By Irvin Himmel
There is no greater challenge before the Christian than overcoming temptation, defeating sin, triumphing over the world, and securing victory over Satan. This is a matter of compelling concern to every member of the body of Christ.
Promises and Incentives
The Lord’s message to the church at Ephesus includes strong incentive in these words: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7). The over- comer is promised free access to the tree of life in the garden of God. In the heavenly paradise there is joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Christ promised the church at Smyrna, “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Rev. 2:11). The second death is punishment in the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev. 21:8). The overcomer is given assurance that he will escape the second death. Overcoming is necessary if one expects to escape the punishment of hell.
The church at Pergamos was told, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17). The overcomer will partake of the hidden manna, the fulness of Christ as the bread of life, and receive recognition as one who is pure and white.
To the church at Thyatira, the Lord said, “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star” (Rev. 2:26-28). The overcomer shares in the rule and dominion of Christ through the victory of the gospel.
In the day of judgment the wicked will be shattered hopelessly, but the faithful will enter a new day through him who is the morning star (Rev. 22:16). Royal splendor and heavenly glory await all who conquer wickedness.
Christ disclosed to the church at Sardis, “He that over- cometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Rev. 3:5). The overcomer’s name will not be erased from the heavenly record. Arrayed in white apparel, the obedient believer will be acknowledged as a child of God. This is a reminder of what the Master said in Matthew 10:32: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.”
To the church at Philadelphia, the Lord’s promise was, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev. 3:12). The overcomer will have permanence as a pillar in the heavenly temple. Inalienable citizenship awaits the conqueror in the celestial city, the new Jerusalem.
The Lord said to the church at Laodicea, ’’To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21). The overcomer will share in the eternal reign of the conquering Christ. Having gained victory over sin, Satan, death, and the grave, Christ was exalted to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. The Christian who fights the good fight of faith and is victorious is assured of an exalted place with his Master and Savior.
What blessings await the overcomer!
The Basis of Victory
Trusting, obedient faith is the key to overcoming the world. John wrote, “For whatsoever is born of God over- cometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4, 5). A study of the examples given in Hebrews 11 should impress one with the power of faith. Worthy men and women of old conquered through faith. They struggled against the seductions of Satan, the power of darkness, fleshly weaknesses, and numerous obstacles, but faith gave them victory. Faith and victory are inseparable.
Jesus warned and consoled the apostles in this meaningful statement: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The apostles needed to realize that the battle to be fought would not be easy. Afflictions and troubles would abound. They would be hated by the world. Notwithstanding the mountains of tribulation, they would climb to triumph by keeping their faith strong. Their Master had shown the way. He had overcome the world. Despite persecution, disappointment, sorrow, and hardship, they could win the battle.
Jesus’ victory over the world is the basis of our being assured of success. Indeed, “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37). The faithful fol- lowers of Christ are guaranteed overwhelming success. To express it as military victories are sometimes described, a “brilliant victory” is certified.
In an age when so many who are baptized into Christ are being overcome by the world, it is urgent that we remind Christians that we must guard our hearts, keep our lives, and preserve our souls. By concentrating on the things which will strengthen our faith in the Son of God we can conquer. Why be overcome by the world when Christ offers us power to be overcomers of the world?
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Rev. 21:7). The child of God as an heir of God takes full possession of all that he is promised in the new habitation. He dwells eternally where there is no death, no sorrow, no crying, and no pain. He drinks freely of the refreshing water of life. He lives in the city with foundations whose builder and maker is God. In this new Jerusalem the loving heavenly Father is his God, and forevermore he is a child of God. The overcomer is home at last.