â€œthemâ€ that I have to overcome?
To begin with, the Greek word means to conquer, overcome, prevail, or get the victory. It is translated similarly in speaking of the Lordâ€™s ultimate victory as He assumes the throne in heaven to bring about the end of the age (Revelation 5:5). And in the same way, we are to conquer as we â€œreign in lifeâ€ (Romans 5:17) because we are â€œborn of Godâ€ (1 John 5:4). The Lord Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33), and since we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we too will get the victory over the world (1 John 5:5;Â Romans 12:2).
The â€œthemâ€ are those who are driven to embrace ungodly antichrist doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1) and worldly philosophies (James 4:4). They are those who â€œlove the worldâ€ (1 John 2:15-17) and seek to spoil (plunder and/or take captive) the people of God (Colossians 2:8). We, on the other hand, are to prevail over evil with good (Romans 12:21) and takethemÂ captive with the mighty â€œweapons of our warfareâ€ (2Â Corinthians 10:3-5), which are the Word of God and prayer (Ephesians 6:13-18). HMM III