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He That Overcomes

By David A. DePra

 (Revelation 21:7)  He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

      “He that overcomes” is a prominent statement in the book of Revelation.  The word itself means “to prevail.”  Thus, it presupposes obstacles TO overcome – for you cannot overcome or prevail unless there is an obstacle there to act upon.

      Jesus’ exhortations to overcome likewise carry a supposition that overcoming is possible.  Jesus would not say, “he that overcomes,” if overcoming was impossible for us to do – or if we had no involvement or choices to make in the process.  So we see that, yes, overcoming is possible.  But we are involved:  HE that overcomes.

      The fact is, a Christian has much to overcome – and will do so if He wants to walk with Jesus Christ.  Not maybe.  It is a fact.  The fact that overcoming is not often preached is a sad state of affairs because it is a fundamental part of God’s plan and purpose for us during this age.


      Our first questions, of course, would be as to WHAT we must overcome, and then HOW.  And, of course, WHY.   But before we get to those questions, we need to examine a few passages about overcoming.  These will help set the stage for the Truth.

      In the book of Revelation, we find a message from Jesus to each of seven churches.  These churches, among other things, stand for believers who are in particular spiritual stages or conditions.  In each of these letters, Jesus speaks of their need to overcome – which shows the importance of overcoming, since “the churches” are His people; His Body.  Overcoming, is, in fact, central to what Jesus says to each of these churches. 

      In everyone of the statements which Jesus makes about overcoming to the churches in Revelation, we see a CONDITIONAL issue at hand.  IF we overcome, such and such results.  IF we don’t overcome, then the thing doesn’t happen, or we don’t receive what is conditionally promised.  This is consistent throughout the seven messages to the seven churches.

 (Revelation 2:7)  To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

 (Revelation 2:11)  He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.

 (Revelation 2:17)  To him that overcomes 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 knows saving he that receives it.

 (Revelation 2:26-29)  And he that overcomes and keeps 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.

 (Revelation 3:5-6)  He that overcomes, 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.

 (Revelation 3:11-13)  Him that overcomes 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.

 (Revelation 3:20-22)  To him that overcomes 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. 

      “To him that overcomes….,” certainly suggests a conditional promise.  And actually, Jesus gives a total of fourteen conditional promises “to him that overcomes” in His messages to these seven churches.

 The tree of life – symbolizing the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Not hurt by second death – life eternal through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Hidden manna – continual spiritual food in our wilderness.  (Jesus Christ)

White Stone – a verdict of acquittal through the death of Jesus Christ.

Power over the nations – authority over all things.

The morning star – authority over the enemy.

White raiment – righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Name in book of life – eternal life.

Jesus will confess our name to the Father – He will know us and we will not be forgotten.

Become a pillar – be strong in the Body of Christ.

Write upon him the name of God – shows we belong to God.

Write upon him name of city of God – shows we are a citizen of heaven.

Write upon him Jesus’ new name – identification with Jesus through His resurrection.

Sit with Jesus on His throne – partake in His authority.

      ALL of these things are promised IF we overcome.  But here things begin to get interesting, for if you notice, some of these things which are promised really speak of basic salvation – such as the tree of life, freedom from the second death, and white raiment.  But isn’t salvation by grace alone?  So how do we explain these things being received as the outcome of OVERCOMING, rather than “by grace through faith?”

 Overcoming by Faith

      Well, before we jump the gun and make faith and overcoming opposites – because they are NOT – let’s dig a little deeper.  The Bible actually tells us HOW we are to overcome.

 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:10-11)

 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:3-5)

       Revelation says HOW the saints overcome the enemy:  First, by the Blood of the Lamb -- which speaks of the finished victory of the Cross.  Second, by the word of their testimony -- which means the life they live IN that finished victory.  Third, because they “loved not their lives unto the death,” that is, they surrendered themselves unconditionally to God.  THAT is how we are to overcome.

      The passage from John simply summarizes all of that in one phrase.  John writes, “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even OUR FAITH.”  Here we begin to see the answer to our question:  FAITH.  Faith is the victory.  By faith we overcome.

      By definition, faith IS the victory.  Faith IS overcoming.  Some of our “overcoming by faith” might not be too profound or deep, but to one degree or another, faith can only emerge if we have overcome.  Overcome what?  Faith emerges only if I have overcome unbelief.

