– John 16:33
Jesus had been speaking to the disciples prior to His going to Calvary, and He reassured them by saying, “These things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We are only able to overcome the world because of the Spirit of God and because Jesus overcame the world for us since we could not by ourselves. We needed help just as the first disciples did. That’s why Jesus tried to tell them to not be troubled by the tribulations of the world but to take heart because He overcame the world.
Who are those who overcome? Many have told me that they are not overcoming their sins and that they are worried about their souls. The Apostle John tries to comfort the church in the same way that Jesus tried to comfort the early disciples by writing, “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5). This is essentially saying that those who overcome the world are those who have believed in Jesus Christ and that He is the Son of God. If anyone thinks he overcomes the world by their own efforts, they clearly misunderstand what overcoming the world means.
When Jesus was about to finally leave the disciples to go to the cross, He told them how someone can receive eternal life by saying, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). We overcome the world by our faith in Christ and not by human effort. Even further, Jesus said, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). This shows that the Father preserves us (John 10:29), keeping us from the evil one (Satan and his demons). Jesus wanted them to take comfort in the fact that He has overcome the world, so there was no need for them to be troubled by the world’s tribulations.
What an amazing, grace-filled God Who sought us, Who caught us, Who bought us, and Who taught us by His Spirit and saved us by His Son, Jesus Christ. To Him belongs all glory because our salvation doesn’t depend on our own strength, effort, or works (Eph. 2:8-9) but on His. That’s more than enough to bring us into the kingdom of heaven.