Jesus calls on every Church to heed His word, and in His word it says:
Revelation 2:11 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’ (NASB1995)
A statement by Jesus such as the above gives us reason to pause and pay attention. — What is the reason for this statement? When we look into the word “overcome” elsewhere in scripture we hear:
1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (NASB1995)
When we consider what Jesus said to one of the seven churches, in a message that He clearly means for everyone who has hearing within thoes seven churches; then we must ask: why Lord does the church which is founded upon its belief in You need to hear about putting their belief in You? And why especially when God is the only one who can bring one who believes in You to a born again experience? We cannot spiritually rebirth ourselves. We believe and God by His Spirit gives us the gift of the new birth, and the promise of eternal life. So when Jesus points out “overcoming” to those with ears to hear in these churches what message is He sending? Is He saying that those occupying a place in these churches have not been born again, or is there some other message that we should be understanding from this?
This seems confusing if being born again is the only goal of the believer, which is the understanding and teaching of any Calvinist or Reformed branches of the Church.
I believe that the Armenian view gives us the better explanation for this concern on Jesus’ part. A concern that we either ignore or take seriously. We touched on this yesterday. Today I want to drive home what I believe is the point of scripture that Jesus is making with these churches.
What we hear in this passage is not a once saved always saved message.
He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 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, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:11-13 NASB
We talked of God’s gift to the born again believer yesterday. It is a gift only to one who believes and then is born of God. A spiritual rebirth. To these He gives the right (others translate this to be power) to become sons of God.
Our rebirth is the beginning not the end of this encounter with God. Adam once possessed this Spiritual life where He had fellowship with God. His downfall was his unbelief in God’s word to Him. This also became Israel’s downfall. Israel the chosen people of God fell into unbelief. John in the above quoted passage said that the faith of the born again is our weapon to overcome. God’s word to us is the only thing that will produce that faith in us.
1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.
Our faith in God’s word is the only way to not stray into unbelief.
Revelation 3:21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (NASB1995)
A promise is attached to the new birth. It is to reign with Christ. Jesus says in the above verse that our reign is granted by overcoming even as He overcame. Overcoming in Rev. 3:21 is somehow attached to discipline and repentance in verse 19. Today we seem to think and we even hear that repentance like salvation is a one time in the past happening.
Jesus says: when I discipline you repent. When God speaks to us we walk in faith, and we obey. If we disobey we are not walking in faith, and we therefore need to repent.
Revelation 21:7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. (NASB1995)
Overcoming boiled down to its basic — I hear God; I apply what I hear to my life; if what I hear requires repentance, then I repent. I am by faith to be a doer of the word that I hear from God. This is why Jesus emphasizes hearing and seeing. Overcoming is doing what God asks of us. We need to be in the word, filled with His Spirit; then what is said by God can be heard.
Remember every child ever born needs direction. Most at some point rebel, but the love of the parent calls them back. Every child either repents or remains in rebellion. Hear God and obey.