All Christians overcomers?

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Do all Christians qualify as overcomers?

overcomers

According to 1 John it seems as though the mere fact of being born again and believing that Jesus is the son of God is sufficient to qualify all Christians as overcomers.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4, 5

Various passages in Revelation (2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, 21 & 21:7) speak of specific privileges of overcomers.
“To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

“He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”

“To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations”

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”

If these privileges and rewards are for overcomers, then we could conclude that every Christian will receive a reward, because all are overcomers. This is true, but we need to understand the difference between legal and experimental position. Legally we as Christians are all more than conquerors. Christ guaranteed us the victory. However, it is possible for any Christian to fail to live this out in his experience. The legal position is that which we have in virtue of the new birth. In Christ Jesus, we are overcomers because He already paid the price; He died and rose again; He subjected principalities and powers. He overcame and because we are in Him, we have overcome as well. His position has become ours.

The experiential position, however, is to take into our experience that which is already legally ours. It is possible to be a legal heir of a great fortune, and, in practice, live in abject poverty. Some are sons of the King, but live as if they were slaves. I would even venture to say that most of God’s children live as if they had no spiritual inheritance as princes and princesses, the titles given to children of royalty.

Charles Spurgeon tells of a poor elderly woman that he once went to pray for at her home. On a wall of her humble home was displayed a framed document which was given to her years earlier by a member of British royalty that she used to work for as a house cleaner. It turned out to be a last will and testament worth millions of dollars but since the elderly woman did not know how to read or write she just thought it was a fancy and important looking document of no monetary value. Spurgeon later informed her that she was legally a millionaire. She lived as a pauper all those years, legally very wealthy, but her experience was that of a poor elderly widow. How many Christians today are heirs of a spiritual fortune yet live as spiritual orphans destitute of God’s riches?

Does that bother you?  It pains me to think that we can be proprietors of a great fortune and live in poverty. This however is the life story of many Christians; they are legally rich, but experimentally poor. God’s part is to give, but our part is to receive, to appropriate. If there is no appropriation, there will be no enjoyment of the inheritance. Overcomers are those who already have entered into the experience and appropriated for themselves that which is every Christian’s rightful inheritance. Therefore, there is a difference between being a saved child of God and being an overcomer.

Although every born again believer is legally an overcomer by right of spiritual inheritance, we know this is not the experience of all Christians. Many Christians live defeated lives. Is there such a thing as a defeated believer?  Can a person who lives in spiritual defeated still be a born again believer? The answer is yes because our salvation and new birth is not only a question of experience but also of legality. Our salvation does not depend on our personal victory, but on the victory of the Lord Jesus. It is one thing to be a born again child of God, but it is another thing to be an overcomer. Salvation is the gift of God to those who believe in Him; but only the overcomer will experience victory and receive a reward. Salvation comes by faith; however, the reward comes by works that we practice before God.

Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,  (Galatians 4:1) 

Many Christians although they are sons of God, appear to be common slaves, and it appears as though God treats them no differently than servants. They are “lords (masters) of all”, but live as though they had nothing. The overcomers are all those believers that have already entered into the experience of the inheritance. We should recognize that being an overcomer is a question of maturity. Overcomers are mature while defeated believers live like immature spiritual children. Overcomers are spiritual, while defeated Christians are carnal, immature and natural. Salvation is a matter of being in Christ, but the kingdom is a matter of Christ being in us, living His life within us and transmitting His character through us. We all have the legal victory over the devil; the flesh and the world, however not all possess the victory in their experience.




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