Tag Archive: Overcome



1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. 4In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” –1 John 1:1-5

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Its a wondrous thing our sacred doctrine. Often when we embark on studying it we may find key phrases may jump out at us during one reading, and another altogether during a rereading. For me this verse was no different. As I wrote it down on my white board, I stood there staring. Contemplating. Yes, I know the basic truths behind this verse, and furthermore believe them, but what was God trying to tell me through this particular scripture?

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Two key phrases stood out to me:

From verse 3: “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”

From Verse 5: “The light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

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Currently, in the spirit of full disclosure to the reader, I am working on rededicating my life to the Lord. How surprised was I to know that I had fallen away! However, some exhortation is due on part of the Lord for allowing me to know this very thing. How tragic it is when one falls away and never knows it! This may be of interest to the reader simply because it gives some context into the verse, what was shown unto me, and what it all means. First, we approach verse 3. It states, again, “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”

The language or construction of this verse is what made it stand out to me first. It is kind of odd. I thought, “Well, why not just say that without Him nothing was made?” Why the added, “nothing was made that has been made?” To me this indicated that I should see it through some new eyes. The ones that the Lord provides at times when reading His Word, which was in the beginning, along with God, and was God.

There is of course something to be said about the message of the Holy Trinity or the Triune God which is made evident here in its representation and presentation. Usually I would focus on this point, for it is a great point to make, but the Lord wanted something else known unto me.

Often when we run across repetition or a tautology of language within Holy Writ or anywhere else for that matter, it is either of grammatical error, or it is utilized to emphasize a point. I believe the repetition in this case of, “without Him nothing was made that has been made,” supports the latter, that it is used to emphasize something.

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I realized the emphasis is used to make a powerful point, which becomes clearer when we add verse 5. I came to the realization that, “without Him nothing was made that has been made,” means nothing exists outside God. Everything is God. Not in the Cosmic Humanistic standpoint mind you, but everything that exists is so because God deemed it to be. Outside God there is nothing. What is this nothing?

 photo Ceiling_zps1a5b3872.pngWell, Scripture often describes nothingness, evil, and being apart from the Lord as “darkness.” Everything that was made was made THROUGH Him and WITHOUT Him nothing is. Yet, how does sin and evil equate to nothingness. We obviously have a conception of it so doesn’t it exist? Further, if it exists are we to say that God created it? Absolutely not!

Darkness only exists in relation to the light. God said, “Let there be light,” not, “Let there be darkness.” The darkness is the absence of God and being completely apart from him. This describes sin in a nutshell. Sin is action, thought, contemplation, temptation, and anything that is separate from the nature, being and, for lack of better terminology, character of God. As two forms of matter can’t occupy the same space, so too God and evil cannot occupy the same space. Thus if God is light, and darkness is far removed from Him, as it is, the darkness cannot occupy the same space without being illuminated itself and becoming light. Yet, we know God is of a singular nature and cannot be light and darkness at the same time.

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Taking these principles, I read the second phrase that stood out, that is verse 5. Again, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” We should say, of course, amen to that, for it tells us of Christ’s complete victory. Yet, as does happen, I got something else out of it. Something Scriptural. It is important to weigh every interpretation with the rest of Scripture in order that the mind not deceive.

As I have shared, I am currently rededicating my life to Christ, and one of the first things that occurs to one when doing so is the great shame that envelopes. The nature of sin is darkness. It is apart from God. Thus, I had a great message of hope. When one walks of the path, we become entangled in the thickets of sin and in doing so the enemy prepares a lie which I heard on my way to church yesterday.

“You are a worthless pile. You have no business going to church, nor bowing before your Lord. Why would he want anything to do with you?”

Obviously, the end to following this lie is that one avoid church and avoid the Lord because of shame. It was easy to distinguish the lie and tell the enemy to get behind me. Yet, shame and guilt still follow. Some taunts of the enemy, others righteous revelation. My guilt was righteously being revealed unto me, but I still had the question:

“My sin is great O’Lord. So great forgiveness would be beyond my human understanding and comprehension. Can I still come to you? Have I been so set in my ways that I am separated and plunged into darkness for all eternity?”

