Today, the reality tests of endurance are very popular. They are set up with obstacles of various types that the contestants must overcome. My daughter and some of her friends ran the Spartan Race this summer and overcame. They are shown in this picture with their I FINISHED metals. The mud on their faces, tell of some of the obstacles they overcame. How fast they went was not the issue, all they had to do was finish the race. They were even allowed to help one another over obstacles.
That is very like our lives as Christians. We are running a race that has been set before us (Hebrews 12:1). Each of us have obstacles in our lives that we must overcome. The difference is, that we live by the power GOD.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, But Christ lives in me. The life I now live in this body, I live by faith in the Son of GOD, who loved me and gave HIMSELF for me. I do not nullify (set aside) the grace of GOD, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing… are you so foolish? Having begun in the SPIRIT are you now being perfected by the flesh (human effort) (Galatians 2:20,21 3:3)?
To overcome in our culture means to get past, to conquer, to prevail over, or surmount an obstacle by our own efforts. But that is not the Biblical definition for Christians.
For everyone born of GOD overcomes the world, and this is the victory (noun form of word overcome) that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that JESUS is the Son of GOD (I John 5:4,5).
This clearly states, that those ‘good guys’, that do those wonderful works, but don’t believe in JESUS, aren’t overcomers. They cannot please GOD because, for without faith it is impossible to please GOD (Hebrews 11:6). Unbelievers cannot do the work of GOD, for the work of GOD is to believe in the ONE HE has sent (John 6:29).
It is not by strength that one overcomes (prevails) (I Samuel 2:9 last clause) For it is not by might, nor power but by MY SPIRIT says the LORD (Zachariah 4:6).
How does one get born of GOD, so that he becomes an overcomer? (see John 1:12,13 3:1-18,36) It is simple, believe on the LORD JESUS CHRIST and you will be saved (overcome the accusations of the devil) (Acts 16:31).
Like the righteousness of GOD (Romans 3:20-22), overcoming is a given, not according to works, but only for those who believe in the saving work of JESUS. For faith produces action (James 2:20).
The Bible explains how we overcome.
And they overcame him (the accuser of the brethren) by the blood of the lamb (JESUS paid the price) and because the word of their testimony (telling what JESUS did for them) and they did not love their life even in death (Revelation 12:11).
When we believe in the saving work of JESUS, we are washed clean from sin by the blood of the lamb (Ephesians 1:7 Colossians 1:12-14, 20-22 Hebrews 9:22 I Peter 1:18, 19). When we tell others what JESUS did for us, it defeats the devil. For the devil’s perspective and greatest selling point is me, me, me. For me, by me, and to me is his motto, that has beguiled the world. The whole world lies in the arms of this philosophy (I John 5:19 I John 2:15, 16).
(Jesus said) in ME you have peace. In the world, you have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
The Word (JESUS) became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14)
The Word of GOD lives in you and you have overcome the evil one. (I John 2:12:14)
We were placed in CHRIST when we believed. We now have peace with GOD. In CHRIST, we have overcome.
The same word overcome is used when speaking of judgment. YOU will overcome (prevail) when YOU judge. Hmmm… who is HE overcoming when HE judges?
HE is overcoming the accuser of the brethren… the devil (Revelation 12:10).
Because JESUS overcame, we who believe in HIM also overcome.
But, you might wonder, if overcoming is as natural result of believing in and confessing CHRIST JESUS (Romans 10:9,10), as GOD’s righteousness becoming ours when we believed (Romans 3:20-22) then why does JESUS say to each of the churches, he who overcomes will receive?
To him that overcomes I will give the right to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of GOD (Revelation 2:7).
He that overcomes will not be hurt by the 2nd death (Revelation 2:11).
He that overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written on it… (Revelations 2:17).
He that overcomes will, like them be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before MY FATHER and HIS angels (Revelation 3:5).
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of MY GOD. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of MY GOD and the name of the city of MY GOD, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from MY GOD and I will also write on him MY new name (Revelation 3:12).
He who overcomes I will give the right to sit with ME on MY throne, just as I overcame and sat down with MY FATHER on HIS throne (Revelation 3:21).
He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his GOD and he will be MY son (Revelation 21:7).
To him who overcomes and keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations. (Revelation 2:26).
SELAH.. stop and think about this one-NOTE: this one is conditional. Only those keeping the 2nd part –to keep JESUS’ works will obtain this reward.
If one doesn’t do things GOD’s way, he will face the consequence, of loss of rewards, and therefore not have authority during the 1,000 year reign. this particular verse speaks to consequences of believers sinning or not heeding instructions of GOD. When a believer does this they must either confess (I John 1:9) which puts them back on track, or GOD HIMSELF will bring chastisement on that one while he is on the earth during his human lifespan, so that HE will not have to condemn the believer with the world (See I Corinthians 11:31,32.)
I think the answer to the question of why JESUS addresses the churches in this manner, is best seen in reviewing the words of JESUS HIMSELF. A parable is telling a truth via analogy, or relating a principle using physical illustrations. In the parable of the tares, JESUS said that the good man (JESUS- speaking to hearts Romans 10:17) sowed good seed, which are the sons of the Kingdom, true believers… but the enemy followed under the cover of darkness (deception) came and sowed tares – sons of the evil one. But the workers (angels) were told not to pull out the tares (unbelievers) until the harvest, lest some of the wheat (true believers) be uprooted. Which indicates that believers can’t tell if another is a true believer or not. Only the harvesters- which are the angels, can tell for sure the difference (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43).
But we can and are even warned to beware of false teachers. It is through a teacher’s actions, that we can know whether they are to be listened to and followed. If his actions are not right, you cannot trust his teaching (Matthew 7:15-23).
From this we learn that every church has unbelievers mixed with true believers. I think JESUS was addressing this condition when HE spoke to the churches. HE was addressing errors in each church. I feel that HE spoke in this manner to encourage them to do right and to warn them not to believe something, just because one of their group said it. We must be careful to check everything with the word of GOD. It is the standard we must go by.
Do you believe in JESUS, the Son of the Living GOD? Does the blood of the new covenant cover you? Are you washed in the blood of the lamb? If so, you are an overcomer!
So run the race that is set before you… looking unto JESUS the Author and Perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:1,2).
Looking unto JESUS the Author and Perfecter of my faith,