Brief Notes

We Shall

8 October 2022

In the end, every
believer in Christ will
be an overcomer

For many years I have heard, and been helped by, the teaching that as believers in Christ we should seek to be those who “overcome” in this age, so that we will be prepared to reign with Christ when He returns. For example, in Revelation 3:21 the Lord promises:

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

This promise will be fulfilled during the next age, the Millennium, when the overcomers will reign with Christ for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6). Those who do not overcome will not reign with Christ during that time, though they will reign with Him during the eternal age (Rev. 22:5).

This teaching regarding the overcomers is surely true, and a real incentive to us to follow Christ in a more serious way.

Recently, however, I also noticed the promise that God makes in Revelation 21:7:

“He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.”

“These things” here refer, not to what takes place during the Millennium, but to the eternal blessings of the New Jerusalem. So, this verse shows us that, not only in the Millennium, but even in eternity, we do not inherit God’s blessings based upon our initial believing in Christ, but because we overcome in Christ.

When we preach the gospel we often speak of “God’s free gift of salvation.” That is because, based on our initial believing, we can have the assurance that our sins are forgiven and our eternal destiny is secured, so that we know we will be with Christ forever.

But, to actually enter into glory with Christ we must still “overcome.” As the writer of Hebrews tells us, quoting the book of Proverbs:

For whom the LORD loves
     He chastens,
And scourges every son
     whom He receives.
— Hebrews 12:6; cf. Prov. 3:11-12

So, even in eternity there is no “free gift” in terms of the work the Lord must do within us; we all must pass through the process by which we are conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29-30). This means we must experience the cross to enter into glory, either in this age or the next. If we pass through this process in the present age, we will have a reward in the Millennium, but if not, we will be disciplined during that time (Mt. 16:24-27).

But either way, in eternity every believer in Christ will be an overcomer, fully prepared to reign with Christ in glory. This will not only be because of the free gift of the forgiveness of our sins, but also because we have been fully matured as the many sons of God, and so are capable of inheriting all the blessings that He desires to bestow upon us (Rom. 8:17).

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— 8 October 2022 —