"This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith"
(1 John 5:4).
There lies the noblest victory of the men who believe. To John and to his generation, and to all men who have had the vision of God, the world is the blinding, seducing, terrifying reality. By the world, John does not mean the realm of earth and sea and sky, or the things which God hath made beautiful in their season. He does not mean the world of men and women, with their joys and sorrows, their hopes and fears. That is the world God loves. By the world John meant that merely earthly order and fashion and mode of life, with its hates, greeds, foul habits, and dark mutinies against goodness and truth. It was that pagan world in which he lived, sometimes lovely in its forms of passion, often alluring in its fascination, but always deadly to the purities and simplicities of the soul. It was that world which Demas loved, and for whose indulgences he became a deserter. That world we face when we go down to our businesses, enter into our pleasures, suffer our trials and losses, meet our scornings and our disappointments.
The man who has had his moment of vision, who receives in every hour the energy of God's Holy Spirit, will face its temptations, endure its trials, and he will overcome. We may feel ourselves far from the attainment of this victory. We conquer it in proportion as we believe. We might say, as the great believers have said, to the mountain which seems to hinder the coming of the kingdom of God and to blot out the very light of heaven, "Be thou removed," and it would be removed. All the splendid achievements and all the victory over the wrong, and the tyranny, and the cruelty of the past, however strongly these have been entrenched, have been gained by men of faith. Nothing has been impossible to them. But only One has gotten Him the faultless victory. That One is Jesus, the beginner and the consummator of faith, who endured the Cross, and despised its shame, and is now set down, in the victor's place, at the right hand of God.