1 John 4:4 Commentary

 


1 John 4:4 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: humeis ek tou theou este (PAI) teknia kai nenikekate (2PRAI) autous hoti meizon estin o en humin e ho en to kosmo: (are: 1Jn 4:6,16 3:9,10 5:19)(and have: 1Jn 2:13 5:4 Ro 8:37 Eph 6:10,13 Rev 12:11)(greater: 1Jn 4:13,16 3:24 John 10:28-30 14:17-23 17:23 Ro 8:10,11 1Co 6:13 2Co 6:16 Eph 3:17)(than: 1Jn 5:19 John 12:31 14:30 16:11 1Co 2:12 2Co 4:4 Eph 2:2, 6:12)


BELIEVERS HAVE OVERCOME
THE SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST

Hiebert on 1Jn 4:1-6 - These verses show no close connection with what follows and are best viewed as an elaboration of the reference to “the Spirit which he hath given us” in 3:24. The conflict now presented forms the final aspect of the conflicts that mark the Christian life which John has been depicting since 2:18. He has already dealt with the conflict between truth and falsehood (2:18–28), the conflict between the children of God and the children of the Devil (2:29–3:12), and the conflict between love and hatred (3:13–24). This section points to the supernatural character of this conflict as ultimately involving “the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” It sets forth the crucial importance of the proclamation of a sound Christology for assurance and victory in the Christian community… Having set forth the criterion for testing the spirits (vv. 2–3), in these verses John states the criterion for testing those through whom the spirits speak. In verses 4–5 he states the criterion establishing the moral origin of these individuals. In verse 6a he points out the audience reaction to the speakers as a further indication of their nature. The last half of verse 6 summarizes the discussion. The criterion for establishing their origin (1Jn 4:4–5). In verse 4 John reminds his readers of the identity of the true people of God; in verse 5 he points out the identity of the false prophets. (The Epistles of John- An Expositional Commentary)

Westcott - In the verses which precede (1Jn 4:2, 3) St John has considered the teaching of spirits as the test of their character. He now regards the subject from another point of view and considers the teaching of spirits as the test of men. (1 John 4 Commentary)

You (humeis) are from God - You (humeis) is emphatic as contrasted with the world. The intensive use of this personal pronoun (you) gives us, “as for you, little born-ones (in contradistinction to the anti-Christian teachers), you are of God.” (Wuest) John as a good pastor, seeks to assure his readers of their spiritual origin from God. They are genuine believers. Given the onslaught of false teachings in the church today, believers do well to never forget their divine heritage and live in the light of that truth.

Wilder - The distinction between the two kinds of spirits (Ed: In the previous passages) is carried over now into one between two kinds of men, those of God and those of the world. (The Interpreter's Bible)

Kistemaker on you are from God - The pronoun you stands first to give it emphasis in the sentence. The writer wants to tell the Christians: "You, yes you, are from God. That is, the readers ought never to forget their divine heritage. They are not only special people, born of God and called "children of God" (1Jn 2:29; 3:1, 9, 10); they are also different from those people who belong to the world. (New Testament Commentary - James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude)

Steven Cole says when John uses the description you are from God "He is pointing again to the new birth. Christianity is not just a matter of subscribing to certain creeds or correct doctrines, although that is essential. It is a matter of being born of God so that you receive new life from Him and become His child. This new birth is absolutely essential if you want to be able to understand and hold to the truth. This is so important that John repeats the phrase “from God” in 1Jn 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 6 (twice). By way of contrast, the false teachers and those who follow them are “from the world” (1Jn 4:5, twice). Without the new birth, a person is incapable of understanding or obeying God’s truth. Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews (John 8:43, 47), “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word… He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” Jesus was using hear in the same way that John uses listen (1Jn 4:6). It refers to hearing in the sense of both understanding and obeying the truth. (Spiritual Discernment 1 John 4:1-6) (Bolding added)

Little children (5040)(teknion) is John's way of tenderly addressing believers and with one exception (Gal 4:19) is a word used only by John (Jn 13:33 1Jn2:1,12,28 1Jn 3:7,18 1Jn 4:4 1Jn 5:21 )

Stedman on little children - it is not by accident that John uses this title, "little children," for that is the name that indicates the trust -- the childlike trust of one who believes the Word of God. Now, you don't have to fully understand it; simply accept it, trust it, and act on it. You will discover that all the wisdom and greatness and superior intelligence of God is imparted in that simple word, and, though it may appear foolish to others, it is wiser than men. He who in childlike faith trusts the Word to guide him through life, acting upon it, regardless of how widespread are the opinions of men who speak contrary to it, will find that he will be safely kept through all entrapping errors. (God is Greater - 1 John 4:4-6)

Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath bro't me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

Robertson comments that have overcome them signifies "calm confidence of final victory as in 1John 2:13-note; John 16:33."