No! Why? Verse 5 shows us that even in the midst of grievous sin there is light. Do we deserve it? Certainly not, but yet it is there. Our sin, which God knew from the beginning and destined our Savior to cleanse it with blood, is the light that shines through even the most horrid of sins. This is of course no credit to ourselves, but rather credit belongs to Him who sits at the right hand of God. The promise and blood of the lamb cannot be overcome by even willful sin it is so great. Again, this is no credit to self, but our Lord Himself and to Him may eternal praise belong.

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“Consider Abraham: ‘He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ 7Understand then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.” -Galatians 3:6-7

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The apostle Paul was masterful at taking the Old Testament and applying it to the truth of Jesus Christ, of whom he became witness. Both Jesus and Paul, by their words, show the incredible truth behind the Old Testament, that though by the new covenant, we are granted righteousness by faith in Christ, it doesn’t necessarily negate the old covenant, or visa versa. In fact, the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old.

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A frequent question among believers and the secular community is, if one is saved in Christ, what about all those who came before Christ? Were they not given the opportunity to be saved? I used to struggle with this question myself, but after reading this verse and others like it, and with my own personal discoveries and revelations concerning the nature of faith, I have come to the conclusion that even prior to Christ, man was capable of coming under grace.

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As Paul says, let us consider Abraham. Abraham was a man of great faith, so much so that when the Lord asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham complied with the command. Yet, at the last minute, the Lord sent an angel to prevent the sacrifice of Isaac, but provided a ram to take Abraham’s sons place. Not only does this speak of great faith, but also obedience, which springs forth from that faith.

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Now Abraham was faulty just as any other man, but even prior to the new covenant, his faith was credited to him as righteousness by God. This is due to the nature of faith, which we should all take a lesson from, that by understanding this lesson, one may overcome doubt and worry. Briefly, I will mention as I write this, that it is a lesson that is speaking to me as well.

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It’s not as simple as having faith in the existence of Christ and our Lord, rather faith runs deeper than this, and it is important to meditate on it that our roots may grow deeper. Abraham not only believed in God, but believed in what He said. This might seem like a small difference, but in reality it is quite large, for to believe in what God says, is to believe in His promises. Therefore, when God told Abraham that his offspring would be the savior of the world, Abraham completely believed and it, again, was credited to him.

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Within Paul’s letters, Paul elaborates on Abraham’s offspring. Paul tells us in the context, “offspring,” is presented, it is not plural, but rather singular. Thus, a multitude of Abraham’s descendants wouldn’t save the world, but rather one singular man of a divine nature, that is Christ. In Jesus’s time, the prophecy of a savior was no secret, in fact many were looking for the savior, but in their pride, the Jews misunderstood the heavenly nature of the savior. Many expected a mere king and not the King of Kings.

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Abraham understood this and had faith in God that the savior would come and thereby, put his faith not only in God, but the savior that was to come. This is why we are children of Abraham. Abraham was of a previous generation, before the new covenant and Abraham believed this covenant was to come. Thus, with Abraham coming before, he is our father of those who would be credited righteousness through faith.

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Abraham was not considered righteous for obedience to any Law (although the Law hadn’t been given unto Moses yet) or by any of his works, but was considered and credited righteousness because of faith and belief. It is akin to this same faith in the Lord and His promises that we become the descendants of Abraham. In Galatians 3:8-9, Paul states:

“The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ 7So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”

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Therefore, let us not only believe in God the Father, and the Son, but let us believe in what they make known unto us by the Word and through the Spirit, who counsels us in all things. Anyone who did this under the old covenant was granted a like righteousness, but being under the new, we are witnesses to Christ’s death, by which we are justified, and His resurrection, through which righteousness and eternal life comes. Christ gained the firstfruits of the glorified body, due to His righteousness, but Abraham was the father of righteousness by faith.

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What the Lord tells us is true and should not be doubted. It is correct to say some promises won’t come to pass until the appointed time, but let us not grow weary of our waiting upon the Lord, nor let it produce doubt within us. The Lord cannot break a covenant, for to do so would make Him imperfect, and we would cease to exist altogether. Thus, all the Lord has said will come to pass, in this age or the next, and this shall not hinder our faith. For even Abraham wasn’t hindered in his faith, but knew the promises of God would be fulfilled even when our father of righteousness by faith had passed from the world.