      Get that.  Unbelief.  If I believe God, then by definition, somewhere along the line I have overcome NOT believing God.  Right?  Sure.  In order to believe God, you must refuse to believe that which contradicts Him.  THAT involves, to one degree or another, overcoming.

      It would be different if we started out in this world sinless, and in communion with God.  But we don’t.  We start out IN ADAM, dead in sins.  Thus, we have to overcome that BY FAITH, and come out in victory – through Christ.

      This tells us why Jesus can promise the tree of life, which speaks of salvation, IF we overcome.  At some point, if you have surrendered your life to Christ, you overcame the unbelief that would pull you in another direction.  I mean, at some point, you chose to believe and were saved.  That required, not only that you “come to Jesus,” but also that you “come out of” the world.

      We are here speaking of the salvation experience.  A very basic, simplistic thing.  If you are saved, you got that way by coming to Jesus by faith, and then giving your life to Him.  But in order to do that, you “came out” of your old life.  That involved a certain amount of choosing to overcome unbelief and fear.

      Note that your “overcoming” did not EARN you salvation.  No.  Neither did God leave you to fend for yourself in finding Jesus.  No.  God drew you to Christ.  And He gave you enough grace to make it possible for you to know to choose, and for you to make that choice.  But at some point, YOU HAD TO CHOOSE.  You had to.  Thus, by definition, when you chose Christ, you were forsaking your former life, and overcoming by faith all that would pull you back there.

      Surrender by faith to Christ is never “earning” anything.  It is not merit.  It is not, “contributing to your own salvation,” or claiming that you have something about which to boast.  In fact, true faith is the result of seeing I have nothing to contribute to my salvation.  It is the result of seeing that I have no merit. 

      This is why Paul is able to say, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. “ (Romans 3:27)  Paul knew that if I am truly giving my life to Christ by faith, it carries no attitude of boasting about my faith.  Faith ITSELF excludes that boasting.  This tells us that REAL FAITH must carry an attitude of dependence and surrender.  I have real faith when I see I have nothing over which to boast.

      With real faith, there is no such thing as “giving God permission to save me.”  There is only surrender by faith in what Jesus has done.  Real faith EXCLUDES boasting.  Thus, one could hardly boast about having real faith!

      There are those today who teach that we cannot believe to be saved.  Rather, they teach that we are first saved, and then believe because of it.  This is the doctrine of unconditional election.  They wrongly reason that if we could believe, then we would have merit to present to God.  But read Romans 3:27 again.  Can we deny that we must believe?  But that it is NOT grounds for boasting?  The Truth is, real faith is essential and my responsibility – once God reveals the Truth to me.  But real faith nevertheless carries NO SENSE of merit at all.  Again –real faith EXCLUDES boasting.  Yet I must have real faith!  Paul would never write the caution of Romans 3:27 unless he knew WE must believe. 

      We need to understand the real nature of faith.  Biblical faith is not intellectual assent.  Real biblical faith is UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER.  There isn’t any other kind!  I surrender to God because I see I am a dead sinner without hope, and Jesus is my only Savior.  There is no more merit in this than there is if I get into a life boat lest I drown.  It is all Jesus, and none of us.  All of grace.  But we must believe.  It is the ONE THING we can do and must do. 

      But it is precisely because there is a choice involved that there is a certain level of OVERCOMING involved with any point of faith.  To give my life to Christ I have to repent of, and forsake, self-ownership.  I have to relinquish my right to my own life, and unconditionally surrender it to Him.  The choice, by the time I make it, need not be difficult or agonizing.  It may be joyous, and ought to be.  But the choice to surrender to Christ by faith is a forsaking of the old life and the overcoming of all obstacles that would keep me from Him.  That’s why Jesus is able to say, “He that overcomes will I give the tree of life.”

      The Truth is, I can only overcome because Jesus has already won the victory.  My faith is therefore not ME winning a victory, or ME accomplishing anything.  My faith is simply a matter of me surrendering myself to His victory.

 Two Trees

      In the beginning, God planted TWO trees in the garden – along with many others which did not have the same significance.  The forbidden tree was there, as was the tree of life.  God told Adam to eat of the tree of life, but to stay away from the forbidden tree.  Nothing could have been stated more clearly.

