“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
We are surrounded by evil. It plays out every evening in the newscasts and in our morning paper. Evil runs rampant down our streets and through our neighborhoods. Every act of hate and violence has its roots in evil. It is a word we need to use again, because it is a reality in this fallen world. You might want to check out my thoughts on the subject of Evil from a post just a few months ago. So this morning as I came to my devotional time, my heart was heavy with all the evil we have seen in recent months. In this nation and all around the world, evil is everywhere. Who can save us from the presence and power of evil?
The past few weeks I have been doing a personal study of the titles of Jesus in the Bible, and this morning I thought, I need to find a title that reminds me that Jesus is the victor over evil. When I looked at the next title on the list, I thought, this one is perfect for this evil world: Jesus is the Son of God. The Son of God is perfect because it encompasses every facet of Jesus’ character. It expresses the power of Jesus, the holiness of Jesus, the perfection of Jesus, the eternal nature of Jesus, and the sovereignty of Jesus. The Son of God fills our need in this evil world, because the Son of God is also the Overcomer. He declared it to be so saying, “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
As the Son of God, Jesus overcame evil when He resisted Satan’s temptations in the desert. He overcame evil when He stood in the presence of the demons and they had no choice but to acknowledge and obey Him. And above all, He overcame evil by His resurrection from the dead. He shattered evil’s hold on men, declaring that all who believed in Him would be free from its power. Evil could not overcome the Son of God.
Jesus overcame evil by divine power. Paul said, in our key verse, that we can overcome evil by good. Mind you, not by “being good,” for only Jesus is good. You and I can never be good enough to overcome evil. But there is a way, and we find it in the last book of the Bible. Standing in heaven, watching the end unfold, John heard a “loud voice” proclaim: “They overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the world of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). There are only two things that will guarantee our victory over evil and the evil one: the blood of the Lamb, which is salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ and our testimony. But what testimony overcomes evil? John knew. “Who is he that overcomes the world? Only he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5).
Jesus, the Son of God, who overcame the world, is our good testimony. God the Father proclaimed it at Jesus’ baptism, when “a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 4:17); and again at Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). The disciples declared it when they saw Jesus and Peter walking on the water, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33). Peter pronounced it in his confession saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus built His church on that very confession. Even the Roman centurion exclaimed, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” when the ground quaked the moment Jesus died (Matthew 27:54). Paul repeatedly preached that Jesus was the Son of God. The martyrs of the ages past died with the good confession on their lips—“Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
As this world becomes more and more evil, only the good confession of the Son of God will sustain believers. It has for centuries and it will not fail us in this generation. We will be branded as fools. We will be oppressed and persecuted. It will cost you and me our very lives, but we too will overcome by the declaration that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
The world doesn’t need to hear Christians making accusations and pointing fingers. They don’t need to know our thoughts on current affairs or politics or even morals. In fact, the world is sick to death of hearing our opinions, however good they may be. The world needs to hear the Gospel that has been our witness for more than two thousand years: “Jesus Christ is the Son of God!” It is the core truth of the Christian faith. Everything else comes from that good confession.
All evil bows to the divine Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Will you?
Oh, Lord Jesus, You are the Son of God, the Holy One, the only One who can overcome evil. I claim the good confession as my own and I will live—and die—by it. Amen.