The Three Tense Victory
The very soul of our Epistle [of 1 John] is the victory of the Christian life – the victory of a genuine Christian experience.
– It is victory through our Lord JESUS CHRIST.
– It is victory through the HOLY SPIRIT, in the reality of the Abiding Life.
– It is victory through the Father’s guardian, keeping power, exercised toward His children.
– It is victory over every foe, within and without.
– It is victory over all fear. – It is victory because CHRIST died, and because He lives.
– It is victory because CHRIST came, and because He is coming again.
– It is victory because GOD is Light, and Love, and Life, and because we know Him.
– It is victory for the past, for the present, and for the future, covering the whole gamut of human need and experience.
1. VICTORY FOR THE PAST
It rests in the person, worth and saving work of our Lord JESUS CHRIST: “Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin” (I John 3:5). – It is in the fact that “our sins are forgiven us for His name’s sake” (I John 2:12). – It is in the fact that “we have passed from death unto life” – and “we know” it (I John 3:14). – It is the fact that eternal life has become ours in perpetuity, with the HOLY SPIRIT witnessing, personally, within us, what GOD’s Word has witnessed to us: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:10-12).
2. VICTORY FOR THE FUTURE
It rests in the fact that CHRIST is going to “appear a second time,” for our complete, perfect and final salvation. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
In that coming for His own we will be brought into His immediate presence – wondrous privilege for one-time sinners, “without God and without hope in the world” – since “we shall see Him as He is.”
The sight will be transforming, beyond all that we have here experienced: “We shall be like Him.” That likeness is to extend even to our body which, in His coming, He will transform “that it may be conformed to the body of His glory.” It will bring to full accomplishment His predestinating purpose in us, namely, that we should be “conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” What a prospect! No wonder that such a “hope” has the practical effect of personal purity, even at this present time. To fail to entertain this hope is to lose part of our God-given victory.
3. VICTORY FOR THE PRESENT
We consider this last because it is the chief concern of the Epistle. The past and future aspects of victory are viewed as making the present possible and real. It rests in the fact of the HOLY SPIRIT’s abiding presence in the believer, with the correspondent presence of CHRIST the Victor above. It is the Abiding Life, lived out in a continuously satisfying experience of His sustaining power, that power brought to bear upon every phase of life’s present problems.
It is victory over sin. Not in saying we have no sin – as though we had this victory in ourselves, independent of Him; not that, but rather in so living and walking that we continually appropriate the victory of Calvary. It is the continuous cleansing of the Blood (l John 1:7), claimed through our conscious and confessed need of it (vv. 8-10).
But the provision goes further than this. CHRIST not only died; He lives, and is now our “Advocate with the Father.” (The same Greek word, translated “Comforter,” as is applied to the HOLY SPIRIT here with us).
He is our Lawyer, pleading our case. And His plea is Himself – the fact that He is JESUS CHRIST “the righteous” and that we are in Him (I John 2:1, 2). Through His advocacy any temporary lapse is turned to victory without being suffered to settle in blight upon the soul or becloud its spiritual horizon. He is our propitiation and our righteousness; in Him and through Him we are as though we had never sinned.
It is victory that is continuously ministered and assured by His presence indwelling us. Says the Apostle: “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” (l John 4:4).
This is the keynote of the Epistle [of 1 John]. It is the key of victorious living. As we abide in Him and He in us we need not fall into [intentional] sin;
– darkness does not enshroud us
– we walk in the light; disobedience does not beguile us
– we keep His commandments; worldliness does not bewitch us
– we desire to do His will; false doctrine does not mislead us
– we know the true teaching; hatred does not seize upon us
– we love one another with His love; our love does not run to mere words
– we are willing to pay the price of genuine love expressed in deeds of kindness and helpfulness;
– we are not the easy prey of the wicked one’s wiles
– we “keep ourselves,” as GOD’s children, that he touch us not.
Part 2 of 3
From LIFE, LOVE and LIGHT: The Gospel of John and First Epistle of John. By Norman B. Harrison, D.D. Pastor, Bible Teacher and Evangelist. Minneapolis: The Harrison Service, 1929. Edited and republished courtesy of http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/
The new year is a good opportunity to select a grace-oriented daily devotional. Here are some that we recommend: