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1 John 5:4 (ESV) … “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

Being born again makes us something more than God’s creatures; we are God’s children. You know that blessed truth of adoption, by which God takes men and adopts them into His family, but regeneration is a great deal more than adoption. We are not only God’s adopted children; if we are indeed born from above, we are God’s newborn children. The divine nature is actually put into us when we are born of God; is that not a wonderful thing? And that miracle of mercy must be wrought in all of us who are ever to conquer the world.

How is it that the same gospel that always speaks of peace here proclaims warfare? How can it be? Simply because there is something in the world that is antagonistic to love. There are principles that cannot bear light; therefore, before light can come, it must chase the darkness. Before summer reigns, it has to do battle with old winter and to send it howling away in the winds of March, shedding its tears in April showers. So also, before any great or good thing can have the mastery of this world, it must do battle for it.

What is this “world” that we have to overcome? Did God not make the world, and did He not see “every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31)? Yes, He did. But after sin entered this world, men came under its power, and now by “the world” is meant all mankind who remain under the power of sin and are enemies to God. “The world” means the whole corrupt mass of human society out of which God has taken a people whom He has chosen for Himself, whom He quickens by His Divine Spirit, and whose business it is to overcome the world. They will find that the world—the power of evil—will war against them, and they also must war against it, and the issue of the battle must not long be doubtful. There remains for us only one of two courses: either the world must overcome us and we must yield to it, or else we must overcome the world and cause it to submit to us.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. (2014). Spurgeon Commentary: 1 John. (E. Ritzema, Ed.) (1 Jn 5:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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