You CAN (and must) Overcome!

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are saved upon true repentance and belief in Jesus Christ. Many churches have adopted the “once saved, always saved” doctrine. The focus on being saved at a point in time and then using that to reassure ourselves of our eternal salvation has a profound affect on the conversation of Overcoming.

If one believes they are saved up front, and they only seek what I call “Fire Insurance” – the assurance they will not go to hell, then that person has no need to overcome. They are saved, and that’s all they are looking for.

Is salvation all you or I are looking for? You see, the Bible speaks of this thing called “Overcoming”. How does that fit into the equation? The answer is “it doesn’t”. Overcoming is a process. If you believe you are already saved, you may wonder “Why should I overcome anyway?”

The answer to that question couldn’t be more clear in scripture! Lets take a look at some reasons we all need to be overcomers!


14 Reasons to Overcome

Rev 2:7 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

Rev 2:11 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

Rev 2:17 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”

Rev 2:26 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:”

Rev 3:5 “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

Rev 3:12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem,”

Rev 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

Rev 21:7 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

From these verses packed in the book of Revelation alone, we find 14 good reasons to overcome. These reasons are listed as blessings given only to those who overcome. These blessings are:

1. Overcomers shall have the right to eat of the Tree of Life forever.
2. Overcomers shall dwell in Paradise.
3. Overcomers shall not hurt by the second death.
4. Overcomers shall gain the right to eat of the hidden manna.
5. Overcomers will have a new name known only to them and God.
6. Overcomers will be given power over the nations.
7. Overcomers shall be clothed in white raiment.
8. Overcomers will have their name in the Book of Life forever.
9. Overcomers shall be accepted of God the Father.
10. Overcomers will be established in the temple of God forever.
11. Overcomers will be branded with the name of God.
12. Overcomers will have the right to sit with Christ in His throne.
13. Overcomers shall inherit all things.
14. Overcomers will have Jesus as their God and father.

That begs the question, “what is left for those who do not overcome?” We know you really want those blessings as much as we do, but do you believe? Do you know you are able to overcome? The devil will tell you it is impossible if you let him. But, here is the good news…

You CAN Overcome!

Make no mistake. The efforts of overcoming are immense, but so is the reward! This effort must not be ours alone. It is “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts,” Zechariah 4:6 tells us.
We not only have an advocate with the Father who pleads our case, we have one who strengthens us in the battleground of temptation and gives us the victory.

John 16:32 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

John 17:1-26 includes these words:

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Notice Jesus is praying the blessings of the overcomer on not only His disciples, but on those of us today who believe their report. Overcoming is not impossible at all! “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” Paul encourages us in Philippians 4:13.

So, as you have read this, what areas in your life do YOU need to overcome? Is it lust? pride? apathy? Do you have an addiction? That would be a stronghold of hell in your life… and the good news is You CAN overcome it in the strength of Jesus Christ!

If you have an area you would like prayer support to overcome, let us know and we can pray for you.

What do YOU think?

comments

Comments

  1. Timothy- the Spirit presses me to share a testimony with you concerning what you wrote here. I will do so on the in mail to you- well done!

  2. MelodyCat says:

    Tim

    I totally agree with you that we should strive to be overcomers. For we can only be slaves to sin OR slaves to righteousness.

    First let me say, Salvation comes to us completely and utterly from God through His Son. Not one person can do anything towards their Salvation. I’m sure you agree on this with me that as Sinners we could not in our sinful state bring ourselves to salvation, in our rebellious condition, the Lord had to draw us to Himself and enable us to grasp the Gospel Message through the Holy Spirit who reveals it to us.

    Now after we come to know the Lord we are not perfected and our sinfulness still lingers on.

    RO 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    RO 7:21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!
    So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
    RO 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

    Paul here expresses the struggle every Born Again Saved Believer will encounter. Our flesh has a sin nature and it tries to keep mastery over us BUT we NOW have our godly Spirit the New Man which must overcome our sinful nature. How do we overcome? It is Christ Jesus who enables us to master our Sin nature, we cannot do it ourselves. We cannot overcome Sin by ourselves on our own. We do it by submitting our wills to the Lord and then he is able to work in us to enable us to live according to the Spirit.

