Why 'OVERCOMING' Is So Important!The
Good News, in conjunction with the Correspondence Course Department,
presents brief monthly excursions into the study of the Bible, delving
into topics relevant to the development and increased understanding of
future members of the God Family. Bible study is one means by which
Christians are renewed daily (II Corinthians 4:16), so let's refresh
ourselves with more of the precious truths of God's Word!
The format of these ministudies is similar to that of the Ambassador
College Bible Correspondence Course. Look up and read in your Bible the
scripture references given in answer to the questions. Comments
following the questions elaborate on the scriptures just read. That's
all there is to it! (These studies are based on the King James Version
of the Bible, unless otherwise stated.)
The Bible speaks a great
deal about overcoming. Let's understand exactly what it is, why it is
so important in living the Christian life, and what bearing that
overcoming has on the occupations of born-again Christians in the
ruling Kingdom of God.
1. Did Jesus Christ become
perfect' Hebrews 2:9-10. Notice especially the last part of verse 10.
What did Christ say He expects of His followers? Matthew 5:48. Who are
they to become like? Ephesians 4:1 3.
in the original Greek, the
word for perfect in Matthew 5:48 is teleios, which also means complete.
In other words, Jesus said that His followers are to become complete in
a spiritual sense - spiritually mature.
we cannot become absolutely perfect in character until the resurrection
when God will complete the process and give us new, perfect spiritual
bodies with a perfect — sinless (I John 3:2. 9) —nature~that will be
like Christ's and_the_Father's. But in the meantime, God wants us to
grow in His spiritual character daily by obeying His commandments and
overcoming and rooting sin out of our lives — growing toward that
spiritual perfection.2. Even though Christ was the
very Son of God and possessed the Holy Spirit without measure (John
3:34), did He still have to learn obedience?
Hebrews 5:8-9. Did Christ overcome.' John 16:33. Did He resist temptation'1 Hebrews 4:15.
Christ became perfect through the trials and tests of human
experience., He overcame the temptations of the devil. His flesh and
the world around Him. In spite of opposition and temptation. He kept
God's commandments perfectly. Thus He was able to become the Savior of
mankind and the supreme example of spiritual maturity Christians are to
be striving to emulate.3. Because Jesus Christ
overcame during His human life and was born again by a resurrection.
where is He presently seated? Revelation 3.21. Have all angels,
authorities and powers been made subject to Him under His Father? I
Peter 3:22; Ephesians 1:20-22; I Corinthians 15:27.
4. Just how great is the authority that Christ has already inherited Hebrews l:1-2; Matthew 28:18.
how the Moffatt translation renders the original Greek of Hebrews 1:2:
"But in these days at the end he has spoken to us by a Son — a Son whom
he has appointed heir of the universe . . . "!
Christ be the only inheritor and ruler of this earth and the vast
universe.' Or will there be co-rulers, joint heirs, with Him to share
His great inheritance and responsibility'' Romans 8:16-17; Revelation
We If we have become true
Christians, are now the Spirit-begotten children of God. We are heirs —
joint heirs with Jesus Christ_— destined to inherit and help rule
everything God has created when we are born again at the resurrection
as members of the God Family'6. Just how important
is overcoming to our being in God's Kingdom and receiving an
opportunity to rule with Christ'' Revelation 2:7. 11, 17, 26-27; 3:5,
12, 21, 21:7. Will our spiritual works in this life determine our
reward — our opportunity for service— in God's Kingdom? Matthew 16:27.
overcoming the sinful pulls and impulses of the flesh, the world and
the devil, and rather submitting to God and His ways, our spiritual
character is being developed. We are building the very character of
God. And the more we over-come, the greater the responsibility Christ
will give us in His government on earth. Thus the greater will be our
Will each servant's reward be directly proportional to the degree of
his growth — his spiritual overcoming and development'1 Verses 16-17
compared with verses 18-19.
