Can they really be mine? —
Claiming those Promises
The promises to overcomers are most glorious. But what is it that is overcome? What does it mean to overcome?
According to the Bible, “to overcome” means to resist the temptations of the devil and to overcome sin. When Satan tempts us into sin, he gains a strong advantage over us:
“Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.”—2 Peter 2:19. “Be not overcome of evil.”—Romans 12:21.
We can resist temptation and overcome sin in our lives only through the enabling strength of Christ.
There is a way to resist Satan’s temptations and overcome. First, Christ must dwell in our hearts by faith: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”—1 John 4:4.
Second, we must regularly study God’s Word:
“I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”—1 John 2:14.
Third, through faith in the enabling strength of Christ, we must obey God’s holy law:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God over-cometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”—1 John 5:3-5.
Thus, through obedience by faith, we shall be able to overcome; and, instead of receiving the reward of the wicked, we shall “inherit all things.”
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”—Revelation 21:7-8.
We overcome by resisting temptation to sin.
But what is sin?
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”—1 John 3:4.
That is clear enough. The Bible definition of sin is breaking God’s law.
The verses surrounding 1 John 3:4 help explain what is involved here. As we read them, we see that it is God’s plan to enable us to obey the commandments. Only He can help us resist sin, so we can live pure, clean lives:
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. “And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.
“Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”—1 John 3:1-9.
What sweet promises are these! Jesus wants to clean our hearts and make us His humble, obedient children.
Yet it is only through the enabling grace of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, that our hearts can be purified of sin. It is only through His empowering help that we can resist the devil and his temptations.
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old ser-pent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him . .
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”—Revelation 12:9, 11.
The verses that come after that (verses 12-16) explain how the devil is determined to use sinful temptations to destroy as many of us as possible. In that passage, Satan is portrayed as a great dragon trying to devour the offspring of the pure woman, which is the true church. But the promise is given that God’s faithful ones will be enabled to keep the commandments of God, and thus triumph over the devices of the devil:
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”—Revelation 12:17.
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”—Revelation 14:12.
Some people think that Jesus did all the over-coming for us, when He died on Calvary; so we need not do any overcoming. But all the Bible verses you have just read clearly show that it is Godís faithful ones on earth who, through Christís enabling merits, do the overcoming! Jesus does not do our overcoming for us.
You and I want to receive the promises to over-comers. We want to inherit a home in heaven. It is sin that, in the strength of Christ, we must resist and overcome.
The question needs to be asked again: What is sin? We have learned that, according to the Bible, sin is disobedience to the law of God.
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”— 1 John 3:4.
The Bible definition of sin is breaking the God’s law. So the error that is floating around, that God has no law, is totally untrue. If there is no law, there is no sin!
“Where no law is, there is no transgression.”— Romans 4:15.
As with God’s government, so it is with nations: Any nation, that is daring enough to get rid of its laws, will have no lawbreakers! Without laws, there are no crimes. Everyone can commit any atrocity, with no fear of police, courts, or prison.
Just as civil governments must have laws, so God has moral laws also. God’s moral law is written in Exodus 20:3-20. It is the Ten Commandments.
Preachers sometimes say that the law “has been done away with.” But, when I ask them, “Which of the Ten Commandments would you like to be abolished?Ē they are silent. Every one of the Ten Commandments is vitally important. Human morality is based on them. But only in Christ’s strength can we obey them. Only with the help of Christ can we overcome.
In this book, we will discover, step by step, how to resist temptation and overcome cherished sin. But first, we need a better understanding of the origin of evil. How did sin ever get started?
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” —Psalm 34:19