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To Him Who Overcomes...

In Revelation, Jesus sends messages to the seven churches in which there is one aspect common to all. He tells each of them that he “who overcomes" will be given incredible blessings. This challenge to overcome with its various promises is not only for the churches of John’s day but is also for Christ’s church today. As believers, being an overcomer is our call with all of the promised blessings!

The apostle John, the author of Revelation, has much to say about overcoming. “Overcome," and its related words occur 22 times in the New Testament, and 15 of these uses come from Revelation's message. The Greek word for “overcome” is nikao, meaning to subdue, conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory (Strong’s). This word, nikao, is related to nike (conquest, success, victory) that we are familiar with from the athletic wear brand. Overcomers are involved in a contest against an opponent or opposition in which they stand firm and prevail. This emphasis on believers being overcomers is at the heart of Revelation’s message.

This emphasis on believers being overcomers is at the heart of Revelation’s message.

In fact, in Revelation, Christ is depicted as the One who has overcome and is therefore worthy to open the scroll of God’s righteous judgment (Rev. 5:5). Additionally, the Lord overcomes those who make war against him because he is the “Lord of lords and the King of kings” (Rev. 17:14)! In Revelation's message, Christ is THE overcomer. Because of this, Christ encourages us with these words, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b).

In Revelation, Christ’s first call to overcome is given to the Ephesian church, “To him who overcomes [who conquers, who prevails, who gets the victory], I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God” (2:7). By now, you may be wondering how do I know if I’m an overcomer, and what does an overcomer do? We can discover who an overcomer is and what they do in 1 John 5:3-5, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome, because everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith. And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” When we believe in Jesus as God’s Son and our Savior, we conquer the world’s ways through our faith and obedience to the Lord.

And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.

In Christ, we have the victory! Paul tells us in Romans that we are more than conquerors (huper-nikao) through Him who loves us” (8:37). Conquerors—overcomers are those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, who have not stepped back from testifying to Christ (Rev. 12:11). They are those in whom God's Word abides (1 John 2:14). They are those who overcome evil with good because he who is in them is greater than he who is in the world (Rom. 12:21; 1 John 4:4). To the churches in Revelation and in all times, Christ challenges us as his people not to draw back when persecuted for his name's sake. Rather, we are to stand strong in his strength, knowing that God's promises are for those who love him.

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