“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world”, writes John, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:4). What is faith? That is a fundamental question, and the answer is simple! Or is it? Consider what happened in the first century beginning with just twelve ordinary men. Yes, miracles happened at times, but though these were a spur to faith, think of how many times Jesus said to them, “O you of little faith” (e.g. Matthew 8:26; 14:31; 16:8).

Only later did they develop the faith that spurred them and so many others to be faithful in the face of persecution. This arose because they challenged the pagan Greek and Roman world – which was the God that should be worshipped! The ‘god’ of atheism is ‘worshipped’ today and its adherents cause problems for genuine Bible believers.

To those converted from paganism Paul reminds them “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9,10). These former pagans had reached a conviction about the Creator who sent His Son, a conviction that included the realization that we are nothing, we are like a cloud floating through the sky, dissipating into nothingness unless … Unless we seek a relationship with God!

A well-known verse tells us, “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Today the challenge to our efforts to develop such a faith is the fiction of evolution – the impossible idea that everything by some means made itself! So, we turn from human fiction to the wonder of what happened 2,000 years ago with Jesus and has challenged human minds ever since. It is our faith in that event which enables us to “overcome the world” writes John. It is “our faith” that inspires us on to “victory”.

John stresses a key point. “We know the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ” (verse 20). Real faith inevitably leads us to know God, it results in us having a ‘living’ relationship with Him. Feeding on God’s word every day is an essential part in maintaining and developing that relationship.