Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death" (Revelation 12:11). As we near the end of the age, persecution and even martyrdom of Christians will increase dramatically. Those of us living in the United States won’t be exempt. In fact, we are already witnessing an increase in persecution. The time to prepare for this eventual reality is now. Make sure you are thoroughly grounded in the faith. Make sure you know what you believe and why you believe it. Make sure you are truly of the faith. Make sure you are an overcomer! Otherwise, when persecution comes—particularly persecution with the threat of death—you will run the risk of denying and bringing shame to the name of Christ. Such denial may indicate another reality—that you do not belong to Christ. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand what the Bible says about those who overcome. Revelation 12:11 give us three marks of an overcomer. All three are true in the life of one who has truly been saved by the grace of God through faith in the Son of God.
John writes, "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb." In a previous article I pointed out the Greek word for overcame is the word nikao, meaning "to come off victorious." True Christians are, by nature, overcomers. But we don’t overcome in our own strength and energy. We overcome "because of the blood of the Lamb." Satan is our accuser. Yet, because of the blood of the Lamb, his accusations cannot stand. Paul wrote, "Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies" (Rom. 8:33). We are justified through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The blood emphasizes the death of Jesus. He died so that we might live. We are forgiven because of His shed blood. No accusation can stand against those whose sins have been forgiven! Because Christ was victorious, His victory is our victory. So the first defining mark of an overcomer is that they belong to Christ, having been washed by the blood of the Lamb. Secondly, John writes that we overcome the enemy, "because of the word of [our] testimony." My testimony is not walking a church aisle and praying to receive Christ. My testimony is the fact that I have been born again by grace through faith and that I continue to walk in newness of life. In other words, my testimony is a changed life! I no longer embrace my sin, but rather, I embrace Christ! Your testimony overcomes Satan’s deception. Paul could write, "I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day" (2 Tim. 1:12). The writer of Hebrews echoed that truth by writing, "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25). The King James says it this way: "He is able also to save them to the uttermost." We are saved to the uttermost! This is the testimony of the believer and it is this testimony we share with others and is the living evidence of a changed life. I cannot emphasize this changed life enough! Finally, John says we overcome because, "[we do] not love [our] life even when faced with death." Overcomers are willing to make any sacrifice, including death. Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). Willingly dying for the cause of Christ is the ultimate in self-denial. Like Christ, we should all be willing to be "obedient to the point of death" (Phil. 2:8). However, self-denial begins with repenting of my sin and turning to Christ. It is an ongoing condition and lifestyle whereby I choose Christ over all else—especially self. Such a life is not easy but it is eternally rewarding. If we refuse to cling to our earthly lives, then there really is no threat Satan can bring against us. If the enemy kills you because of your faith in Christ, what else can they do (see Luke 12:4)?
To sum it all up, overcomers are first of all, saved. Secondly, they have a consistent testimony of a changed life. Finally, they would readily welcome death rather than to deny their Lord. So, the question is, are you an overcomer? Does your life give evidence of a changed life? Are you truly saved? If so, take hope in knowing that God will preserve you to the end—He is able and has saved you to the uttermost! If you are not saved, now is the time to give your life to Christ, receiving His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. The Bible says, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" (Heb. 2:3) God has provided "so great a salvation," so that through Christ we can overcome Satan, the flesh, and the world system. But it begins by simple faith in the crucified, risen, ascended, and soon returning Lord. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
Striving to glorify God by becoming more like Jesus.
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