The Over Comer as Found in the Seven Churches of Asia

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As we see it, these terms apply to the same set of people and merely are expressing different relationships and roles. The concept often is held that the victorious saints the sons of God, the Body of Christ, the remnant are a special set of super-Christians; that there is the normal Christian church, and then there are these rare, unique type of unusually holy believers. However there is another way of viewing the fact that the Christian assemblies contain both disciples and nominal believers. It is that the victorious saints of Revelation, Chapters Two and Three are, in the present hour, the true Christians.

If such is the case, true Christians are in a minority.

Most of the believers in Christ are not attaining to the first resurrection from the dead. They will not receive their bodies from the dead when the Lord Jesus appears, according to our present understanding. We are not stating that they are lost to the purposes of God, but we do maintain they will not reign with Christ as members of the royal priesthood. The victorious saints, the overcomers, are not super-Christians.

Revelation’s Seven Churches

They merely are genuine Christians. The remainder of those who profess faith in Christ will be judged by the Lord and their behavior corrected if they do not lose their salvation. Some will be saved as by fire. This clearly is scriptural. We believe the victorious saints are the firstfruits of a much larger church, a church that will not be seen in perfection and completeness until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

It is not what we usually think of when the word church is mentioned.

(DOC) SEVEN CHURCHES OF BIBLE | Daniel James Grace -

There is no set of creatures closer to God than is true of the Church of Christ. The new Jerusalem is the Church in all its regal splendor. To be a member of the Church, the Body of Christ, an eternal servant of God, is the highest of all callings. Ephesians ,23 points out that the Church is the Body of Christ. Ephesians ,32 reveals that the Church is the Wife of the Lamb. Let us turn to what the Scriptures state concerning the Christian churches on the earth and see how they compare with the description given in Ephesians and in Song of Solomon , The seven churches in Asia represent the Christian churches on the whole earth and throughout church history, according to our understanding.

One has only to look about him today and he can observe the characteristics of Ephesus, Thyatira, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and so forth. The seven churches are the seven golden lampstands. Christ, the High Priest, is in the midst of the lampstands Revelation There is no Christian testimony on the earth other than that given by the churches, the lampstands of God. Now, compare Ephesians and Revelation ,. Let us consider the two groups of believers who constitute the Christian church in Sardis. While they are walking in sin and self-will they have not as yet attained the standard that has been set for the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ.

What is true of the majority of believers in Sardis? They have defiled their garments. They will not walk with Christ in white for they are unworthy to do so. If the majority of believers in Sardis are unworthy to walk with Christ in white, then they are unworthy to be part of the Wife of the Lamb, the true Church.

We see, therefore, that in the present hour only the victorious saints are the true Christians, the genuine disciples of the Lord. The rebukes directed toward the seven churches in Asia reveal the displeasure of Christ over the behavior of the members of the churches that bear His name. What is an overcomer?

The Overcomers

An overcomer is a believer in Christ who gains victory over the world, the flesh, Satan, and his own self-love. It is entirely possible for every believer to be an overcomer, a victorious saint. This would please the Lord very much. But to be a victorious saint we must believe that God, by the riches of His glory, can bring us to this level, and then we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Each Christian person faces problems and trials every day of his discipleship. Some believers pray, exercise faith, study the Scriptures, have fellowship with fervent saints, give, serve, and, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, achieve victory over the evil that comes before them each day.

They carry their cross and follow the Lord Jesus. These are the victorious saints—people of whom the world is not worthy. They are not super-Christians. They merely are normal Christians—individuals who grasp the grace of Christ to the extent they are not overcome by the pressures and deceptions that attack every believer in Christ. Other believers in Christ do not make the effort necessary for spiritual survival. They flirt with spiritual death continually. They cannot make up their mind to flee from demons and to serve the Lord Jesus with singleness of heart.

They love money and the present world system. They do not pray, study the Scriptures, give, or serve with enough fervency. They do not diligently assemble with dedicated saints when they have the opportunity.