Have overcome them - Who is them (plural)? The false prophets (and false teachers). They are the many of 1Jn 4:1-note.

John Trapp on you… have overcome them - In your Head, Christ, and by the help of his Holy Spirit, your sweet inhabitant, whereby ye are more than conquerors, because sure to overcome and triumph. (1 John 4 Commentary)

David Smith - The faithful are God’s delegates (ek = out of, from [God] - see his comment on 1Jn 4:5-note), bearing their Master’s commission and continuing His warfare (John 20:21), and they have shared His victory. (Expositor's Greek Testament)

Steven Cole on overcome them - John means that his hearers have resisted the false teaching. The reason that they have overcome is not only that they are from God, but also that with the new birth, they also received the Holy Spirit (“the anointing,” 1Jn 2:27-note), Who indwells them. He is greater than he who is in the world (Satan, who inspires the false teachers). Even though the Gnostic teachers may have been intellectually superior to John’s “little children,” the presence of the indwelling Spirit gave his readers the ability to discern and thus avoid the errors of the false teachers. How does the Spirit preserve us from error? It is not enough to be a spiritual ignoramus and say, “the Spirit will protect me from error.” The Spirit protects us through God’s Word, which reveals the truth about the person and work of Christ (1Jn 4:2-3). The Word is the measure by which we test the spirits, but as Calvin points out (p. 230), “except the Spirit of wisdom be present, to have God’s word in our hands will avail little or nothing, for its meaning will not appear to us.” So we need diligently to study God’s Word in dependence on the Holy Spirit for understanding (Ed: See Inductive Bible Study Calls for Continual Dependence on the Spirit of the Lord). Then we will be able to overcome false teachers. (Spiritual Discernment 1 John 4:1-6)(Bolding added)

Overcome (3528)(nikao) means to conquer, to be victorious or to prevail in the face of obstacles. John uses the perfect tense for overcome which pictures the permanence of our victory over the antichrist spirit! Hallelujah! Victory in Jesus! When He died on Calvary and rose from the dead three days later, he achieved and assured effective, eternal victory over the evil one! (Hallelujah again!)

Wuest comments on nikao in the perfect tense writing that this speaks "of a past completed victory, and a present state of being a conqueror. That is, the saints to whom John refers were not taken in by the heresies of the false teachers, and were in a settled state of victory over them. They were confirmed in their attitude against heresy and had their eyes wide open to its source and nature. The reason why they thus gained a complete victory over the false teachers and their heresies is that God the Holy Spirit who indwelt them is greater than that fallen angel Satan who is in the world system of evil." (Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)

Hiebert on the perfect tense - The perfect tense, “have overcome,” implies a definite time when they faced these speakers with their alluring message, but, having tested their teaching, they have effectively rejected the messengers with their message, resulting in a state of being victorious over them. Their victory over these agents of Satan is grounded in the victory over the prince of this world which Christ won on Calvary (John 12:31–32; 14:30; 16:11).

Paul uses the derivative word hupernikao in Romans 8 to describe believers as "more than conquerors through Him that loved us." (Ro 8:37KJV-note). We are conquerors because of Christ's victory at Calvary and we are now in Him and He in us forever and ever! Amen.

There are 28 uses on nikao in the NT (4 verses use nikao twice). Note that most of the uses are by the apostle John - Lk 11:22; Jn 16:33; Ro 3:4-note; Ro 12:21; 1Jn 2:13; 4:4; 5:4, 5; Re 2:7-note, Re 2:11-note, Re 2:17-note, Re 2:26-note; Re 3:5-note, Re 3:12-note, Re 3:21-note; Re 5:5-note; Re 6:2-note; Re 11:7-note; Re 12:11-note; Re 13:7-note; Re 15:2-note;Re 17:14-note; Re 21:7-note The NAS renders nikao as -- come off victorious(1), conquer(1), conquering(1), overcame(2), overcome(11), overcomes(10), overpowers(1), prevail(1).

