– John 16:33
Jesus Overcame the World
Before Jesus went to the cross, and would later ascend back to the Father, His disciples didn’t have any peace at all about Jesus going away. He had been the only Teacher they ever knew, and now they knew He was God, but He was going away, so He speaks to them and “said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation” (Matt 16:33a), but “I have overcome the world,” indicating that nothing could keep them from being separated from Him, similar to what the Apostle Paul taught (Rom 8:37-39).
Overcoming the World
People who are believers sometimes doubt their own salvation. To make it worse, they read that they must be overcomers, but the Apostle John tells us who the overcomers are; “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1st John 5:5), so “everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1st John 5:4). If you’ve trusted in Christ, then you’ve been born of God; if you’ve been born of God, you’ve overcome the world. Now you have Jesus’ own righteousness imputed to you (2nd Cor 5:21).
What becomes of the overcomers? These are those who have repented and trusted in Christ and received the free gift of eternal life (Eph 2:8-9). In the coming kingdom of God, which will be here on earth, John writes of the saints of God who died for their faith through time or those of us still living when Christ returns, that “it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rev 19:8).
Since Jesus has overcome the world, we can’t be troubled about not overcoming every single sin in our life. Martin Luther once said that we are both sinners and saints, and until we are saved to sin no more in the kingdom, we must strive to overcome our sins, but know that He Who overcame the world, can help us overcome our own sins. Not to the point of being sinless of course…but hopefully to the point of sinning, less.