THEOLOGICAL ISSUES: Who Is The Overcomer In Revelation 2-3? Pt. 5

They do not overcome the pressures and deceptions that attack them continually. Rather, they are overcome by the evil that is in the world. The above verse speaks of believers who do not overcome but who are overcome by the pollutions of the world. At one time they had escaped the world through the knowledge of Christ.

They are being overcome. Again we state, if a believer does not overcome the pollutions of the world he is not meeting the standard set the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the royal priesthood. Rather, it is possible for him to finish in worse spiritual condition than when he came to Christ in the first place. Let us think for a moment about the concept of imputation righteousness ascribed to a believer because of his trust in the Lord Jesus apart from any change of behavior on his part. When a sinner comes to Christ, believes in Him, repents of his sins, is baptized in water, God imputes to him the righteousness of Christ.

This is to say, the righteousness of Christ is assigned to the sinner. Because of his faith in Christ, God forgives his sins and receives him into the Divine fellowship. This is where imputation assigned righteousness ceases. The new saint must set out to follow the Lord each day. To obey the will of Christ one day at a time is perfectly possible for each and every believer. It is Satan, not Jesus, who is the hard taskmaster. The rewards to the overcomer are not given to us on the basis of imputed righteousness but on the basis of our works. If this is not true, the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation make no sense at all.

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If the members of the seven Christian churches in Asia all are righteous because of imputed righteousness, what sense does the text make? If righteousness keeps on being imputed ascribed to us after we are Christians, no matter how we behave, why should Christ search our minds and hearts? If righteousness is being imputed to us apart from our godly behavior, why does Christ say this?

Is Christ speaking to the non-Christians? Christ is addressing the members of the church in Thyatira through the angel spirit of that church. Christian preachers and teachers have carried the concept of imputation assigned righteousness far, far beyond what God intended. The result has been a frightful crop of immorality and disobedience. But, we may ask, what does it matter if we do not receive the rewards designated for the victorious saints?

At least we are saved from wrath? First, the kingdom principle is: to whom much has been given, of him will much be required. If we have been invited to be a member of the Church, Christ will judge us from that standpoint. He will not judge us as a person who never has been called into the Church, He will judge us as a member of the elect.

We will be beaten with many lashes if we do not use diligently the talents that have been given to us. We are not held to account for the abilities and opportunities that have been given to someone else. Second, the rewards assigned to the victorious saints are not frills. They are the necessary steps to the first resurrection from among the dead. Whoever does not gain these rewards will not be raised from the dead and ascend to meet the Lord when Christ appears. Only the saints who have lived in victory will be raised when the Lord comes.

Those who have gone down to defeat will have their portion at the end of the thousand-year period, as we understand the Scriptures Revelation The first reward is to eat of the tree of life Revelation To eat of the tree of life is not a frill, it is to gain immortality in our flesh and bones. It was immortality that Adam and Eve lost through their disobedience to God.

The Similarity in the Letters to the Churches

The opportunity to eat of the tree of life never will be given to any human being on the basis of imputed righteousness. The nonvictorious saints, the defeated, never will be given to eat of the tree of eternal life that is in the midst of Paradise. To eat of the tree of life is not a luxury that a handful of super-Christians will enjoy.

It is the essence of the Christian redemption. The second reward is the crown of life Revelation The crown of life is the commission to rule the creation of God by the authority and power of eternal life. To rule the creation is the role of the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem. No nonovercomer, no defeated believer, will be commissioned to rule the creation of God.

He cannot rule now. How would he rule then? The idea of a defeated believer ruling the nations of the earth with a rod of iron is preposterous. The third reward is to escape being hurt by the second death Revelation The second death is the Lake of Fire. The Lord Jesus is implying here that those who do not overcome through His grace the deceptions and pressures of the world are in jeopardy of being injured by the second death.

The third reward hardly could be termed a frill that super-Christians will enjoy.