Overcome describes the quality of a true saint who may stumble and fall but who God always picks up and who continues onward and upward in the power and motivation of the victory Christ has won for us on the Cross.

Webster (1828) says overcome means to conquer; to vanquish; to subdue; as, to overcome enemies in battle. To surmount; to get the better of; as, to overcome difficulties or obstacles. To gain the superiority; to be victorious.

Wiersbe - The word overcome is a favorite with John; he uses it in 1 John 2:13–14-note with reference to overcoming the devil. He uses it seven times in Revelation to describe believers and the blessings they receive (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). He is not describing a special class of believers. Rather, he is using the word overcomer as a name for the true Christian. Because we have been born of God (1Jn 5:4-5), we are overcomers. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

As Jesus alerted His soon to be persecuted disciples

These things (Ed: Always ask "What things?" - forces you to read the preceding context - See See Jn 13:1-16:32 esp Jn 14:23) I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world (kosmos - see definition below) you have tribulation (thlipsis = Notice this is a promise!), but take courage (present imperative = command to do this continually, only possible as we rely on the Spirit, not on self!); I have overcome (nikao) the world." (Jn 16:33)

Comment: Note that in Jn 16:33 nikao is in the perfect tense which pictures the permanence of our Lord's victory over this evil world system and its evil ruler! Glory! We enter experientially into His victory by faith and obedience. "Trust and obey, there is no other way to be happy (blessed) in Jesus, then to trust and obey." (John Sammis)

Earlier John had described overcomers - 

I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome (perfect tense pictures permanence of the victory over) the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome (perfect tense) the evil one. (1John 2:13, 14-note)

Spurgeon comments: (from his sermon Overcome Evil with Good) May we be happily ignorant of what it is to be vanquished by the powers of evil, and remain like the British drummer boy who did not know how to beat a retreat, for he had never had any use for such a thing. May we not know the dishonor and misery of being overcome of evil, because divine grace continually giveth us the victory. When we are overcome of evil, even for a moment, it discovers the sad weakness of our spiritual life. We must be babes in grace and sadly carnal still, if sin is allowed to master us. If we were stronger in the Lord and in the power of his might we should overcome the world itself by faith: did not John write unto young men

In the next chapter John explains that overcomer is not some elite subgroup of Christianity but that every believer is an overcomer …

For whatever is born (perfect tense = speaks of the permanence of our new birth! Away with doubts about our eternal security) of God overcomes (present tense = continually) the world; and this is the victory that has overcome (aorist tense - speaks of completed action at a point in time -- surely an allusion to the Cross [Jn 16:33] and our faith in Christ's finished work of the Cross) the world -- our faith. And who is the one who overcomes (present tense = continually) the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1Jn 5:4-5)

Comment: This is a rhetorical question by John. His point is that every believer is an overcomer regardless of whether one feels like it or not! Dear afflicted, storm tossed saint of the Most High God, you can know that no matter how "defeated" you might feel now, when all has been said and done, you will overcome all evil opposition in Christ. And all God's people cry "Glory to the Lord. The Lord reigns forever and ever. Amen!"

Listen to this great old song by Harvest, and as you listen may God's Spirit revive your heart and enable you to not give up but to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Amen

Only the Overcomers

Walther Günther explains overcome - "The battle has thus been decided, even if it is not yet over. By faith Christians participate in this victory and are thus placed in a position to overcome the world for themselves." (NIDNTT, vol. 1, p. 651)

Barclay - The Christian need not fear the heretic. In Christ the victory over all the powers of evil was won. The powers of evil did their worst to him, even to killing him on a Cross, and in the end he emerged victorious. That victory belongs to the Christian. Whatever things may look like, the powers of evil are fighting a losing battle. As the Latin proverb has it: "Great is the truth, and in the end it will prevail." All that the Christian has to do is remember the truth he already knows and cling to it. The truth is that by which men live; error is ultimately that by which men die. (William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

WHY IS EVERY BELIEVER
AN OVERCOMER?