    However this has nothing to do with our retaining our salvation through obedience. Obedience to what? The Law. Paul has pointed out earlier in Romans the only thing the Law does is bring death, it cannot save.

    We all get out of our Christian lives what we choose to get out of them. You know some do only get saved, they do not apply themselves to Overcoming but that doesn’t mean they will not get into Heaven. They will continue to be eligible for Eternal Life but they will not receive the rewards for serving the Lord and doing His work here on Earth. Our Christian deeds will be judged.

    1CO 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

    I know many JUST SAVED Christians. The live very worldly lives. Yet they have not lost their salvation. For our salvation does not depend on “what we do” or “do not do” once we are Saved. Salvation is firmly based on Christ’s death on the Cross. When we recieve our salvtion we become God’s Children. You know an Earthly Father doesn’t disown his child everytime they are disobedient. No the Father disciplines his child, if the child accepts their discipline, good relationship is restored and they live at peace. If the child continues to be disobedient well life for that child will be miserable because they will not be at peace with their Parents and they will not enjoy the full blessings that come with having right relationship. So it is with Christians, we can choose to be obedient children and enjoy our family or be the child that is constantly being disciplined. God doesn’t just take back salvation every time we sin after we are Saved. No we are disciplined.

    God does not desire for us to loose our Salvation because we do what is wrong, He does something about it becuase He is our Heavely Father.

    1CO 11:32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
    HEB 12:4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
    “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
    HEB 12:6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
    HEB 12:7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

    God isn’t Legalistic but Loving!

    We can have Assurance of Salvation. God doesn’t want us to live in doubt about wether or not we will go to heaven. Assurance of salvation is not a license to Sin.

    1PE 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    Our salvation comes through our Faith not our Deeds or Works. Our Faith is placed in what Jesus did for us not in our own good deeds or overcoming of sin. God promises to keep our inheritance it is shielded by His power because we cannot in our own strength keep it. So yes slack Christians also get to go to heaven, their salvation is kept for them along with thsoe of us who spend our lives stuggling to obey God.

    My apologies for the lengthy reply.
    Mel

    • Timothy Luke says:

      Greetings Mel. A blessed day to you dear sister!

      Perhaps if the post I wrote were not lengthy, nor the topic not so grand, you would not need a lengthy reply! You did well sister.

      Our salvation comes through our Faith not our Deeds or Works. Our Faith is placed in what Jesus did for us not in our own good deeds or overcoming of sin. God promises to keep our inheritance it is shielded by His power because we cannot in our own strength keep it. So yes slack Christians also get to go to heaven, their salvation is kept for them along with thsoe of us who spend our lives stuggling to obey God.

      I’ll respond to your summation and let that suffice. I agree with you that you are absolutely correct in salvation comes by faith. Our faith will however produce works. If I tell you the theatre we are sitting in is on fire and will be engulfed in flames and collapse and you say, “yes brother, I believe, but this is a great movie….” and you continue to sit – have you truly believed from your heart? Of course not. Were I to say, there is only one exit that I personally know of that will save us, would you follow?

      Jesus is the usher who tells us, there is a fire and I am the way, follow me. He tells us to take up our cross daily – which is a dying to self and a putting on of a new nature. This takes serious attention and effort. We cannot go on “Christian Cruise Control”, for there is no such thing.

      When we take a moment to review the “14 Reasons to Overcome” exhortation of Revelation, how can we ignore the clear implication that those who do nothing and are slack will not partake?

      Rev 2:7 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life,.”

      Rev 2:11 “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

      Rev 2:26 “And he that overcometh,, to him will I give power over the nations:”

      Rev 3:5 “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” [another note here: our names can be blotted OUT OF the book of life. We were born under death, so for them to be IN the book of life means we became partakers of the light, but if we forsake the light what are the implications for once saved, always saved?]

