To him that overcometh..
To him who overcomes..
To the one who conquers..
To him who is overcoming..
This is the message of the seven letters from Christ to the Christian Church. It resounds like a giant foghorn throughout these vital messages to the believer. In Young’s Literal translation, it’s a present continuous: to him who is overcoming. The process of overcoming throughout this life is being addressed in these words. The very metric rhythm and intense repetition fills the heart with expectation. To him that overcometh.. To him who overcomes.. To him who is overcoming..
These were Christ’s last words and final inspired instructions to believers. And the warning pleading resounded with equal intensity throughout all 7 letters: “he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” Here are the final instructions of Christ to the Church – given through the apostle John... instructions that build on a foundation that first flowed through the pen of Paul. Here are the words of wisdom – pearls of great price that are strewn in our path.
Should we not all, with firm resolve and equal intensity, pursue these commands? Should we not, with unyielding determination, seek to apply these vital distinctives? So why are these instructions so easily dismissed and so quickly shelved? I suggest that the few realise eternal significance of these essential epistles.
It seems that most believers stop their pursuit of salvation when they are saved. Truly salvation is the liberation from sin and the loosing from bondage. Salvation is the free gift for all that believe in Jesus Christm Who died and rose again.. and a wonderful liberation floods the soul of those saved by God’s gift of grace.. and the new-born believer rejoices in his liberty – sins forgiven and sins forgotten – sins forever buried in the vast ocean of God's gracious forgetfulness.
And days come and weeks go and newfound faith is rejoicing shared. And Scripture is read; prayers are prayed; lessons are learned and knowledge is gained. And years pass and decades roll by and he looks back to that day of his salvation when faith was shared with friends and family and some joined and others refused.
But the first flush of joy fades as life and its problems start to invade the blue skies. And our first love is left as other, more important issues start to occupy the mind – and pressures invade and circumstances press in and salvation loses its appeal. So why is this so often the experience of so many born-again believers? Why do Christians so often start so well, and yet finish their salvation at this point? Why, when the urgent, repetitive message of the Lord is – overcome in life? Well, it seems that most believers stop their pursuit of salvation when they are saved.
One reason is that there is a misunderstanding of 'salvation'. Being born again is the first completed step of the rest of your Christian life, and the majority of Scripture tells about this journey through life – a journey through life of sanctification. Being 'born again' is not the ultimate goal of the gospel, but the first. New birth is a prelude to the lifelong process of sanctification – spiritual growth. Sanctification develops into the intimate relationship God desires with each of us.
He desires all His children to grow in grace and to walk in spirit and truth. God wants us to develop a spiritual walk, which grows into a closer walk with Him. But after the first flush of Christian joy, we can leave our first love and fall from grace. We can't lose our salvation but we stray from a spiritual walk into a carnal walk. We can leave our first love of Christ and be enticed back to the ways of the world – or we can fall from grace, trying to please God through our own good works. Walking the way of flesh, worldly living and legalistic good works all deny God’s grace. But He desires His children to grow in grace and to walk in spirit and truth.
Too often the reason for misunderstanding is incorrectly dividing the word of truth. Paul tells us how vital it is to rightly divide the word of truth – the Bible. Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15. We are told by Paul that the Word of God is written by Jewish prophets – but addressed to many groups: Jews; Gentiles; Christians of today; Tribulation saints; People in the millennium.
Some Scripture is particularly directed to Israel and God’s specific plan for them. Some is written as instruction to the Church, to show us how to live a Christian life. Some is vital to tribulation saints – others open up life lived in the millennial kingdom. But all Scripture is given to all people for our understanding of God’s eternal plan.
All Scripture is indeed given by inspiration of God, and all is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16, but all Scripture must also be rightly divided – rightly dividing the word of Truth. All doctrine within the word of God does not apply equally to each group. Shaffer puts it this way: to ‘rightly divide’ your Bible is simply to divide it into sections based on the primary group of people that God addressed in each section. You must remember that the entire Bible is FOR you, but not all of it is written TO you.
The message of the seven letters in Revelation 2-3 is to the Christian Church: to him that overcometh… to him who overcomes… to the one who conquers. It resounds like a giant foghorn throughout these vital messages to the believers. It is a message of salvation – a message of sanctification – a message of walking in spirit and truth.
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