Because (hoti) - Whenever you encounter this term of explanation pause and ask what the author is explaining? Most of the time the answer will be relatively straightforward but at times (especially in Pauline writings) the answer may not be as obvious. In this case the believers are overcomers because He who is in you is greater. This is the secret of their (and our) victory!

Westcott - The ground and the assurance of the victory of Christians lie in the Power by which they are inspired (c. 1Jn 3:24). The strength of men (the indwelling Spirit) is proportional to the vital force of which they are the organs. (1 John 4 Commentary)

Stedman on why they overcame - not because they had a superior intelligence. You'll notice that it says nothing about them being smarter than the teachers. Nor was it because they had been subjected to intense training in the cults. There is no word about that either. Nor is it that they had been supported and bulwarked by clever arguments with which they were able to answer the errors of the teachers. Nor was it their broad theological knowledge. There is none of this. John says, "you overcame them because greater is he that is in you than he who is in the world." In other words, it was not anything these Christians had that delivered them, it was the One who dwelt within them. It was the greatness of God that kept them straight. It was the fact that God was greater than the spirit that was at work behind the teachers of error. This is what will keep us straight today. (God is Greater - 1 John 4:4-6)

A T Robertson on because - The reason for the victory lies in God, Who abides in them (1John 3:20, 1John 3:24; John 14:20; John 15:4). God is greater than Satan, “he that is in the world”, the prince of this world (Jn 12:31; Jn 14:30), the god of this age (2Cor 4:4), powerful as he seems. (Word Pictures of the New Testament)

He Who is greater is in you - Of whom does this speak? It could refer to Christ in them (Col 1:27-note) but in the context of John's speaking about the Spirit in 1Jn 3:24 and testing the spirits in 1Jn 4:1-2, it most likely refers to the Holy Spirit in them, and Who is superior to the spirit of the antichrist (1Cor 6:19-20-note, cp Ro 5:5, 2Cor 1:22, 2Cor 3:18, Gal 4:6) Every believer can experience personal victory over the evil spirits through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

We overcome the world because He overcame the world (John 16:33)! As Jesus told His disciples "These things (What things? ) I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome (nikao in the perfect tense = speaking of the permanence of His having overcome) the world.”

Greater (meizon) is used 3x by John (1Jn 3:20, 4:4, 5:9) and in context speaks of God's superiority in ever way, especially His greater power that assures the believer's triumph over false teachers and all evil forces. And remember that Satan has no power except that which God gives him.

Recall that Jesus gave us His example (to follow - 1Pe 2:21, cp 1Jn 2:6) of how we practically are to overcome the spirit of the antichrist. Specifically Jesus overcame the temptations of the Devil in Mt 4:1-11 (Lk 4:1-13) because He was full of the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:1, cp Lk 4:14, Acts 10:37-38) and filled with the Word of God (Mt 4:4, 7, 10) which is the sword of the Spirit. (Eph 6:17). We are to do likewise - be continually filled with the Spirit and the Word!

See related resource - Filled with the Spirit and the Word

Kistemaker on He Who is in you - There are two forces that oppose one another: the Holy Spirit opposes the spirit of the antichrist. Through his Spirit, God lives with his children and is greater than the evil one. He keeps them in the truth of his Word and strengthens them to overcome temptations (compare 1Jn 3:9). (New Testament Commentary - James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude)

Westcott - Elsewhere ‘the word of God’ (c. 1Jn 2:14), ‘the unction received from Him’ (1Jn 2:27), ‘His seed’ (1Jn 3:9) is said to ‘abide’ in believers, as here He himself is in them.

Vincent on in you - The Christian society (Ed: "you" is plural). Compare John 6:56; John 14:20; John 15:4-10; John 17:23, John 17:26; Galatians 2:20-note (of the individual). (Vincent's Word Studies)

Morris - The devil may be "the god of this world" (2Corinthians 4:4-note) and have a multitude of demonic spirits under his control (Eph 6:11,12-note), but the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer is the omnipotent God. As long as we neither "grieve the Spirit" nor "quench the Spirit" (Eph 4:30-note; 1Th 5:19-note), we can take great comfort in knowing that through the Spirit and His Word we can "overcome the wicked one" (1Jn 2:14-note).