      Rev 21:7 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

      What would be the reason, or genesis, or motivation for writing such things, if there was no danger TO CHRISTIANS to whom they are written?

      What is true is that we cannot do these things in our own strength. It does take the grace of God and therefore the exhortation is thus….

      Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

      Having this exhortation and mixing it with Jesus’ own warning that if we do nothing with the gift of the spirit, or talent given us, it will be taken away at the day of reckoning and we will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

      The enemy of our souls is on active duty through the world and those unsaved around us. There is a current, a pull that is continual. Have you ever been on a conveyor belt? Or perhaps a better example is an escalator. Jesus calls us to walk up the down escalator!

      We are born into a world that chose the down escalator. We begin our lives placed somewhere in the midst of a broad – W I D E escalator, or moving stairway. When we come to Christ, He commands us to follow him and set our minds on things that are above. The pull of sin is downward and does not rest day nor night. To be slack is to be pulled along with the course and cares of the world, whose end is destruction. Slackness does not keep us on steady ground – because the whole course of this world is set on Hell.

      We have to have some forward motion just to stay in the same place, let alone advance our lives and God’s Kingdom in our lives forward against the flow. I think you would agree with that.

      It is a tricky equation to work out; faith and works. One will motivate the other. When all is said and done, it is our faith that is accounted to us for righteousness, but as James points out, there is dead faith and living faith. A living faith leads to repentance from dead works and leads to an active duty as we fulfill our roles as stewards awaiting our Master.

      In whether we agree or disagree on this topic, I thank you that I know we are brother and sister who operate in love toward one another. I value you FAR above the merits of ‘my points’ vs. ‘Mel’s points”. And, I thank you for sharing your insights and passion on the topic.

  3. Surrendered says:

    I’ve learned that in my quest to become sanctified, it’s important to not make the mistake of trusting in good works. True sanctification means that our works are done in us and through us by the Holy Spirit. They are a “barometer” of our relationship with Jesus. If our deeds are from ourselves (flesh) they are counted as an unclean garment – Zech 3:3. The white garment that is acceptable to God is the realization that faith in Jesus is what saves us. Our sanctified good deeds are born of this realization, as we pray to Him to change our heart and give us righteous desires. These are the only good deeds that are acceptable to God.

    The Church of Sardis (Rev 3) was condemned for their “incomplete deeds”. I believe this is in reference to their dead works born of the flesh, not of the Spirit. Jesus told them to wake up and remember HOW they have received and heard – to keep it and repent – Rev 3:3. I believe the HOW means receiving by faith, not by works. They can be compared to the Church of Galatia which had a similar problem – Gal 3:3. It’s scary that the Church of Sardis was in danger of having Jesus coming to them as a thief. They looked alive, had a reputation as being alive, but they were actually spiritually dead and in darkness – not understanding the doctrine of grace.

  4. Surrendered says:

    With regard to the “once saved always saved” question, it’s clear that God chose those who would be His from before the foundation of the world. “Those He foreknew, He PREDESTINED to be conformed to the image of His son.” In His eyes, it’s already done – Romans 8:29-30.

    Without God intervening, no one would come to Him – Luke 14:16-24. He has to COMPEL us to come to Him. Paul stated that God “determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him…” Acts 17:26-27. Notice how God intervened in Jacob’s life to bring him to the point of sanctification (changing his name to Israel) but God didn’t intervene in Esau’s life. “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” – Romans 9:13.

    Additionally, “Without sanctification, no one will see the Lord.” – Heb 12:14. Jesus did not lose one of the disciples given to Him by the Father – John 18:9. Put all of these pieces together and it’s clear that God is in charge of both our salvation and our sanctification. BOTH ARE NECESSARY. Our sanctification WILL HAPPEN. If we cooperate with Him, it will be easy. If we refuse to cooperate with Him, it will be more difficult (more trials, traumas etc.) But He will see to it that it will happen, because He will not lose one of us. He planned it out a long time ago.

