This passage continues the theme of spiritual victory that John has been discussing throughout his letter. These verses mean:
- "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world": John reiterates the idea that those who have been born of God (i.e., those who have received new spiritual life by believing in Jesus) have the power to overcome the world. The "world" here refers to the sinful and broken systems of the world that are opposed to God's ways. The concept of "overcoming the world" is a recurring theme in John's letter. The world represents the corrupt, sinful, and godless systems of the world that are opposed to God's ways. John reminds his readers that those who have been born of God are no longer of the world, but have been set apart by their faith in Jesus (John 15:19).
- "And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith": John explains that the victory over the world is achieved through faith in Jesus. This means that the power to overcome the world doesn't come from human effort or strength, but from trusting in Jesus and relying on his power. John describes faith as the victory that overcomes the world. This is because faith in Jesus is what enables believers to receive salvation, forgiveness of sins, and new life. By putting their trust in Jesus, believers are no longer subject to the power of sin and death, but are able to live in the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:2).
- "Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?": John emphasizes that the only way to truly overcome the world is to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. This belief is what sets believers apart from the world and gives them the power to live in victory over sin and darkness. The phrase "Jesus is the Son of God" is a key belief in Christian faith, affirming that Jesus is fully God and fully human. Believing in Jesus as the Son of God is essential to salvation and eternal life (John 3:16). John suggests that overcoming the world is not something that everyone can do. He asks the rhetorical question "Who is it that overcomes the world?" implying that only those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God have the power to overcome the world. This idea is echoed in other passages of the New Testament, such as John 14:6, where Jesus says "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Overall, 1 John 5:4-5 highlights the power of faith in Jesus to overcome the sinful and broken systems of the world. By believing in Jesus as the Son of God, believers are able to receive the victory over sin and death and experience the new life that comes through him.
1 John 5:4-5. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world: your faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?