The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world 1 John 4:4

We have overcome!
1 John 4 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
The spiritual battle we are in
1 John 5 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Since Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, every human being who ever lived has been trapped by the devil. Everything in the world has been and still is in the grip of the devil. Except Jesus
Ephesians 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

It is because of the devil that people do not realise that God exists, or that they need saving or that Jesus can save them.
2 Corinthians 4 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For most of the time the devil doesn’t even need to bother about most people. They are already in his trap. They already do things wrong without needing to be tempted. But those who are following Jesus are aware of the pressures on us all the time from the world around, and our fallen human nature, and temptations directly from the devil. So we are on our guard.
1 Peter 5 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

The good news is that we don’t have to fight the devil in our own strength. God gives us all the armour we need to resist the devil’s schemes. All we need to do is stand firm in God’s strength.
Ephesians 6 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

So now the devil and his minions the demons, or evil spirits, are in a continual war against God. The battlefield is this world God has created, and the hearts and minds of every human being. It was the devil, the ancient serpent, who deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And the devil and his demons are still leading the world astray today.
But we are not worried or afraid! Because Jesus has already won the victory!

Christ’s victory – plundering the strong man

1 John 3 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

For this purpose Christ was revealed – to destroy all the works of the evil one. Jesus did not only come to save human beings, but to set the world free from the grip of the devil. Part of that was his ministry of driving out demons, setting free those who were imprisoned by evil.
Matthew 12 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.

In that little parable of disarming the strong man, the strong man represents the devil and Jesus is represented by the person plundering his possessions which is a picture of Jesus driving out demons. Jesus was able to command the demons because he had already “tied up” the devil. And Jesus accomplished that at the very beginning of His ministry when he was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Jesus was tempted. But He did not give in to temptation. Jesus was the first human being ever who did not give in to the devil’s temptations. He proved there that He was stronger than the devil. It was there in the wilderness that Jesus “bound the strong man”. From that point on, the battle was won. Demons would have to obey Jesus every time!
The devil had no grip on Jesus. “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me.” John 14:30. This was demonstrated clearly in Jesus’s acts of deliverance. Jesus came to release the prisoners and set the captives free – to set people free from evil by driving out demons. Even during his ministry, Jesus delegated that authority to his disciples to drive out demons in his name. He sent them out in pairs, first 12 and then 72, to preach the gospel, heal the sick and drive out demons.
Luke 10 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

So even during his earthly ministry, Jesus had the upper hand over the devil. But the decisive victory was won on the cross.

Christ’s victory on the cross

John 12 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
The hour has arrived. The hour which Jesus had been anticipating every day of his life was getting very close indeed. It would be a vital hour not just for Jesus but for the whole world, the whole of humanity in every age. Jesus would be glorified – not through his resurrection but through his death.
The judgment and the salvation of the whole world would hang on that one hour. For Jesus it would be the hour of his departure – the hour Jesus had to leave the world in death. But that be the hour when the devil was finally defeated and the grip of evil on the world would be broken for good.
We should remember that it was the cross, not the resurrection, which brought Christ’s victory over the devil and all the powers of evil.

Colossians 2 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

It was by the sacrifice of his death on the cross that Jesus set human beings free from the grip which the devil has over us all.

Hebrews 2 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Jesus has defeated the devil and set us free. As we put our trust in him, we share in the benefits of his victory. We have overcome, because he has overcome.
The victory we share in
1 John 4 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Believers are from God, and they have overcome. In this short letter the word ‘overcome’ appears six times, which is more than in any other book in the New Testament other than Revelation which uses the word a staggering seventeen times! To overcome speaks of Christ’s victory! We have overcome! Here the verb overcome is in the perfect tense. The victory is not just a single occasional event but a decisive and continuing experience. We have victory because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. God is immeasurably more powerful than the devil. We have overcome evil and we have overcome the devil, because God lives in us.
1 John 2 14 …. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

James 4 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.

So we can live our lives in victory. When we talk about “Victorious Christian Living”, we are not talking about “success” or “popularity” in human terms. We are not talking a worldly false gospel of “health, wealth and prosperity”. Victory in Christian living means victory over temptation, victory over the devil, victory over everything which drags us away from God. And the secret of victorious Christian living is simple. A wise preacher once said,
“The triumphant Christian does not fight for victory; he celebrates a victory already won.”
Christ has already won the victory over sin and death and the devil by His cross and resurrection. Christ has defeated the devil. One day the devil and all his minions will face his just desserts in eternal judgment for all the pain and destruction he has caused. Until then our victory over the devil comes from sharing in Christ’s victory. We don’t need to be anxious or afraid in this battle. Christ has already won the war.
1 John 4 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

We are called simply to resist the devil and he will flee from us. To put on the armour of God and stand firm, wearing truth, righteousness and gospel shoes. We must take up the shield of faith which protects us from all the flaming arrows of temptation. We are protected by our salvation and by the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, the weapon which God has given us to confront and resist and rebuke the devil. Christ has already won the victory over sin and death and the devil.
As Christians we SHARE Christ’s life. Our life and death are wrapped up in HIS death and resurrection life. Christ lives in us! Christ is IN us – living in us, working in us by His Holy Spirit. So here is the secret of victorious Christian living. It is to live moment by moment, not in our own strength but in Christ’s strength. To let Him live and reign in US! To abide in Christ – to live in union with Christ. “I am the Vine, you are the branches.”
“The triumphant Christian does not fight for victory; he celebrates a victory already won.”
We don’t have to win the war. The devil has already been completely defeated on the cross. We are just involved in the “mopping up” operations. And if there are times that seems difficult, remember the message of the whole of the Book of Revelation. Jesus is going to win. Jesus as the Commander of the Armies of heaven, whose Victory is certain. The devil is condemned and God’s enemies are doomed. Judgment Day is coming and the church WILL BE triumphant. We may face hard times. But Jesus has already won the victory. We just need to live in that victory.

1 John 4 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

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