Greg Gilliam Pastor of Grace Christian AssemblyKansas City, Missouri
Webster defines overcoming as ‘to surmount or to overcome difficulties.’ What do we have to overcome? Sinful life. Rom. 5:20, “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” The law is holy and just and good – Rom. 7:12. It had a purpose, to bring us to Christ. How? By bringing the offence to the forefront. Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
How do we overcome a life of sin? Through Christ. Only one thing could appease the Father, a perfect sacrifice. I Peter 1:18-20, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…But with the precious blood of Christ…foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” II Cor. 5:21, “for he (God the Father) hath made him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Gal. 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Death to life: Rom. 6:2-11 shows the believer in Christ to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God, how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by the baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man in crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We also overcome/surmount the fear of death by knowing that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ - Rom. 6:23. This eternal dwelling will be defined by the glory and splendor laid hold of here by each individual believer. We live today in this truth and await the final fulfillment to come, I Cor.15:54-57.
We have an enemy to overcome. Eph. 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Not just Satan but a host. Now that we are in Christ Jesus (believers) no one can remove/pluck us out of our secure dwelling (in Christ, in God) – John 10:28-29. God does not allow us to be tested to see what we have laid hold of, in Christ. We overcome, by allowing Christ to live within us. He is the victor who has overcome all the obstacles of this world, John 16:33. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
We are given the armour of God to help us in this battle - Eph. 6:10-18. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand…having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
In the Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John we read in chapter 12 of a war that will take place in heaven. Although this is a future event there are valuable truths to be grasped, that will help us to understand overcoming. The dragon referred to in V. 7 is Satan. His occupation is to deceive the whole world and to accuse the brethren before our God day and night. V. 12, There is rejoicing that takes place. Notice the rejoicing is a loud voice saying, “Now is salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
How did they overcome him? “By the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” - V. 11. Satan is ruthless (showing no pity or compassion) in accusing the brethren. He works in the mind of the believers to make them think they are unworthy, unable, incapable, etc. and we are, apart from Christ. Sometimes he works in the minds of other believers (typically babes in Christ or those walking carnally/fleshly) to bring accusations against the believers. So how do we (as believers) overcome? Laying hold of the victor, Christ Jesus. He has triumphed over all. He shed His blood that we might live and He desires for us to walk in an overcoming life. Not constantly defeated but reigning in life by One, Christ Jesus.