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Summary: John gives three characteristics of an overcomer in 1 John 5:1–5: 1) Faith in the truth (1 John 5: 1a, 4–5), 2) Love for God and others (1 John 5:1b), and 3) Obedience to the Word (1 John 5:2–3).

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Nike is one of the world's largest suppliers of athletic shoes and apparel as a major manufacturer of sports equipment, with revenue in excess of US$24.1 billion (in its fiscal year 2012 ending May 31, 2012). It employs more than 44,000 people worldwide. In 2014 the brand alone is valued at $19 billion, making it the most valuable brand among sports businesses. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike,_Inc.)

The company takes its name from Nike, the mythical Greek goddess. In ancient Greek mythology, Nike was the goddess of victory who aided Zeus in his battle against the Titans. One of the Apostle John’s favorite description of believers is one that “overcomes” where he employs a verb form of the word Nike. (nikaō). Earlier in this epistle, John wrote that spiritual young men overcome the Devil through the power of the Word (1 John 2:13–14). Not only have believers overcome Satan, but also his servants (1 John 4:1–4).

Believers, then, are invincible overcomers—not in themselves or by their own power, but in Jesus Christ and by His power. Although their ultimate victory is assured, Christians still lose some of the battles. They succumb to Satan’s temptations, the world’s allurements, and the corruption of their own hearts, and fall into sin. But if believers are not always victorious in the skirmishes of this life, how can they be sure that they are truly overcomers? Reiterating, recycling, and enriching familiar themes from earlier in this epistle, John gives three characteristics of an overcomer in 1 John 5:1–5: 1) Faith in the truth (1 John 5: 1a, 4–5), 2) Love for God and others (1 John 5:1b), and 3) Obedience to the Word (1 John 5:2–3).

1) Faith in the Truth (1 John 5: 1a, 4–5)

1 John 5: 1a, 4–5 5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, (and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.) 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (ESV)

The foundational mark of an overcomer is one who believes that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah). To “believe” means to put one’s trust and confidence in, to be convinced of, the truth. To believe in Jesus as “the Christ” means to trust him as God’s Messiah, his unique Anointed One, and have faith in him. It means believing that Jesus of Nazareth was God’s one and only Son and that he was anointed by God’s Spirit to preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, die on the cross for sin, and rise from the dead to become the Savior. The tenses of the Greek verbs indicate that belief is the result, not the cause, of the new birth. The continuing activity of believing proves that a person has been born of God. (Barton, B. B., & Osborne, G. R. (1998). 1, 2 & 3 John (pp. 104–105). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.)


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