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OVERCOMING THE WICKED ONE.
1 John 2 v13-14.
By Mrs Jessie Penn-Lewis.
Union with Christ in His death and resurrection is the normal life of the child of God. The Scriptural way to deal with sin is not to get victory over it but to die to it. You must reckon yourself dead to sin day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, in order to be in a position to overcome the world and Satan. That should be the normal position of the one who is in Christ. If you are to be in perpetual conflict over your own temper, spending the whole of your Christian life revolving around yourself, trying to overcome something that you call sin, you are not in a fit condition to overcome the world and Satan. You must get into the way of victory over Satan by way of Romans 6.
Your death with Christ.
Never confuse sin with Satan. A temptation to sin may be from Satan, or from ceasing to maintain your attitude of death to sin and the self-life. It is true that Satan works through the old nature, but by reckoning yourself dead to it, you nullify the ground upon which he works.
So it is striking to find that when John writes about overcoming he does not say anything about overcoming sin. He speaks of overcoming the world, and of overcoming the Wicked One. He is writing to those who know God, and know how to walk in the Spirit when he says “everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5 v 4). The one who is born of God is a partaker of the divine nature, God’s life is in them, and overcomes the world. ‘‘Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5 v5). The power to overcome the world comes through being born of God. The means of overcoming the world is faith. We triumph entirely by faith. The object of faith is Jehovah-Jesus, Jesus the Son of God. He is the Conqueror. Have faith in the Conqueror, for all who have such faith may conquer.
Two forms of Overcoming.
What have we to overcome? We have to overcome the world-spirit, and all the things in the world that are contrary to God, and we do it through the new life that we have from God. Then we have to overcome the Wicked One and his hosts. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit”. Because ‘‘many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God, every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God: and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God . . . You, dear children, are from God and you have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4 v1-4). Satan, the prince of this world, is to be overcome, and the power that overcomes him is a Person, “He that is in you”, the Spirit of God.
So we see faith is opposed to the world and the material things of the world, and the Holy Spirit is opposed to the supernatural prince of this world. “He that is in you” against ‘‘he that is in the world’. Satan works through people. Therefore we are told to test everything, however good it may seem to be, and to ‘‘prove the spirits, whether they are from God”.
Those who know union with Christ, that are born of God and are partakers of His nature, stand in the place of victory and by faith will overcome the things of the world. By the Spirit of God dwelling in them, they will be able to overcome the spirit that is in the world, the ‘Wicked One’.
Freedom from the World.
If you want to know the mightiest deliverance and real victory over Satan and all his hosts, you must see to it that Satan has no grip upon you through the things of this world. “‘No-one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs“ (2 Timothy 2 v4).
As God’s children we are freed from the world, from the spirit of this age and the artificial life of the world, so that our hearts are not bound and entangled by the things of the world, which are all material for the devil to attack us through. Some have become untrue to God for the sake of what people may say. Some have sacrificed the truth of God because of their reputation. The devil knows how to roar and to frighten us into silence, and only those who dare to go out against Satan in the strength and power of God, are those who have nothing to lose, because they fear none but God.
Are we willing to stand alone, like Luther, and say, ‘Here I stand, God helping me, I can do no other?’ It will cost us as much in our Mission Hall, or Church, or town, or with our friends, as ever it cost Luther or anyone else. If Satan knows that there is some preacher or friend we lean upon and cling to, he will know where to attack us, and God will permit it.
God is preparing His saints for glory, and as someone has said, the devil is His threshing machine. As with Job, everything he can touch he will touch, but only with God’s permission. “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22 v31). ‘‘This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” “Everyone born of God overcomes the world”.
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