    The Church of Philadelphia was the only church promised to be saved from the Great Tribulation, because they had been persevering in the things of God. The Trib will purify, purge and refine those who are chosen but have resisted their sanctification. Why else would He warn over and over again to stay alert and to watch! – the same warning He gave to Peter in the garden.

    • Timothy Luke says:
      Heb 10:35-39 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

      For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
      Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

      I gather from the above verses that it is in our power to cast away our faith and confidence, hence the exhortation not to.

      Hebrews 6:4-20 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

      For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

      But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

      And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

      For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

      For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

      Surrendered, I see your heart and diligence to understand this topic and I fully respect you in it. I simply wish to share the thoughts that come to mind as I consider the subject with you. You are free to disagree with my conclusions, naturally.

      From this text I understand that it is possible to “fall away” after having been enlightened by God’s spirit. Also, the exhortation to not be slothful is given so that we may attain something. This indicates to me that the attaining is done through persistence in faith and patience on our parts. All things are to be done in faith and full assurance that He is faithful and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6.

      I do not see how falling away can be given as a possibility if it is not one. Not only that, but a consequence is laid out for a situation that once saved always saved says is impossible.

      God works within the framework of our free choices. He is relational. Would you or I marry a person who we knew did not love us? We seek someone whom we not only love, but one who desires to be with us. I suppose you could reply that we might marry someone we loved, if we were sure they would come to love us – but I am illustrating free choice. God wants us to worship him in spirit (with our whole hearts) and in truth (according to His framework of reality – He is God and we are not – He sets the standards and we follow them in faith).

      The first and great commandment is to love the Lord with ALL our HEART, soul and might. I do not see how we can resist Him and the call to sanctification and still be obedient to the first works. The penalty would be that He removes our candlestick.

      Revelations 2:1-5 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

      Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

      It is interesting to note that even though they follow the exhortation that I quoted in Hebrews, Christ warns them that their first love has waned and is needed for them to remain in His presence. They had this love. They lost this love. They could and MUST recapture this love. OR, they would not remain in a place of honor before the Lord. How does this fit in with the discussion? It appears to contradict the teaching that one way or another the Lord WILL sanctify us, whether we submit to it willingly or not. Am I misunderstanding the concepts you have brought to the table?

      Blessings and Peace,
      Timothy

      • Surrendered says:

        Hi Timothy,

        Thanks for your thoughtful response. I think my take on “Once Saved Always Saved” hinges on the phrase “those He foreknew.” It says the chosen were called, justified and glorified before the foundation of the world. God sees the end from the beginning, so nothing we do surprises Him, because He is not bound by time. He set up the circumstances for our salvation (and ongoing sanctification) because He foreknew even the smallest detail about us before He created us.

        I do believe it’s possible for a Christian to fall away, but not permanently. I believe the Holy Spirit will leave a Christian, for a time, if they stop abiding in Christ and continue to live in the flesh. But God will seek them out and bring them back. The prodigal son had the inheritance, was later described by his father as “dead” and then he came back to life.

        Looking at the context of the Hebrews 6 verse, Paul is talking about the content of his teachings. He is stating his intention to leave the elementary teaching about Christ (repentance, faith, resurrection etc.) and move forward to maturity, or to the “meat” of the gospel because the “milk” of the gospel is not going to help those who have already heard it before, accepted it, but then fell away. Because their conscience has been somewhat seered, it’s going to take the judgment of God to bring them to repentance (as opposed to Paul re-teaching them). It’s similar to the analogy Jesus used of it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom. “With man it is impossible, but nothing will be impossible with God.”

        This thought is picked up again in Chapter 10, verse 26: “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment … the Lord will judge His people.” Once a Christians becomes “unsalty salt” he is good for nothing anymore except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men (Matt 5:13). It’s this judgment that makes him salty again. God knows what it will take for each person to come around. For the prodigal son, it took a famine to bring him back.

