Truth of the Week 18: You are an Overcomer!

by Catherine King and Jenny Cioto

1 John 4:4 – You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. NKJV

Whew – the background on this verse! I love my NKJV study Bible. I can read all the historical basis and understanding of the books because of this handy tool at the beginning of every book. Given that, here’s the background:

John is the assumed writer as it matches much flow of the book of John earlier in the Bible. John lived in Ephesus and wrote to the churches of Asia. He was genuinely worried about the heretical movement known as Gnosticism – denying Jesus really did have a human body and was not both divine and human. Clearly that’s not Biblically sound, as Jesus was both man and God without sin.

Chapter 4 in 1 John is addressing the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. John encourages the believers to not be afraid of this spirit of error and to test all the spirits to make sure they are of God. If they/we abide in God by keeping His commandments – then they/we can be certain that the Spirit of God is in them/us.

Looking at the end of our truth of the week – “greater than he who is in the world” – is noted in the margin to refer to John 14:30 and John 16:11. These verses are where Jesus mentioned the spirit of the antichrist who would come after He left.

Ok. So where does this leave us with our verse?

It says we are of God. Pausing here – let that sink in. Of means what?

Merriam-Webster says:

  1. – used as a function word to indicate a point of reckoning
  2. A – used as a function word to indicate origin or derivation

This could then mean we really are of the origin or derivation of God Himself! That alone is powerful.

Then the verse says “and have overcome them.” Nothing I see in commentary points out this use of past tense for the words “have overcome” but I sure haven’t missed it! Have overcome. That’s past tense for victory. But here we sit in our present. Could this mean that it’s already been all done? Didn’t Jesus say on the cross, “Tetelesti” – It is finished? Past tense as well?

Essentially we have already overcome everything because God has already overcome it all given He isn’t bound by time and space. He created all that, after all.

We have overcome and have victory over the false spirits. Also, since we have the Spirit we won’t be completely taken by false spirits. Awesome!

Then to top off the verse John says, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Just a little reminder if his previous statements on that fact weren’t enough!

Take heart, my friends – your fight, your battle, your pain, your enemies have all been defeated already. You are of God and you are an overcomer already. You are just merely fighting to get to your victory.

Catherine King