Who is it who overcomes?
5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4–ESV)
Never discard the goal of John here. He is encouraging those who are being tempted away to another team. The members of the true church were all in free agency. They could leave. John is telling them what is in the cards with God’s team and what is in the cards for the other team, the one with a false teacher as general manager.
So verse 5 says, “Look around you and see who is making a difference. Who is actually winning in their struggles with the ups and downs of life? Is it those who are in the congregation of the false teachers? Or, is it right under your nose. In and among those who have continued in the course of Christ?” This question that John pops out here is one to be answered by introspection. It is rhetorical. John knows they will know the answer. He expects those who are overcoming to be encouraged.
I began this lesson with this sentence: “When I think of love, I get all Nicholas Sparksy. Probably it is less getting that way and more being that way.” Many times the way of God is counterintuitive to the ways of man. When we look inside of ourselves we see how our ways are not God’s ways. Godliness is about getting out of our ways and into his. Love is about getting to be God’s way.