But no one can overcome for us. No one can produce
spiritual works for us. Ft requires putting forth effort on our part,
together with the help of God's Holy Spirit, to become the kind of
spiritually minded and motivated persons God can use in His Kingdom.
Overcoming (ceasing from doing) the works of the flesh (Galatians
5:19-21) involves letting Christ, by means of His Spirit, live in us to
empower us to bear spiritual fruit — to perform spiritual works.
your reward in God's Kingdom is great or small depends on you! It
depends on your works. It depends on how much effort you expend in
overcoming and growing spiritually. It depends on whether you always
willingly let Christ mold you into His character image or whether you
tend to resist change. Notice Paul's advice in Romans 12:2: "Don't let
the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remake
you so that your whole attitude of mind is changed. Thus you will prove
in practice that the will of God is good, acceptable to him and
perfect" (Phillips Modern English translation. paraphrased).
parable of the pounds recorded in Luke 19 shows that the degree of
reward each Christian will receive will be according to how much he
grew and overcame spiritually in this life :— how much good fruit he
produced by his effort and the help of the Holy Spirit. In this parable
Christ pictures Himself as a young nobleman going to a far land
(heaven) to receive a kingdom and to return (to earth) (verses 11:12).
As He left. He delegated certain responsibilities to each of His
servants (representative of converted Christians to whom God has given
His Holy Spirit). 7. At His return, having obtained the Kingdom. how
will Christ judge His servants? Luke 19:15. Notice the words ''that he
might know how much every man had gained by trading."
represented a unit of money symbolizing spiritual value. God has given
each Christian His Holy Spirit to be used to serve others, to overcome
and develop spiritual character and to accomplish the Work of God.
Christians are the servants of Jesus Christ. (I "Corinthians 7:22-23).
Some overcome more than others — accomplish more spiritual works with
what they have been given and develop more spiritual character than
others. Thus, in the Kingdom or Family of God. each will receive
greater or lesser positions of responsibility dependent on the degree
of his spiritual overcoming and character development in this life.
Each will be rewarded "according to his works" (Matthew 16:27). But
everyone will have a vital, meaningful responsibility to perform.9. Does
the principle of Matthew 24:46-47 illustrate that it is those who are
faithful and overcome to the very end — those who are still growing in
spiritual character at Christ's return (or at their death, if that
comes first) — who shall inherit God's Kingdom and receive a reward'1
10. Does II Peter 1:5-9 also show there is need for continual growth in
the virtues of Christian character as long as a person lives'1 Do
verses 10-11 strongly imply that those who don't continue to grow and
overcome may not make it into God's Kingdom!
responsibilities, which each one of God's Spirit-begotten children
today is in the process of qualifying for. and which God wishes to
bestow on us. are in addition to the gift of eternal life (Romans
6:23). So the reward is commensurate to our effort and diligence in
overcoming, but access to eternal life comes freely through Christ as
God's gift. There is no way we can earn salvation.
If you are not moving forward in growth, then the tendency is to slip backward?11. In what capacity is Christ now serving true Christians? Hebrews 4:14-16.
the High Priest of all Spirit-begotten children of God. Jesus Christ is
always available to help us overcome. He takes special interest in our
spiritual development, helping to prepare us so we can eventually
inherit all things with Him!Stay
close to God by drawing near to Him in prayer and through Bible study,
Change, Overcoming. Grow Spiritually! Continually build the character
of God until death or until the moment Jesus Christ returns when God
will instantly change our weak, inadequate bodies into powerful,
sinless, glorified Spirit bodies ( Philippians 3:20. 21 ).
Christ is always on the job and
available to help in times of weakness or trial. Through_the_ Holy
Spirit He helps us to live a life of overcoming. Thus we have an active
role in the salvation process too. It is up to us to "take earnest
heed" to use today's time and opportunities for overcoming spiritually.
is then that we will be rewarded with stimulating responsibilities and
opportunities to do great good in the world tomorrow as members of the
Family of God!