        Lastly, I think the letters to the 7 churches are a warning to be diligent about our relationship with Christ. If we’re not, the purifying fires of judgment will fall. Since fallen man cannot love God apart from Jesus giving us a new heart, even that will be accomplished through the Spirit’s ongoing work in our lives. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely… Faithful is He who calls you, and HE also will bring it to pass.” – 1 Thes 5:23-24

        Anyway, this is how I see it 🙂

        • Timothy Luke says:

          Hi Surrendered! I did not read this post until now because I was out of town during July 4 weekend and it got lost. Thank you for your thoughtful and scriptural response. I believe there is room for disagreement on issues like this, so long as a person is not lead to carelessness in their Christian walk. I would hate to trust my soul to that doctrine only to find in the last day that the judgment was eternal and not a temporal correction. Have a blessed day!

  5. Timothy Luke says:

    Overcoming is not a topic many like to address. We like to think we have made it already, and many churches are afraid to disrupt the illusion for fear of losing our fellowship and support.

    I just want to open this up for discussion. What are some victories you have won in your Christian walk? What are some of the “victories in progress”?

    I know for myself I am constantly aware of the need to live a more disciplined life. I see progress coming incrementally, but there is still a stronghold I need to pull down.

    I know I want you to share things that are real to you, so I will share what is real with me. I need to overcome procrastination and get on with finishing projects I have begun. There is a paralyzing sense of not being able to finish what I begin. Please share with me how you have overcome those issues in your life, or join in prayer for me. We need each other….

    Thank you!

    Blessings and Peace,
    Timothy

    • Hello, Timothy!

      I really like this topic of overcoming. I will pray that you the Lord gives you strength and confidence to overcome your procrastination. I understand what that is like perfectly. Discipline was one of the biggest things I had to overcome. God put structure in my life and gave me motivation and confidence to do chores around the house when I was asked, without complaint, and in a cheerful manner, and continue in my job searching. I FINALLY got called for an interview today so I am so thankful for that!! Lately though (probably the last couple weeks), I feel like I’ve allowed myself to break some of that structure so I need God’s strength to put me back on the right path. I need some balance in my life right now for sure.

      Another thing I was able to overcome was my first dose of persecution for my beliefs. I have been a Christian since last summer but have been up and down in my faith and God finally removed my blinders in early June of this year, so I’ve rid myself of all ungodly things that may tempt or poison me in my walk with the Lord (television, secular music/books, certain movies, etc). He also gave me the strength to break apart from a group of online friends from another forum on the Internet. I’d been friends with that group for 2-3 years but I had always felt different and an outcast when I was amongst them. I realized a month ago it was because I had always been trying to live righteously and pure (even before I was saved) and especially after I was saved, and to put it simply, they weren’t. They would talk about their drinking escapades, smoking (tobacco and pot), etc. I always felt like an outsider because I would often be offended by things they would say about other people, a lot of it was mean and hurtful, and it always bothered me to read the stuff they wrote because I was a nice person and didn’t like seeing other people being ganged up on or picked apart for no reason. After my blinders were removed, God gave me the strength to share my faith with them and tell them that I was leaving (and why I was leaving). Needless to say, they didn’t take it very well (as I had suspected would happen), and I got called “arrogant”, “presumptuous”, “a little crazy”, etc. I got called judgmental because I actually exposed their lifestyles as being a negative thing and they definitely didn’t wanna hear that! It’s funny how sinful people consider Christians so judgmental and “self-righteous” when we actually show that we care about how people are choosing to live their lives. I don’t want to see any of them harm their bodies or worse (go to hell) because of the choices they were making. They were all condoning each others’ sinful lives, and I exposed their negative choices for what they were because I love them. But they loved their sin so much that they took offense to what I said as opposed to seeing that I actually loved and cared about them. But again, Jesus warned me that would happen and I will never regret doing it! I was sharing the Gospel with them and some of them may have never actually had someone they know tell them what they are doing is wrong. I will continue praying for them and if even one of those souls is saved, it will be such a blessing!!

