Who Shall Overcome?
Who Shall Overcome?
By Dave Breese
A song, written many years ago, has become popular in our time. It seemed destined to become the theme song of the civil rights movement in America. Large crowds here and there, members of one race or another, could be seen rocking from side to side and plaintively singing, We Shall Overcome. In those days (and in these days), the word overcome usually meant to be set free. It suggested that large numbers of people were being held in bondage and lived lives of daily and regular oppression. Therefore, the song was sung in a plaintive fashion expressing a fond, but distant hope. Words even were sung We shall overcome someday. It is probably a provable fact that a high percentage of the people of our world even today feel that they are oppressed by something or someone. Consequently, this song still prevails today, and nostalgic people continue to sing, often with a tear, We Shall Overcome.
Who shall overcome? By this we mean, who will finally prevail? Who will come out from under the bondage of these days? Who will be set free? There are still those who attempt to answer these questions with raucous political voices. However, the promisers of freedom have no more hope of delivering on their promises than they did a generation ago. This is because none of the speakers of those times or these times had any authority to promise anybody that they would ultimately overcome. It can generally be said that the civil rights advocates of the past have moved on to other things, with only very few of their promises having been faithfully kept. And the freedom that was presumed to accompany overcoming continues to remain elusive.
But the question prevails, Who shall overcome? Because the only source by which we can answer that question, or any question, is the Word of God, what saith the Scripture. It says Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (I John 5:5). Still the word overcome means to be bigger than, stronger than, more capable than any pressures that the world may bring against us. When the Bible uses that word, it really means it. It gives us the rather remarkable assertion that the person who overcomes the world is one who believes a single poignant doctrinal proposition. That proposition is Jesus is the Son of God. Overcoming then does not grow out of intellectual brilliance, radical activity or clever talents. It comes from believing that central proposition that Jesus is God. The doctrine that Jesus is the Son of God, when believed, therefore becomes the key to everything.
Why is this the case? It is rather easy to explain. Think for just a moment and let us remember that if Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then His Word is ultimate truth. You can depend upon what He says. His promise is valid when He said, heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:35).
Virtually everyone in the world who is not a Christian is walking around in bewilderment in our time asking as did Pilot, What is truth? What can I believe in? Who can I trust? Where does final authority really reside?
A Christian has no such problem. These questions are irrelevant to him because he knows the answer in advance. He knows that he can believe in Christ and that whatever Jesus Christ says is final truth. Therefore, we can confidently assert that one of the greatest commands in Scripture was given to the rulers of the feast by the mother of Christ. Pointing to her son she said, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it!
We could think of no more poignant advice in all of life. 99% of the bewilderment of our time, some of which resides in the hearts of Christians, would be dispelled if everyone would listen carefully to the words of Christ and then proceed to do what He told them. This is the proper attitude for correct living.
So it is that the Bible says, For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3:11). Jesus Christ, the author of all truth, therefore, becomes the only foundation on which life can be built. When we know the author of ultimate truth, we overcome the world.
Secondly, if Jesus Christ is the Son of God, His presence is final reality.
Reality is one of the key words of our day. This is reality says the car maker. This is reality says the brewer. This is reality insists the cultist.
What then is reality? It is not education, it is not amusement, it is not human success, literally it isJesus Christ.
The Bible teaches that when a person knows Christ as his Savior, he is in Christ. One of the common salutations of the New Testament was for Paul or one of the other apostles to greet those in a given city who were in Christ (Eph. 1:3). Christians might have been at Ephesus or at Corinth but this was not their true environ. Rather, they were in Christ.
Nothing makes this more apparent than just a bit of travel across the world. I have been tens of thousands of miles away from my own home (100 yards is enough), but have never been lonely. Why? Because I am in Christalong with all believers. Reality, therefore, is not the smile of someone or the approbation of another. It is to know that Christ is in me and I am in Him. One of the most beautiful expressions in the New Testament describes the Christian: Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Let us also note that if Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then His triumph is inevitable. There is not a shred of doubt in the mind of any right-thinking Christian as to how the final triumph of the battle between good and evil will work out. The answer is quite simple. Satan will finally be defeated and end up in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). Jesus Christ will triumph and we will triumph with Him to the extent of being joint-heirs with Christ (Rev. 19:11-16). We Christians know who will be the ultimate masters of the universe because weve read the final pages of the Bible. Whatever may be the vicissitudes of life that a Christian will face, the end is to step up from this dark world into glory. In fact, being translated to heaven may not be so startling a change because we are here in Christ and there well be also in Christ. That is our ultimate environment and is final reality.
In the face of all this, how sad it is that there are so many willingly ignorant people who stumble around in the gloaming of this world wondering, hoping, fearing, never getting it all together. They think that another million dollars will do it, another diamond, another political triumph, another marriage. How sad that reputedly intelligent human beings could be so incredibly ignorant of reality.
We, therefore, make two recommendations. The individual reading this page is first of all recommended to the Lord Jesus. Having recognized that we are sinners and then believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are given Gods great gift of everlasting life.
Secondly, we recommend to each Christian a life committed to Christ. Then we can be used of God as overcomers in the midst of this pitiful culture of ours. Our world is one vast city of the living dead. Its poor, degenerate, zombie-like citizens can only be given help and hope by learning of Christ and His power to save.
We Christians are already in the process of overcoming the world, being equal to every obstacle. Lets pass on that great open secret to those who need Christ in these days. We, knowing Christ, are overcoming the world. Someday we will get to tell that glad story in heaven.
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