Rev. Peter J. Haugen
St. Paul Evangelical
God promises that “whatever is born of God overcomes the world… And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5). This is a comforting word for us Christians in the midst of our current struggles and anxieties and fears. Or at least it should be.
But we too often have difficulty seeing this truth. We see…What? The spectre of war. The terrors of disease and death. The instability of the economy. A society that celebrates the slaughter of millions of children. A culture that normalizes false identities and sexual sin and divorce and the shattering of home and family. A church that is no longer the church, but has become an extension of the world.
Even worse, we see our own guilt in so much of this and the way our participation has devastated our own homes and families. We engage in the evils that so afflict us, and we excuse ourselves and those we love. It looks like we are being overcome, like we’re running and running all our life, only to realize we’re not athletes, but watercolors in the rain. It does not look like the world is being overcome.
But it is. Our eyes may not be able to see it yet, but the truth of God’s promise is not dependent upon our eyes or our experiences. The world is being overcome precisely because the world has already been overcome. Jesus Christ has come by water and blood, and in that coming He has overcome the world. It is to this that the Holy Spirit bears witness.
Take courage, then, in the fight. We continue to wage war here against the sinful desires of our flesh, against the demonic forces of Satan, against a world that remains so hostile to us. That war is filled with the thunder and violence and confusion of all wars. In the chaos of our present, the greater picture is easily obscured, and we are easily overcome by our own fear and discouragement.
That is why our Lord Jesus has sent us His Spirit. His Spirit comes with us into the chaos of our present. His Spirit bears witness to the truth of our Lord Jesus and to the forgiveness He has won for us. His Spirit strengthens us for the fight.
Find a church — not just any church, but a faithful church, a church that continues to stand firm upon the unchanging Word of God and preaches Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the sins of the world. Go there regularly. Be fed by the Word of God. Receive His forgiveness. Be encouraged in the one true faith, and be an encouragement there to your fellow Christians. Be strengthened to fight the evils of the world around us.
And remember: No matter the confusion of the moment, we who believe “that Jesus is the Son of God” overcome the world. Amen.