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed us to the message of reconciliation.” -Romans 5:17-19

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The Holy Bible should not be considered some mere book, that one reads once through, or even a few times, and that is all that is required. It is the Word of God and it may speak to us through a single verse in many different ways. This being the case, there is no such thing as too much repetition within the Holy Writ. We must consistently read and study, letting the Lord speak to us all the while, in order that through and by it, we may overcome the burdens or challenges that my arise within our lives. In addition, the memorization of Scripture, assists us to overcome the temptation of sin, which so easily entangles.

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When we look at the temptation of Christ as he wandered through the wilderness, we find that our Lord answered the temptations from Satan with Scripture. Whenever Satan attempted other tactics, they were shot down in a similar fashion. This should be a lesson unto us. Often times the Lord guides us to Scripture, prior to, or preceding, a particular temptation in our lives.

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Though I have wrote on this particular verse before, I do not question where the Lord is leading me in His word, and with every verse I ponder over it, and more importantly, I pray that it would remain in remembrance. In addition, I pray that the Lord would illuminate the Scripture for me, that it may be yielded as a weapon against darkness if and when the time should come.

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When a person comes to Christ, it is easier to believe that our past sins are forgiven, rather than those which are committed under grace. However, the glorious message of reconciliation shows us that even our current and future sins can be covered under this same grace. Concerning this truth, being a new creation, we are renewed day by day. Though we may have backslid yesterday, today is a new day in which our sins, by Christ, may not be counted against us, in the sight of the Almighty. Christ, along with the Spirit that dwells within us, shows that God is committed to His promise of reconciliation for all those covered in Christ blood. Given this, we should be committed to this message that others may be reconciled unto God.

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If we confess with our mouth that, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we become born again and are created anew. We are given a new Spirit by Christ, and our old selves pass away. This is only possible through Christ, who paid our debt when He took our sins upon Himself at Calvary, justifying us from our trespasses. Therefore, when we die in body, we will be given a new one, clean and free of decay, as Christ has. This is all due to the glory manifest at the cross, that in our faith in the Son, it may be credited to us as righteousness.

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“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” -Galatians 1:11-12

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Here Paul refutes a argument common in his day, and likewise currently, that the gospel was made up by man. Paul’s own evidence is that he did not study under any of the apostles, and in fact didn’t meet them until three years after his ministry had begun. As it states in Galatians Chapter 1, Verses 18-19:

“Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19I saw none of the other apostles only James, the Lord’s brother.”

Cephas, which means “rock,” in this case is actually Peter. Some dispute this, but when one considers that Christ gives Peter this name in the Gospel of John, and that Paul says, “I saw none of the other apostles,” it indicates to us that he did indeed see at least one of the apostles, Peter, and stayed with him 15 days.

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The main point of the passage, however, is that Paul, who himself used to be known as Saul, was preaching a gospel without former knowledge from any source apart from Christ Himself. It was from Christ that he received his new name and the message of reconciliation.

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"The Conversion of Saul," by Michelangelo. fresco, c. 1542-1545

Yet, why all these name changes? It’s not meant to confuse, rather provide clarity and symbolism. When we come to Christ in faith, we are told we become a “new creation,” and that the old has gone (See my note on 2 Corinthians 5:17, “On The Old Overtaken By What is New”). Thus, our worldly name, and those of many people in scripture, are changed to symbolize that they indeed are a new creation. Our names too will change, according to Revelation, when we are finally removed from this tent and live in our heavenly dwelling with the Lord. Revelation 2:17 states:

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known to only him who receives it.”

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The color white within scripture symbolizes, purity, righteousness, and refinement. We will be pure beings which will be represented by our new names. Furthermore, sometimes after we come to the Lord we can feel rather insignificant, that we are merely a small particular in an aggregate of believers and though we may have a relationship with the Lord, it’s nothing spectacular and may be commonplace in the vast sea of the faithful. Yet, this verse in Revelation is touching because it shows us that our individual relationship with the Lord is unique. In fact, the relationship you have, and will have, nobody else has. That’s how close of friends we are with Jesus Christ (See my note concerning John 15:15, “On Having a Friendship With The Lord”). This is an amazing thing to reflect upon and I encourage everyone to do so, and that in love, I pray your relationship with the Lord may grow deeper and infinitely more profound. Amen.

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"Christ Pantocrator," by Master of Cefalu. mosaic, greco-byzantine style. Location: Cefalu Cathedral, Sicily, Italy. c. 1150

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