Experiencing Victory Over Sin
In 1 John, we hear John say,
“I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.” (1 Jn. 2:13,14)
In this passage, John isn’t exclusively addressing young men, but instead, he used this designation for everyone in that church who had been following Jesus faithfully and had experienced victory over sin and temptation. The truth is that in Christ, we are all to experience victories over sin and temptation. That doesn’t mean we become perfect or live flawless lives. No, it means that we experience the newness of our life in Christ in measurable ways. The Reformation theologian Martin Luther expressed this same truth,
“Christ’s victory … is the overcoming of the law, of sin, our flesh, the world, the devil, death, hell and all evils; and this his victory he has given to us. Although, then, these tyrants and these enemies of ours accuse us and make us afraid, yet they cannot drive us to despair, nor condemn us; for Christ, whom God the Father has raised up from the dead, is our righteousness and victory.”
Our victory is not in ourselves, our work, or our own efforts. Our victory over sin and temptation is rooted in Christ and His victory over death itself in the resurrection. The act of baptism is the act of identifying with Jesus in His death and in His resurrection. Just as Luther noted, for Christ, whom God the Father has raised up from the dead, is our righteousness and victory. In Christ, we are to experience victory. These victories often look like small wins in a battle that we keep fighting. But, the only reason we can have victory at all is because of Jesus and His resurrection.
This week, live as someone who has the hope of the resurrection residing deep in them. Live as someone who has experience victory. And, pause to reflect on the victories Jesus has already given you, no matter how small they might seem. And, give Him an offering of praise. Because victory is for everyone who believes in Jesus. (1 Jn. 5:1)
 Elliot Ritzema, 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation, Pastorum Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013).