Here are my top seven Bible verses about overcoming sin.
Revelation 12:11 “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
None of us can ever overcome sin in our own strength. We need the precious blood of the Lamb of God to take away our sins. The context of Revelation 12 is about Satan’s undoing and the “him” in “they have conquered him” refers to the Devil but this conquering is not from our own works or our own effort but it is by the blood of the Lamb but interestingly, John writes that it’s also by the word of their testimony. Does this mean we’re saved by grace and our testimony? No, because it is by grace alone that we’re saved (Eph 2:8-9) but those who are saved should feel compelled to share that same faith that saved them to help save others.
First John 5:5 “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Many Christians have been troubled by the verse in Revelation where Jesus says that “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations” (Rev 2:26). The Apostle John seems to answer the question of “Who is it that overcomes?” The answer is “the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” is the one who overcomes. Our faith is our overcoming but even that is a free gift from God (Eph 2:8-9).
First John 4:4 “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
The Apostle John, the last of the original apostles and now likely the only one living, must have been into his 80’s or 90’s when he wrote this. He spoke to the church as his “little children” and they were because they are the children of God but they are God’s children only because they have overcome them. The “them” are those who have the spirit of antichrist (1st John 4:1-3) or are opposed to anything that has to do with Christ and the gospel message. The enemy and his demons are not “greater than he (God) who is in us.”
John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Here Jesus is trying to reassure the disciples because He’s told them that He going to be arrested, suffer, and die on the cross and then He is going to return to the Father in heaven. The disciples had no peace about this so Jesus “said these things to” them so that they would “have peace” because the world offers only tribulations but Jesus says to them, and to us, “take heart; I have overcome the world.” That means we can overcome the world too by believing in Him. Have you?
Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
This might be different from the rest of these verses about overcoming sin because we are to overcome the evil in our lives with good or overcome the sinner’s evil toward us by doing good to them. That means we don’t ever “pay back evil for evil” (Rom 12:17). Leave judgment to God just as Paul writes “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom 12:19). To overcome evil with good is reminiscent of Jesus saying “love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35). Overcoming evil is as easy as doing good to them that hate you just as Jesus taught, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28).
First John 5:4 “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
The person that’s been born of God or born again (John 3:3-8), has already overcome by their confession of faith after repentance. They are now a new creation in Christ (2nd Cor 5:17) and they know that their victory in overcoming the world was through Christ and Him alone (Acts 4:12) by the free gift of grace (Eph 2:8). We overcome by our faith but that’s because our faith or trust is in Christ but even that faith by which we overcome had to be given to us by God (Eph 2:9).
First John 2:13 “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father.”
The last Bible verse about overcoming sin or the penalty of sin is from the aging, elder, Apostle John as he writes to comfort those who by this time were going through severe persecution. He writes that “you have overcome the evil one” (Satan) so trust God enough to know that even death cannot separate them from the love and being in the presence of the Lord (Rom 8:31-36).
Jesus came as the only way for us to receive eternal life and as He came as the Light of the World (John 8:12) and “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). The truth is that “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2nd Pet 2:19) for if “they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2nd Pet 2:20). The only way to overcome sin is to seek the One Who overcame all sin. By the blood of the Lamb, we can overcome. Remember, Jesus said “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.