      Have you ever asked, “Why two trees?”  I mean, why not just ONE?  Why did God make it possible for Adam to sin by planting the forbidden tree?

      God had to make it possible for Adam to sin.  Why?  Because unless sin is possible, righteousness is worthless.  Had God made it impossible for Adam to reject Him, Adam’s love for Him would have been the compulsive reaction of a robot.

      You cannot think of a single moral choice you make which doesn’t equal the choice which was before Adam.  Not only do you choose to eat of one of the two trees, but by definition, you are choosing NOT to eat of the other.  Choosing right always carries with it a rejection of wrong, and choosing wrong always carries with it a rejection of right.  Or, as we have seen, to have faith in God always carries a rejection of unbelief.

      But why not plant only ONE tree?  Why would that do away with choice?  I mean, if there were only ONE tree, you could, I suppose, choose to eat of it -- or not eat of it.  Isn’t that a choice, too?

      Herein there is a deep Truth.  By planting two trees, God is showing us that there is NO middle ground.  God’s universe does not morally consist of “good” and “absence of good”  -- of merely eating or not eating.   No!  Something is either good or bad.   Period.  And like it or not, you and I are going to eat one or the other.  We MUST.  Man MUST choose – it is the way we are made.  We are moral creatures.  We are not built to be able to stand on morally neutral ground – any more than we can decide never to eat food again.  This is impossible.  In the final analysis, you are either going to eat of one of the trees or the other.  You are either going to belong to God, or belong to yourself.

       Again we see our principle of overcoming.  By eating of the tree of life, I overcome all the suggestions of eating of the forbidden tree.  Even with regard to salvation.  To believe and trust in Christ, I have chosen NOT to eat of the forbidden tree of sin, unbelief, and self-rule.  I have chosen willingly, and knowingly, and deliberately. 

Submit to God

      We have so far seen HOW to overcome:  By faith.  But let’s get a bit more practical.  How do we do THAT?  Well, if faith is surrender to God, then practically, we overcome in any trial or circumstance by submitting and surrendering to God.

      Now notice this important point:  The fundamental key here is NEVER to turn and fight the enemy.  No!  The enemy is already defeated.  The key here is to turn and surrender to God.  Then, and only then, are we IN His victory over the enemy!

      Submission and surrender to God is the key to overcoming.  You and I will never overcome any other way.  We have nothing of ourselves.

      But what IS submission to God?  It is an act of faith wherein I say, “Whatever it takes, Lord.”  I UNCONDITIONALLY hand myself over to God without any strings attached, or hidden agenda.  And I keep doing it for however long it takes to get through the situation.  And of course, if there is obedience involved of an outward fashion, I need to do that as well – and will want to if I truly believe and trust God.   If I will endure in such a faith, I will see God’s victory over the thing.  This is assured.

      Peter writes this very key to victory in his first epistle:

 God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.  To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.   (1 Peter 5:5-11)

      If we read this passage and simply take it as it is, we glean quite a few Truths from it.  First, it does NOT say that God’s grace “makes” us humble.  No.  It doesn’t say this anymore than it says that when God resists a person it makes him proud.  Read the passage.  The person is the one who is making the choice to be proud or humble.  God then responds.

      Peter is not being complicated here.  He is making a very simple and elementary statement.  He is saying that we are capable of choosing to either submit ourselves under God’s hand by faith, or of resisting God.  We do not have to know all of the theological doctrines, or understand much about what is going on – indeed, it is usually a fact that we DON’T understand much.  Rather, this is a simple choice.  We can either turn our hearts towards God, or we can choose to harden them.  If you are a free will human being, you have that capability – once God brings the light and shows us where His hand is.

      We must get this.  The issue here is NOT understanding!  The ONLY THING necessary for us to understand at all is that we must “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” – and if that is ALL we understand, we have enough to believe.  Any other understanding we need will come, for it is “by faith we understand.”  It is never the other way around.

      “To humble myself under the mighty hand of God” means to fall into His hand unconditionally – the word “under” denoting submission to His care.  In effect, I no longer belong to myself.  I belong to Him.