For an up tempo "musical interpretation" of John's encouraging words listen to MercyMe's song from 2014..

Greater is the One Living Inside of Me

He who is in the world - This description in context is a reference to Satan and his evil henchmen, including his "front men" the false teachers that were assailing the saints in John's day (and ours).

Corrie ten Boom said, “There are two great forces at work in the world today: the unlimited power of God and the limited power of Satan.”

Vincent on he that is in the world - In 1John 5:19, the world is said to be in the (power of the) evil one. Compare Ephesians 2:2. (Vincent's Word Studies)

Earlier John had given his readers "warning signals" about the world…

Do not love (present imperative) the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever. (1Jn 2:15-17-note)

See (aorist imperative) how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (1Jn 3:1-note)

Do not be surprised (present imperative) brethren, if the world hates you. (1Jn 3:13-note)

World (2889) (kosmos related to the verb kosmeo = to order or adorn, to put in order [Mt 25:7 = "trimmed"], to adorn literally [1Ti 2:9], to adorn figuratively [Titus 2:9-note]) means essentially something that is well-arranged, that which has order or something arranged harmoniously. Kosmos refers to an ordered system or a system where order prevails. The meaning of world in any given passage must be determined from the context. For example, in John 3:16 "God so loved the world (kosmos) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." In that passage world refers simply to planet earth inhabited by men, women and children in desperate need of a Savior. As used in the present passage kosmos describes the world not as a neutral influence but as an "evil force", the inveterate, incorrigible, intractable, intransigent, irrevocable enemy of God and of every believer. Kosmos includes the ungodly (unsaved) multitude, the whole mass of men alienated from God and hostile to Him and His Son Jesus Christ (See also Earth Dwellers, a related term used by John in The Revelation of Jesus Christ). This meaning of kosmos describes the system of values, priorities, and beliefs that unbelievers hold that excludes God. E.g., Just mention the name "Jesus" in a positive sense (instead of like we sadly often hear it - as a curse word! cp Acts 4:12) in a secular setting! You can "feel" the hackles rising up on the back of their necks!

Marvin Vincent says kosmos is "The sum-total of human life in the ordered world, considered apart from, alienated from, and hostile to God, and of the earthly things which seduce from God."

John Trapp - Pleasure, profit, preferment are the worldling's trinity.

D Edmond Hiebert - Because of the fallen nature of the human race, the term (kosmos) predominantly has an ethical import, the human race in its alienation from and opposition to God… (And so kosmos) does not refer (when used with its ethical meaning) to the material creation but rather to the mass of unredeemed humanity as an egocentric world-system that is hostile to God. It is "a mighty flood of thoughts, feelings, principles of action, conventional prejudices, dislikes, attachments, which have been gathering around human life for ages, impregnating it, impelling it, molding it, degrading it" (Liddon). Its central aim is self-enjoyment and self-aggrandizement in disregard of or in open hostility toward God. To cultivate the world's friendship (James 4:4-note) implies conformity to its principles and aims. To be controlled by the spirit of worldliness is wholly incompatible with loyalty to God; it makes them guilty of spiritual adultery."

Guzik - The believer has a resource for victory, the vital presence of the indwelling Jesus, which makes victory always possible - if we will rely on He Who is in us instead of relying on ourselves. This understanding gives great confidence and spiritual power (Ed: His power flowing through us!). For those walking in this truth, victory is assured - they have overcome them. It is a positive statement, not a wishful hope. (1 John 4 Commentary)

John Piper - The Christians to which John is writing have conquered the false prophets. They have conquered them in that they have not been swept away by their deception (1Jn 2:14-note, 1Jn 2:26-note). The prophets have attacked with their defective views of Christ, and the Christians have stood firm. They have not yielded. They have conquered. They have remained orthodox and loyal to the Son of God incarnate in the man Jesus Christ. How? How did they conquer? The foe was not merely human. Satan himself, the god of this age, empowered the false prophets, and he is extraordinarily subtle and deceptive. How did they conquer? Not by their native intelligence, not by their own strength. They are but "little children." John says they conquered because he who was in them is greater than he was in the world. In other words they conquered by the power of the Holy Spirit. So the great assumption of 1Jn 4:2-note and 1Jn 4:6-note is made explicit: The Holy Spirit is more powerful than the satanic forces of deception and blindness. And every believer owes his orthodoxy to the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. If we stand with Christ, listening receptively and confessing loyally, it is because the Holy Spirit is greater than all other forces in the world and has made us to conquer the blindness and hardness of our own hearts and the deception of the enemy. (Test the Spirits to See Whether They Are of God)

Martin Luther understood this verse writing "Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing… "

A Mighty Fortress sung Steve Green
Incredible Solo!

