December 18, 2016

You Have Already Won The Fight – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4)

The New Living Translation is not intended to communicate precisely the inspired words and those words only. Calling it a translation is somewhat misleading. However, if we understand that it is a paraphrase which includes human commentary, it can be useful for helping us to understand, as a Bible class teacher whose human words must be checked and confirmed. Consider its expression of this passage.

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won your fight with these false prophets, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” (I John 4:4 NLT)

There are no words that could be translated “false prophets” in this verse, but we do know that is the subject from verse one, “…many false prophets…” (I John 4:1).

So, we understand that we are in a war with those who do not teach the truth (no Pluralism here). The word translated “overcome,” or “fight” is from the Greek word “νικάω” and is defined by BDAG to mean:

  1. to win in the face of obstacles, be victor, conquer, overcome, prevail,…”
  2. to overcome someone, vanquish, overcome,”

In verse five we are told “the world listens to them.” We should not be surprised that they are in the majority or that they appear to be winning. Nevertheless, we are told, “You have already won your fight with these false prophets…” “Uh…have you checked the polls lately? Look at the crowds in the mega-churches. It seems that no one is paying attention to the truth.”

The Holy Spirit not only says you can win. He says you already “have overcome.

Commentator Albert Barnes says:

“Have triumphed over their arts and temptations; their endeavours to draw you into error and sin. … they had frustrated or thwarted all their attempts to turn them away from the truth.”

Many of our Calvinistic friends find support for their idea of the direct operation of the Holy Spirit within Christians, from the reference to “He who is in you…” The question is not whether, but how this is true.

The Apostle Paul tells the Ephesian Christians to be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,..” (Ephesians 5:19-20). In a parallel passage he tells the Christians in Colossae to Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,…admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,…” (Colossians 3:16.) The implication is that he is expressing the same idea to both. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts and provides complete and powerful guidance because we have filled our hearts with His word.

Because divine guidance from the words of the Holy Spirit fills our hearts, we have already been declared victors.

What a marvelous, reassuring promise for the believer. There are times when we do not feel like we are winning, but those feelings are wrong. Because “we are from God” and because the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and He is “greater…than he that is in the world,” we have already overcome! The world sees a battle in which Christians are pitiful losers. God says we have already won.

Many other passages confirm this reassuring promise.

“…the ruler of the kings of the earth…has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father…” (Revelation 1:5-6)

“…they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign [present tense DRP] in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5;17 ASV)

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I John 5:4-5)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris III



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