       God says that if I will do this, by default I am doing some other things.  First, by submitting to God, in “steadfastness of faith,” I am resisting the Devil.  Here we see that just as the key to overcoming is submission to God, so is the key to resisting the Devil.  I cannot resist the Devil by continually focusing upon, and fighting the Devil.  No – although as we have seen, if I am to submit to God, there may be times when I have to deliberately choose to resist the Devil’s attacks.  But the Devil is already defeated -- IN CHRIST.  Thus, by submitting to God, I AM resisting the Devil by faith.  Victory over him – overcoming him – is certain.

      Peter goes on in the passage to show that there is nothing about any of these kind of experiences which is outside of God’s control.  Note his almost casual way of saying that  “the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”  And that “after that you have suffered awhile, God will make you perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”  We see in this that God has total control in all of our sufferings.  He could end it anytime He wants.  But instead, He wants us to overcome by turning to Him.  And He will allow our suffering to continue in order to accomplish this victory.

      God has given us the victory.  But He wants us to experience it, and live it out.  Only then will we grow.

      We might liken this to belonging to a gym.  If I am given a free membership to a gym, at that point I have the right to go there and lift the weights in the gym.  All of that is free.  It is mine by virtue of a free gift.  But despite the fact that I can rejoice in the free gift, does this alone make me ABLE to lift the weights?  Does it alone make me strong?  Nope.  In order for the gift to do me much good, I have to actually go to the gym and lift the weights and become strong – really and truly and practically. 

     Just as you get physically strong by progressively lifting heavier weights, so you must face and endure spiritual weight to grow spiritually.  There is simply no other way. 

 The Victory

      By faith we overcome and enter into the victory of Jesus Christ.  But victory over WHAT?  What IS this all about – and unto what end?  By faith we enter into the victory of Jesus over the enemy, the flesh, death, and all that would keep us from experiencing the fullness of God.

      Get that:  The goal here is to come out of this old creation – in a real and livable way – and come into the freedom of Jesus Christ.  God has much Truth and freedom from us.  He wants us to experience eternal life NOW.  Yes, we have the fullness later.  But we can start NOW.

      If you want to know what we get victory over through Christ, simply find out what Jesus got victory over.  Jesus won the victory over all that would oppose God’s will.  Especially as it pertains to humanity.  Consequently, as we overcome and walk with Christ, we are to experience His victory over all that would hinder, oppose, or blunt God’s highest will for us in our lives.

      Paul talked about some things over which, in Christ, we are “more than conquerors:”

 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   (Romans 8:35-39)

      The mistake here would be to think in terms of what these things can do to us physically.  That’s a mistake because the fact is, Christians ARE martyred.  Christians have, and do, experience some of the things above – and they don’t go away just because we stand by faith in the victory of Christ.  Paul is, in fact, telling us that all of the things mentioned above are going to be in our lives to one degree or another.  Otherwise, why even mention them as things over which we are “more than conquerors?”  You cannot be that over anything which God has promised will never be in your life.

      No.  All of the things Paul mentions are possible in the life of a Christian.  The question is not whether we have such a victory that we are able to physically escape them or keep them from happening.  Rather, the question is:  Are these things able to destroy our faith?  Are they able to overcome US? 

      The fundamental question here is not whether we can GET OUT of trials.  It is not whether we can overcome the outward circumstances of the trial.  No.  It is whether we can overcome – by faith -- the unbelief and everything else which the trial seeks to do in us.  Will we, despite still being IN the trial, believe and rest in Christ?  If we will stand by faith, while still in the trial, we have overcome the trial.  We are then more than a conqueror through Christ – despite our circumstances being the same as before.

      Can we see that the issue here is whether WE…WE…WE…will allow a trial to separate us from God?  WE alone decide that.  To overcome means that despite the fact that the trial is still there, and still causing all kinds of terrible reactions in me, that I COME OVER the trial by faith to Christ, and refuse to allow that trial to come between myself and God.  The need here is faith – a faith which will refuse the voice of unbelief through the trial.

      The term, “a trial of faith,” says it all.  If faith is trust, reliance, and surrender to God, then a “trial” of faith will consist of that which contradicts our faith.  It will consist of circumstances, reactions in us, emotions, fears, and false perceptions, which tell us that we are crazy, silly, or even hopelessly trusting in God.  That “tries” faith, doesn’t it?  What do we think a trial of faith is going to do, make it easy for us to believe?