      After all of that I needed strength from God to bring me back up. To strengthen me after dealing with their harsh words and He did!! My faith strengthened sooo much after that and I had such a passion in sharing the Gospel with people. Recently, I’ve been debating with some people in a debate thread about beliefs in God from that same forum. I’ve been witnessing to a Roman Catholic, a gay “Christian” who doesn’t actually believe the Bible is God’s Word, yet for some reason chooses to believe in the God of that book, an atheist, and one of my former friends I was talking about who believes in God but believes the Bible to be corrupted and written by man. Definitely not easy witnessing to that many people who are all ganging up on you and to be honest, it started to take a toll on me. I knew no one was listening to anything I said, and I knew arguing was becoming pointless, so I left. That was a few days ago and I’ve lost some peace and joy from that experience. I’ve been praying, seeking out God, reading the Bible (which I just finally completely finished last night!), and have been visiting various Christian sites around the net. I need that spark back in me that I am lacking right now.

      I was reading Matthew last night and this passage has helped me put things in perspective a bit. “And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” – Matthew 14:28-32

      I realized the parallel here between myself and Peter. When the wind became boisterous, he immediately became afraid and doubt entered his mind so he started to sink. Then Jesus commented on his lack of faith. I feel like I’m in the same position as Peter. I love, believe in, and follow Jesus but as soon as some difficulties came, it brought some fear in me. And I’ve lost a lot of that peace and joy I had. Now I’m crying out to Jesus to “save me” more or less because of my fear that I’m “beginning to sink” (be pulled away from my faith), and I think Jesus would be saying the same thing to me right now. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”. I really think I’m making this (what I believe to be temporary feeling) out to be bigger than it is. If I was really being pulled away, I would be turning to other things rather than God for help. He knows my heart. He knows my need. I know He hears my prayers, I just need to have patience (one of the fruits of being a disciple!) that this temporary discomfort will pass, and the Lord will strengthen me even more than what I was before. I believe He may be allowing me to be tested right now so I can conquer any fears that I may have. I believe, slowly but surely, He has been allowing more persecution to enter my life so that I become stronger and stronger each time. So right now I will continue to seek Him out, continue to deny myself, and obey His Word and let Him restore that peace, joy, and confidence I long for again on HIS time, not mine. He’s not gonna let me go. 🙂

      • MelodyCat says:

        Praise God Sara85!

        Wow you’ve learned a lot in a short time. I’ve been a Christian for many years (about 27) now and these lessons took a good ten years into my Christian life. I’m a slow learner I guess.

        Keep going the way you are and keep in God’s Word. God will enable you (if you let Him) to set asdie Worldly Living and become Christ Like.

        I still struggle with getting my house work done. I like more academic pursuits and so my housework tends to suffer a little. This week has been fairly good house cleaning wise and I’ve been cooking quite a bit lately. No ‘take out’ for ages.

        It’s winter for me and when Spring comes around I’d really like to do all the dusting and get the carpet cleaned and the curtains and venitians done that would be a wonderful. Last year I procrastinated and I was doing these things over the Christmas/New Year break and it was really hot. I would like to get it done in Spring so I can have family over these holidays if possible.

        Prayer and God’s assistance is the only way I can see myself getting it all done on time. You’ve reminded me to call upon the Lord to help me in my everyday chores. I’ve forgotten to do that and it’s a struggle each day to get things done around here.

        Cheers
        Mel

        • I want to thank you both, Timothy and Mel for your responses!! I definitely became overzealous and crossed a line that I shouldn’t have crossed. I will definitely keep this lesson I learned for next time. I thank you for your kindness and prayers. I lacked peace for a few days, not feeling God with me but after seeking Him out continuously, I felt His presence again.

          I will definitely be more cautious next time.

          Thanks again!