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.


No Match For God by Herbert Vander Lugt - He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. —1 John 4:4 - During the 1930s, a missionary in a primitive African village saw firsthand the conflict between the power of the kingdom of evil and the omnipotence of God. According to author Calvin Miller, a witch doctor had warned the missionary that the tribal god would destroy his school. A bolt of lightning fulfilled his threat. Convinced that the voodoo spirit would not have the last word, the missionary publicly proclaimed that the God of the Bible would strike the witch doctor’s totem with lightning that night. To the utter amazement of the village people, that’s exactly what happened! They saw this as evidence of the superior power of the missionary’s God. In the book of Exodus, Moses and Aaron could have been intimidated by Pharaoh’s magicians. Their demonic power was clearly evident when their rods became serpents. But God reassured His servants and reminded them of His superior power when Aaron’s rod-turned-serpent devoured the other serpents. The power of Satan is demonstrated as he works through unbelief and false religious systems. But when we walk with God, we need not be afraid. The devil and all his forces are no match for God.

The devil prowls and seeks his prey,
His power can't be denied;
But God is greater, and we know
He's always by our side.
—Sper

The power of Christ within you is greater than
The power of evil around you.


D L Moody - The Only Complete Victor - This brings me to the fourth verse of the fourth chapter of the same epistle: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” The only man that ever conquered this world—was complete victor—was Jesus Christ. When He shouted on the cross, “It is finished!” it was the shout of a conqueror. He had overcome every enemy. He had met sin and death. He had met every foe that you and I have got to meet, and had come off victor. Now if I have got the spirit of Christ, if I have got that same life in me, then it is that I have got a power that is greater than any power in the world, and with that same power I overcome the world.
Notice that everything human in this world fails. Every man, the moment he takes his eye off God, has failed. Every man has been a failure at some period of his life. Abraham failed. Moses failed. Elijah failed. Take the men that have become so famous and that were so mighty—the moment they got their eye off God, they were weak like other men; and it is a very singular thing that those men failed on the strongest point in their character. I suppose it was because they were not on the watch. Abraham was noted for his faith, and he failed right there—he denied his wife. Moses was noted for his meekness and humility, and he failed right there—he got angry. God kept him out of the promised land because he lost his temper. I know he was called “the servant of God,” and that he was a mighty man, and had power with God, but humanly speaking, he failed, and was kept out of the promised land. Elijah was noted for his power in prayer and for his courage, yet he became a coward. He was the boldest man of his day, and stood before Ahab, and the royal court, and all the prophets of Baal; yet when he heard that Jezebel had threatened his life, he ran away to the desert, and under a juniper tree prayed that he might die. Peter was noted for his boldness, and a little maid scared him nearly out of his wits. As soon as she spoke to him, he began to tremble, and he swore that he didn’t know Christ. I have often said to myself that I’d like to have been there on the day of Pentecost alongside of that maid when she saw Peter preaching.
“Why,” I suppose she said, “what has come over that man? He was afraid of me only a few weeks ago, and now he stands up before all Jerusalem and charges these very Jews with the murder of Jesus.”
The moment he got his eye off the Master he failed; and every man, I don’t care who he is—even the strongest—every man that hasn’t Christ in him, is a failure. John, the beloved disciple, was noted for his meekness; and yet we hear of him wanting to call fire down from heaven on a little town because it had refused the common hospitalities.


The Standoff - When a local bookstore rearranged its shelves, I noticed an increase in the number of titles relating to sorcery and witchcraft. In fact, the religion section had become a virtual “standoff” between light and darkness. Christian titles flanked one side of the aisle, while roughly the same number of occult books lined the other side.