      Have you ever been in a situation where everything you know, see, feel, and can possibly perceive, tells you that God has forsaken you?  You have NO proof, and little understanding.  Yet you must still believe.  How?  By overcoming all of those terrible obstacles through faith.  By unconditionally surrendering to God – even if you cannot see where He is or what He is doing.

      For those who will take this step of faith, and keep taking it, there will come an overcoming and a victory over all those things which were trying to keep him from God – over all of those forces within his flesh, and of the enemy, which sought to destroy his faith.  Such a person will enter into the victory of Christ in a way that could not be accomplished otherwise.

      It is one thing to know we have been given all victory.  It is good to believe and rest in that.  But then there comes a time when you have to live it.  ONLY THEN does the victory become articulate and dynamic.  Only then do YOU change.

      Can we see that what God wants is to make us living examples and instruments of His finished victory.  The victory is not merely something we exercise “out here.”  The victory is in us.  We have begun to experience the finished victory of Jesus Christ when He has practical victory over us and in us. 

 Victory Over US

      For God to get a victory through us, but not over us, would be shallow, if not impossible.  In the final analysis, God wants US.  He want us to overcome, through Christ, all that is IN US which is contrary to His purposes.

      The beginning of such an overcoming is salvation.  The BEGINNING.  Once we are saved, we have the equipment.  Now, we must “work out our salvation” by taking possession of what God has purchased through the Blood of Christ. 

      There are two examples in the Old Testament, among many, which illustrate the point.  The first is Job.  Job had a great trial of his faith.  He cried, argued, and tried to understand HOW God could allow such a terrible thing to happen to him.  Job had no idea how he got into this mess, and no idea how to get out.  And God refused to speak a word to him.

      Then, one day, God did speak to Job.  In response, Job answered the LORD, and said,

 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye sees thee.  Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.   (Job 42:1-6)

      Job had believed many things about God – TRUE things.  But then everything he believed was tested to the limit.  But Job never gave in to unbelief – despite all of his human reactions.  We know this because, “The LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. “  (Job 42:7)  Through it all, Job spoke rightly of God. 

      The result of Job’s faith was that he OVERCAME all of his doubts to where he was actually able to see GOD HIMSELF.  Read again his words:  “I heard of thee….but now my eyes see You.”  The result was that Job fully surrendered himself into the hands of God. 

      Now note:  Job did all of this while still IN the trial.  God had not lifted the trial one bit, and had not even explained to Job the reason for the trial.  All of Job’s circumstances were exactly the same as before – BUT – Job was not the same as before.  Job had overcome the trial and gotten through to God.  He had not allowed what happened to him to separate him from God.

      God finally did end Job’s trial.  But notice WHEN:

 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.  (Job 42:10)

     What we see here is NOT Job finally figuring out what God wanted him to do.  Neither did God command Job to pray.   No.  Despite the fact that Job was still in the trial, he prayed for his friends.  This shows that Job had so surrendered to God that he was now able to LEAVE HIMSELF ALONE in the hands of God.  His faith, rather than be diminished, was greater than ever.  Why?  Because Job saw God.

      Compare these few verses in chapter 42 to the rest of the book of Job.   What a change!  But not in Job’s circumstances.  What a change in JOB!  That is the whole point.  There was an overcoming here which resulted in authority over a trial – a trial which almost got the best of Job.  Job had a victory over this trial because God got the victory over Job!

      Notice that none of this overcoming or victory is a matter of Job mustering the strength necessary.  There is nothing here to which Job can point to as merit.  No.  Job overcomes the trial because he surrenders to God.  That is the ONLY reason.  The victory and the glory all goes to God. 

      The second example is David.  David had been given a city named Ziklag, and in it he and his men had kept all of their possessions and all of their loved ones.  But while David and his men were one day out, Ziklag was taken by the enemy.

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;  And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.  So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.  Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.   (1 Samuel 30:1-4)

      How easy it would have been to have blamed God for this.  The next verse is quite profound, for it captures the humanity of those who trust the Lord, but who are human enough to feel the trials of life.

 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.  (1 Samuel 30:6)

      We see in this one verse David overcoming everything which would have told him God was unfaithful, and choosing to believe and trust God.  And it is under the power of this faith that David is able to recover ALL.

      Now notice:  Unless David had faced this terrible trial to his faith, but nevertheless “encouraged himself in the Lord,” he would have never grown in faith.  Because David had to go through this terrible ordeal, and did so by faith, God had a place of victory in David that He would not have had otherwise.  The victory here was first IN DAVID.  David overcame unbelief, and was therefore able to operate from that victory in recovering all.

