“Everyone born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:4-5
All of God’s promises concerning our eternal inheritance in Christ are reserved for those who are overcomers. The Lord promised, “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be His God and he will be My son (Revelation 21:7).” God wants all His people to be overcomers. There is no other option. We will either overcome the world or be overcome by the world. The Bible says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15-17).”
But how can we overcome the sinful desires of the world that wage war against our soul? If overcoming depended on our natural strength, we would be defeated. However, we can have the victory if we apply our faith in Christ to use the weapons God has given us (Ephesians 6:10-17). The Bible says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are divinely powerful to demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).” What are those spiritual weapons? The Bible says, “They overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death (Revelation 12:11).” This verse reveals three powerful weapons that God has given us to overcome Satan and the world. The first and foremost weapon is the blood of the Lamb. The blood speaks of the triumphant work that Jesus Christ accomplished by His crucifixion. By His death on the cross, Jesus completely destroyed Satan’s power over God’s elect. “When He (Christ) disarmed the (spiritual) powers and authorities, He… triumphed over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15).” How did Christ’s death disarm Satan’s power over us? When we were born again, God spiritually immersed us into Christ’s death to remove our sinful nature and replace it with Christ’s holy nature (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:11). Therefore, Satan no longer has any power over us to make us sin (1 John 3:8). “For we know that our old man was crucified with Christ, in order that our body of sin (our sinful nature) might be destroyed, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died has been freed from sin (Romans 6:6-7).”
The second weapon that God has given us is the word of our testimony. The Bible says the word of God is a like a sharp two-edged sword that is divinely powerful (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). How do we employ this divine sword of the Spirit? By our mouth! Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart (Matthew 12:34).” Confessing our deliverance from the power of sin is the natural way for our faith to express this truth. The Bible says, “It is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke.’ With that same spirit of faith, we also believe, therefore we also speak … for it is with your heart that you believe, resulting in righteousness, and it is with your mouth that you confess, resulting in salvation (2 Corinthians 4:13; Romans 10:10).” The Greek word for salvation is sozo, which goes beyond forgiveness of sins and includes our total deliverance from the power of sin. Our faithful testimony of the power of Christ’s blood enables us to overcome Satan’s attempts to snare us in sin.
The third weapon that God has given us is the ability to pick up our own cross and lose our soul-life for Christ. Jesus said that His disciples must lose their soul-life and even hate it for His sake (Mark 8:35; Luke 14:26; John 12:25). The Greek word used for life in these three verses and in Revelation 12:11 is psyche, which is the soul-life that emanates from our natural personality and encompasses our attitudes, affections and abilities. Just as Jesus overcame Satan by laying down His life on the cross, we will also overcome by laying down our soul-life by the power of the cross. But what does it mean to lay down our soul-life for Christ? It means that we lay down our self-will and selfish desires to Christ’s authority. Although the ultimate test of losing our soul-life may be to die for Christ, we will have many daily opportunities to lay down our soul-life when Christ’s will crosses our natural will and selfish desires. The only way we can overcome this self-will is to believe that Christ removed our sinful nature by His death. Then, knowing we are dead to sin, we can overcome sinful desires and die to our self-centered soul-life by faith in the deliverance that Jesus Christ has purchased for us by His death on the cross.
Here’s what we can do to become an overcomer and fully experience our inheritance in Christ:
- Believe the truth that we have died with Christ and we no longer have a sinful nature (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20).
- Confess the truth that we are now dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11; Hebrews 10:23).
- Act on the truth by daily laying aside our old sinful way of thinking and putting on the mind of Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24).
In the Book of Revelation, the Lord has a lot to say about overcomers. Jesus promised those who overcome would not be hurt by the second death, but would eat of the Tree of Life; they would be clothed in white garments and have their name in the Book of Life; they would receive hidden manna and a new name; they would be a pillar in the temple of God and belong to the new Jerusalem, the city of God; and they would rule over the nations with Him (Revelation 2 & 3).
“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ… thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ... we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” 2 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:37