          Sara

          • Also, Mel, a huge reason why I’ve been learning so quickly is specifically because of THIS website. I think it would’ve taken a lot longer if I didn’t have this website. You all have taught me so much and I greatly appreciate it. 🙂

          • faithishearing says:

            Hey!
            Your testimony is a lot like mine.
            I belonged to an online forum that sounds incredibly like yours. I had been a member there for years.
            There were some good things there, but A LOT of bad.
            The members were really lax when it came to sin (even the christian ones) and I wasn’t comfortable there. Like you, I wasn’t a christian, but I always had a sense that the things they discussed and approved of were wrong. It was getting to the point that it disturbed my peace, because even though I didn’t believe as they did, it was influencing me in negative ways. Some of the things they said about each other and Christians were disparaging. They were obsessed with sex and physical beauty, and discussed both at length.
            It is not until I stepped away from that group that I learned to my despair, that I had adopted a lot of their views, and I didn’t even know it at the time!
            I left and I don’t look back!
            One thing that I learned, that even while I was unsaved, while I was a sin, there would be a small voice that told me ‘There’s nothing here’, and there was nothing there. In all my search for meaning in the world, whenever I fell into sin and regretted it, that voice would be there.
            ‘There’s nothing here’.
            Long story, short I found Jesus and I haven’t looked back!
            Praise God!

          • Timothy Luke says:

            Funny thing is Sara, I crossed that line just last month on this website. This place does help you grow up in a hurry. I am so glad to hear you have been restored to peace. God is so faithful!

      • Timothy Luke says:

        Hi Sara, I was moved by your post to me. I guess you noticed the new logo for Christian-Faith.com? It is a little dark and blends in so well on the banner at the top of the page, but it is Jesus pulling Peter up, out of the water. I once wrote a poem about that.

        “O you of little faith, wherefore did you doubt?,
        this He said to Peter, as He pulled him out….”

        is the only line I recall… I wish I had the poem to post here!

        Sister, you got sucked into a lie is what happened. It is so natural to want to save our friends who are not seeking. Some people spend their whole lives devoted to that end. They get pulled into the demonics of people in a codependent manner, thinking they are somehow assigned by God to bring that person, or persons to Christ. Often they waste years so focused on an unrepentant family member to the exclusion of preaching the Gospel to those around them who would readily accept it if they only heard!

        We all go there and learn from it Sara. You basically got defiled by their unbelief and accusations. I have a tendency to think there is always a way to say just the right thing to make everything make sense to someone else and give them an epiphany!

        Have you ever heard of “pearls before swine”? That is where you went in debating. Jesus warns us not to, “lest they trample them under foot and turn and rend you.” The carnal mind will speak against the truth and then turn and personally attack the messenger with accusation against their character. Thankfully, Jesus said we are not to keep throwing ourselves under the bus so to speak.

        Let me minister to you for a moment.

        “Father in heaven, thank you for Sara’s life and testimony. My sister is growing in grace and knowledge and has been roughed up by the world for standing for her faith in Jesus Christ your son. I pray you would pluck out the firebrands of doubt and unbelief and outright false accusation against you Lord. I pray you would forgive Sara for going farther in the discussion with these people than she needed to. I pray against any assignments of hell against her coming out of her debates and ask that you fully heal and restore our sister’s heart in love with you. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

        Sara, why not take a moment and pray this prayer with me…

        “Father in heaven, thank you for your mercies that are new every morning. Thank you for your love for all mankind. Thank you that you gave your son to die for our sins, while we were yet in our sins! Thank you that you gave Jesus for me, that I too may learn to walk in love with God and man.

        Please forgive me for going further into discussion and debate with unbelievers than your spirit lead me to. I overstepped your covering in my zeal and I ask for your forgiveness. I renounce the many words of hatred, doubt and unbelief, and accusation that were spoken against you and against me for believing in you. I refuse to take the ridicule and slander into my heart. I receive your forgiveness and ask for your wisdom to know when to talk and when to walk away and simply live the life you have given me. I forgive each and every person who spoke against you and against my faith in you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

        Sara, in Jesus’ name I take authority over the wounding words of hell that were spoken into your heart and I cancel their assignment of destruction over you and your faith, as you forgive those who have spoken them. I speak peace and healing and joy back into your heart in Jesus’ name. In the name of Jesus I say, “its time to rise above and walk on water once more.” I release you back to the arms of your loving brother and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let Him embrace you, and forgive you, and empower you for the days and years ahead.

        You are a good daughter, and your Father loves you very much!

        Blessings and peace,
        Tim

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