Sometimes we may think of God and Satan in the same way I thought of the books in that bookstore. We see them as opposing but equal forces with the same unlimited power. However, God is God and Satan is not. God is stronger than any force of darkness. He does what He pleases (Ps. 135:6), while Satan’s power is limited to what God allows. When Satan supposed that misfortune would make Job curse God, God told Satan, “Behold, all that [Job] has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person” (Job 1:12). Satan had to play by God’s rules.

Because God is in charge over everything, as Christ’s followers we don’t need to be paralyzed by fear of Satan’s power over our lives or the lives of the believers around us. He tempts us and tries to influence us, but the Bible assures us, “He who is in [us] is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). - By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

All hail the pow’r of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all! —Perronet

The powers of evil around you are no match for the power of Jesus within you.


No Match For God - During the 1930s, a missionary in a primitive African village saw firsthand the conflict between the power of the kingdom of evil and the omnipotence of God. According to author Calvin Miller, a witch doctor had warned the missionary that the tribal god would destroy his school. A bolt of lightning fulfilled his threat. Convinced that the voodoo spirit would not have the last word, the missionary publicly proclaimed that the God of the Bible would strike the witch doctor’s totem with lightning that night. To the utter amazement of the village people, that’s exactly what happened! They saw this as evidence of the superior power of the missionary’s God.

In the book of Exodus, Moses and Aaron could have been intimidated by Pharaoh’s magicians. Their demonic power was clearly evident when their rods became serpents. But God reassured His servants and reminded them of His superior power when Aaron’s rod-turned-serpent devoured the other serpents.

The power of Satan is demonstrated as he works through unbelief and false religious systems. But when we walk with God, we need not be afraid. The devil and all his forces are no match for God. By Herbert Vander Lugt 

The devil prowls and seeks his prey,
His power can't be denied;
But God is greater, and we know
He's always by our side. —Sper

The power of Christ within you is greater than The power of evil around you.


Jesus Is Greater - Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and some villages in China celebrate the month-long Ghosts Festival. It is believed that during this time the spirits of the dead return to earth to roam among the living. So people burn joss sticks (incense) and phony money, prepare feasts, and perform in street theaters—all to keep the spirits happy.

As a child growing up in Singapore, I was taught to fear those ghosts. One year I had a fever during the festival, and I was told that I must have bumped into some and offended them.

Now that I know what the Bible says about Jesus’ power over the real spirit world of Satan and his demons, I have been freed from my former fears. Because I have placed my faith in Christ as my Lord and Savior, I realize that I don’t need to try to appease or fight evil spirits by myself.

Jesus showed His power over the spirit world as He cast out demons (Luke 11:14-23). When He died on the cross for us and rose from the grave, Jesus triumphed over Satan and sealed his doom (Colossians 2:15; Revelation 20:10). The Bible assures followers of Christ, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). By Albert Lee

We need not fear the devil or demons. Our Lord Jesus is greater!

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God has willed,
His truth to triumph through us. —Luther

The power of Satan is no match for the power of Jesus.


Shrike System - Read: Ephesians 6:10-18 | Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. —1 Peter 5:8 - The ancient sport of falconry used trained hawks or falcons in the pursuit of wild game. When the “educated predator” was allowed to fly, however, it often rose too high for human eyes to see. So a hunter often carried a small caged bird called a shrike. By watching the antics of the little bird, the man could always tell where his hawk was, for the shrike instinctively feared the predator and cocked its head to keep it in view.

Christians desperately need an alert perception similar to that of the shrike to detect their spiritual enemy. Our adversary, Satan, “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Our responsibility, according to the apostle Peter, is to be sober and vigilant. In other words, we’re to be always on the alert.

It would be nice if God had giant sirens to warn us of an attack by the devil. But He doesn’t operate that way. Instead, we must read the Bible regularly, meditate on its truths, maintain a prayerful attitude throughout the day, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Only then will we be sensitive to an imminent assault by the evil one, and be armed by grace to meet it. By Mart DeHaan

The devil is clever, deceiving us all,
He cunningly causes the strongest to fall;
But we his sly methods are sure to discern
By making God’s warnings our daily concern. —D. De Haan

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. —1 John 4:4


1 John 4:3 Commentary <> 1 John 4:5 Commentary

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