John’s Historicistic Epistles

     Second.   It is precisely by their keeping of God's Commandments that all  Christians are to gain the ascendancy over the World.   The man Christ Jesus kept the Commandments of God.   As the Light of the World,5532 He overcame the powers of darkness which could not comprehend or extinguish Him.5533   Similarly, if by God's grace we Christians too will try to keep the Commandments — we also will more and more shine forth like lights in dark places5534 and thus ourselves ultimately overcome the darkness.5535 

     This is why John wrote: "Again, a new Commandment I write to you.   This thing is true in Him and in you — because the darkness is past and now the true Light keeps on shining."5536   For Christ the Sun of righteousness had not only now come into the World at His incarnation.  Perhaps even more remarkably — thereafter He had arisen from the dead with healing in His wings.    

     On that basis, we ourselves, as regenerated children of God, are to rise from the death of sin.   For how could this once-dismal World ever be the same again — after Christ the Sun of righteousness had risen from the dead?   For at that event, the darkness of the World is past. 

     As Calvin comments: "As soon as Christ shines we have the full brightness of understanding.   Not that every believer is as wise from the first day as he ought to be….   Daily progress is necessary.   Every man's faith has its dawn before it gets to noonday.  But since God keeps on with the same teaching in which He bids us advance, the knowledge of the Gospel is justly said to be the true light — where Christ, the Sun of righteousness, keeps on shining." 

     Third.   When Christians keep God's Commandments, they become strong Christians and overcome the World and even the Devil.   "I am writing to you, young men, because…you have overcome the wicked one….   I have written to you, young men, because: you are strong; and the Word of God keeps on abiding in you; and you have overcome the wicked one."5537 

     Notice that the victory is not only repeatedly emphasized here, but also that it is spoken of as being in the past tense.  It is not just that we shall overcome the Devil only when he is ultimately cast into the lake of fire.5538   It is rather that we have overcome him — by keeping God's Commandments on the basis of the alreadyfinished atonement of Christ. 

     As Calvin comments, John here "says that they who were still engaged in fighting — had conquered….   We are conquerors before we encounter the enemy.   For our Head, Christ, has overcome the whole World for us — once and for all." 

     Fourth.   We Christians would accordingly be foolish indeed to love the worldly things with which the defeated Devil amuses his human slaves.   For the World of worldliness has been in the slow process of passing away — ever since our Lord Christ's victory at Calvary where He overcame the World.5539 

     This does not, of course, mean that we should not love the ('un-worldly' and God-created) World-as-such.   For God

so loved the World, that He gave His Only-begotten Son"5540 as "the Saviour of the World"5541 to die "for our sins — and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole World."5542   And if God so loved the World — we too should so love it! 

     What we are to detest, however, are the worldly desires of sinful human nature5543 — as opposed to the legitimate desires of God-fearing and regenerate human nature as such.5544   The latter, of course, abides for ever.5545   Indeed, it will — like our God–created World-as-such5546 — never be destroyed.5547   Yet the sinful fashion of our present World, will perish.5548 

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