      God wants us to be able to operate and function OVER those things which might otherwise keep us from freedom.  He wants us to be unmoved by that which might separate us from Himself.  THAT is overcoming.  THAT is authority.  But it is not “out here” in circumstances.  It is “in here,” inside of us, through faith.

 The Battle Within

     Even a slave is free if he belongs to Jesus Christ.  Through this life, we are not only going to find ourselves in trials, but we are going to find that those trials produce many ugly reactions in US.  It is there that the battle is won or lost.  I must choose to either be a slave to these reactions, or overcome them through Jesus Christ.

      Trials tend to gender fear, condemnation, depression, anger, confusion, and despair.  These things can be REAL – and dangerous.  They can consume us if we allow ourselves to come under them.  But the point is, we are supposed – not to come under them – but overcome them by faith. 

      If we overcome these things by faith, can we see that this spells FREEDOM from them, and VICTORY over them?  Victory over these things cannot be accomplished unless we face these things.  God wants a lived and practical victory, not merely one which is one paper.

      Paul speaks of these struggles as if they are a normal part of our Christian walk:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.  (2 Cor 10:3-5)

      According to Paul, the warfare, and the weapons are not fleshly or physical.  They are spiritual.  Things such as “imaginations and every high thing which exalts itself against the knowledge of God” are INTERNAL issues.  It is there that the battle is waged, and the victory is won.  The outward simply reflects the results.

      In the above passage, we see that we must, by faith, actually REFUSE certain thoughts, and “cast down” certain imaginations.  Why?  Because they are LIES.  Because they are doing damage to us.  We must “bring into captivity” our thinking.  This all speaks of making the choice to put our faith into our thinking.  In effect, if we believe, at some point we have to live it.  It all starts in the inward man.

      Of course, if we do this, we will find that our faith was correct – God is faithful and true.  And all of those other things are lies.  But we will never experience victory if all we do is say we believe it, but do nothing to act on our faith.  Faith always produces works – even if those works are expressed in nothing more than in our thinking, or in the emotions we allow to parade through us.

 The Three-Fold Means

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:10-11)

       This passage, quoted earlier, gives us a three-fold progression on how to overcome.  The first is “by the Blood of the Lamb.”  Unless we are sure that the victory is already WON, we will not be able to stand in it.  The Blood of Jesus secured all victory for all time.  It is finished.

      What this means is that you and I need not try to win a victory.  We are to stand in His finished victory.  Now, there will be a battle and a struggle.  But NOT to win!  Rather, the struggle will be to stand by faith.

      All spiritual warfare boils down to faith.  The victory is won.  But will I believe or not believe? That is the battle.  That is why FAITH is the victory.  If I believe and stand, I have the victory and have overcome, because I am standing in Christ, and the victory is His.

      The second means of overcoming is by “the word of testimony.”  This is not possible without the faith in the Blood of the Lamb.  The word of testimony is my living out the fact that I stand by faith in what Christ has done.  This “living out” would entail everything we have discussed about refusing to allow unbelief, fear, condemnation, etc., to destroy my faith.  If I believe, I will stand in faith.  I will overcome – THAT will be my testimony.

      The third means was that those who overcome “did not love their lives even unto death.”  The only possible way this could be is if those lives are unconditionally surrendered to God.  In other words, as Job did, we leave ourselves in the hands of God and get on with life – hip deep in trials if necessary.  Job’s earlier statement, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him,” says it all.

      Are we willing to surrender all to God – without guarantees, without agendas, and without understanding?  Are we willing to trust God when everything seems to contradict our faith and understanding of His faithfulness?  Will we obey God and refuse to allow those things that lie about Him to have their way with us?  All of these things call from us FAITH.  But if we will believe and stand by faith, there will be a victory over all of these things – and a freedom from them in our walk with Jesus Christ.

      Jesus Christ won the victory over all of these things at the Cross.  He now beckons to us that we might come and enter into His victory and experience it for real.  We do this by overcoming.  What we get in return is exactly what we would think would happen if we overcome:  Authority over the things we overcame.

To him that overcomes 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….He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  (Rev. 3:20-22, 21:7) *

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