Overcoming This Post Modern World
By Robert Wurtz II
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1 KJV)
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)
Notice our passage states clearly that the world does not ‘know’ the sons of God just like it did not know the Son of God. Why? Because the world is moving in a totally different paradigm than God. It cannot relate to Jesus Christ and if we are of Him it will not be able to relate to us. The ways of the sons of God are foolishness to this present evil world. They are totally incompatible. Keep this in mind as we progress in our thoughts.
The first revelation we have concerning God’s will for man is when He stated, “…let us make man in our image and in our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26b Latin Imago Dei) God’s will is that man would be like Him; not in His deity, but in His personality. From the beginning in Genesis to the end in Revelation, God never changes course in setting about to fulfill this desire. For it is said that in Him there is no shadow of turning. (James 1:17) He has determined to make man in His image and He will do it. Another way of stating these things is simply to say that God desires sons.
This is the pattern He has always demonstrated as we read of in Job, one of the oldest books in the Bible, when the sons of God are mentioned. Though they are a higher form of creation, God asked Job in the 38th chapter where he was, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? These creations of God are the same sons that came to present themselves to God and Satan came along with them in Job 1:6 and 2:1. These sons are what we know as varying orders of the elect angels. Nonetheless, the sons of God (elect angels) are by choice after the very nature and character of God. They long to do God’s will. Such is their level of obedience to God and willingness to please Him that Jesus prayed that the will of God would be carried out on earth as it is in Heaven. That is a staggering thought. How is the will of God carried out in Heaven? Instantly; like a flash of lightening (Ezekiel 1:14). On the other hand, Satan and his angels rebelled against God and are by choice the antithesis of God. They obey God I suggest, but not willingly. Instead of doing the Father’s will willingly at the speed of lightening, He desired to set his throne above the stars of God and was as lightening falling from Heaven. (Luke 10:18) Satan’s is the spirit (diabolic pneuma) that now works in the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:1ff)**
He that overcomes
In Revelation 21:7 we have this promise; He that overcomethshall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. This is what God purposed before the world began; He wanted sons. Male and female are in view. In 2 Corinthians we read; Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:17, 18) This is true enough, but the ‘sons’ motif dominates the New Testament revelation. Perhaps this is because in eternity we will live in our glorified bodies as the angels and will neither marry or be given in marriage. Our reproductive faculties will be no more. So there is a sense in which, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28); but we must still observe our place as male and female until our change comes. I am a male, but I am part of the Bride of Christ. That would seem to be a contradiction, but not from the view God is revealing. In like fashion females that are born again in Christ are also the sons of God.
After His Kind
God wanted to reproduce Himself after His own kind; again, not in deity, but in personality. Jesus expressed this reality when He confronted the religious leaders of His time; “Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘You are gods” ’? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:34-36 NKJV) The priests in the Old Testament were representatives of God and were expected to be right representations of His person. This is why they are called ‘gods’; not that they were little idols or deities; but because they were called to reflect the personality of God. Jesus Christ the Son of God was an exact representation of His person as He is the Son of God. (Hebrews 1:3) He said in one place, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9) This is very important. God wanted Israel and her leaders to be a reflection of Himself. They failed miserably in fulfilling this destiny. We will need to examine some of the reasons for this later in this series. Jesus Christ, who was the express image of the person of God, asserts Himself in John 10:34-36 as being the exact representation of what God desires; sons. He wants sons that will love Him and obey Him under all circumstances and against all odds. He wants sons that could exist in the world, with Satan as its head, without loving it or the things that are in it; but rather will overcome it. He wants sons that love Him more than life itself. To be a disciple of Christ (the Son of God) is to set ones self on a course to be one of the sons of God that God desires. This is why Jesus gives a list of things that if they are true one cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:26-33, etc.).
The Son and sons.
Indeed, Jesus Christ is the uniquely begotten Son of God (upper case ‘S’), and as the Son He overcame the world; but God desires many more sons that share His personality and character- that He might enjoy with them the fellowship of love. They will also overcome the world. He wanted fellowship with creatures with whom He could walk together in agreement. (Amos 3:3) Not automatons (preprogrammed robots), but free moral agents. This is a great mystery. We have additional insight in regards to God’s desire for sons in Hebrews 2:10; For it was fitting for Him, for whom [are] all things and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Notice the purpose of the creation and its subsequent redemption is in “bringing many sons to glory.” This is what God is doing. He wants sons and He will have them.
The Master Potter
And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. (Genesis 2;7, 8 NKJV)
Our Hebrew word for formed is yatsar and it is translated some 17 times in the Old Testament as ‘potter’. God formed Adam (male) from the dust as would a potter form the clay into His image (1 Cor. 11:7). Needless to say it was a light thing for God to form dust; for He had given it no free choice. The inward part of man; His character and disposition would not be so easy. God sets before a person a proposition that essentially asks, “will you be my son?” This is effectively what Adam was intended to be. Since there can be no virtue without testing, the Serpent was allowed in to the Garden to try the faith of both Adam and Eve. As we know, Adam followed the direction of the Serpent (Satan) and rebelled against God after his wife was deceived. He became at that moment in time a child of the Devil (Satan) and the lusts of his father he and the whole human race would be bent towards doing.
We have a partial description of Satan’s personality manifest in man in John 8:44; Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. This is why all human beings must be born again. (John 3:3) How can one overcome a world that they love and feel at home in it? The unregenerate walk together with the world in agreement. (Amos 3:3) The image of God was marred in the Garden and from that time man has fallen short of the glory of God. They have a carnal mind at enmity with God. God banished Adam from from the Garden and set up Cheribim with flaming swords signifying that the way back into God’s presence was blocked. It is useful to point out here that this picture is taken up later in the Wilderness Tabernacle where the Cherubim were embroidered into the Vail. Hebrews comments on this, Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. (Hebrews 9: 6-8) Without the inward dwelling presence of God it is impossible to walk out the nature of Christ or overcome the world. This is an essential truth.
God still on task
Yet, God did not give up when Adam fell and he was thrust from the Garden. He eventually called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees to begin a process of making sons out of fallen man in a fallen world. He gave birth to Isaac and then Isaac gave birth to Jacob and then Jacob the 12 Tribes of Israel. These went down into Egypt for 400 years to be in bondage under Pharaoh. This was a figure of this present evil world (Egypt) with its evil head (Satan). Notice how God refers to Israel; And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. (Exodus 4:22, 23) The process would be simple; if the children of Israel believed, obeyed, and loved God they would be His unique possession: His sons (‘son’) upon the face of the earth. Yet after hundreds of years of rebellion we hear the lamentation of the prophet; Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. (Hosea 1:9) “The third child, a son, was named Lo-Ammi, which means not My people. In the ancient covenant formula God declared, “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people” (Lev. 26:12; cf. Ex. 6:7; Deut. 26:17-18). But now that relationship was to be severed. The last clause of Hosea 1:9 (I am not your God) is literally, “and I [am] not I AM (אֶהְיֶה) to you.” (BK Commentary)
Although Israel had failed, these events set the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ who would set back in order God’s design for man to be made sons of God. He will open the possibility of regeneration through the born again experience (John 3:3). These will go on from glory to glory being fashioned into His likeness. We will need to believe and obey God. Disbelieve God and the whole process stops. As John reveals to us; For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)
** . H.A Meyer observes, ‘This is the spirit that mankind has. This spirit is the diabolic pneuma, that is, the spirit proceeding forth from the Devil, under whose power the world lies, and whose sphere of action it is (2 Cor. 4:4, Eph. 2:2, 6:11f)