Sunday, 10 May 2020
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
John now contrasts the faith of the believers he is addressing to the spirit of the Antichrist which he has been speaking of. In verse 2, he said, “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” He now says, “You are of God.” The implication is that they have confessed that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.
The word “you” is plural and refers to all of the recipients who have rejected the false prophets and influence of the devil, the spirit of the Antichrist. It is also in the emphatic position, “You are of God, in contrast to those I have just referred to.” As this is an epistle now in the Bible, the word “you” also includes us if we have confessed that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.
John then again, as he has so tenderly done in the past, calls his audience “little children,” using the Greek word teknia. He says that his little children have “overcome them” meaning the false prophets and the spirit of the Antichrist. He states this in the perfect tense, indicative mood, meaning that they overcame them in the past, continue to do so, and it is a certain fact.
The false prophets put forth lies, and in following those lies, a person can be swept away into falsity before ever believing the truth. However, by believing that Jesus came in the flesh, one overcomes them. This is important to understand, because a person may later be told something contrary and accept it. This will then count for loss of rewards, but not a loss of salvation. The person who has overcome has done so once and for all. It is a surety for them. And the reason that it is so is “because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
Christ is greater than the false apostles, the false teachers, the false prophets, and even the Antichrist. When a person comes to a saving knowledge of Christ, the One who is greater than all of these created beings resides in him and, therefore, that person is secure – forever – in Christ. Jesus told His apostles of this –
“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
Christ has overcome the world. Therefore, those who are in Christ have also overcome the world and those of it.
Life application: The action is complete to this point, but his letter is one of warning for believers. We need to continue into the future with our eyes on Jesus and our hearts and minds on the things of God, lest we get swept up into false doctrine and false belief. Standing fast in sound doctrine was, is, and will be possible because believers now have the Holy Spirit. Although the “He” isn’t specified in these verses, it is referring to the Holy Spirit. This is certainly the case for several reasons –
Verse 3:24 speaks of the Spirit given to us by God.
After this was mentioned, John speaks of testing the spirits and continues with the contrast between the Spirit of God and the spirit of the Antichrist.
It is the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, fills us, and leads us into all righteousness.
Because we are indwelt with the Spirit of God, we have the power to resist and overcome the devil, but we can’t be filled with the Spirit if we are disobedient to the Word of God. Further, we can’t be filled with the Holy Spirit if we don’t comply with the acknowledgment of Jesus having come in the flesh. Nor can we be filled with the Spirit if we fail to accept Jesus’ authority. Being filled with the Spirit, then, is not an emotional state in any way, shape, or form. Instead, it is a state brought on by obedience and then opening up to the Sovereignty of God in our lives.
When we do those things which please the Spirit, we will be filled by the Spirit (it is passive in the Greek – we open ourselves up to the filling). This is what we are to pursue at all times.
Thank You, Lord, for the Gift of Your Holy Spirit – that He indwells us is the greatest comfort to our hearts and souls. And knowing that when we are obedient He will lead us to all righteousness, it spurs us on to wanting to be obedient. Because of His power in us, we are able to overcome the false prophets, the spirit of the Antichrist, and even the work of the Devil himself! What an honor to have such a close and powerful Helper in our times of need! Amen.