Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Who is the Overcomer?


1 John 5:4-5  For whatever (whosoever) 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?


The Apostle John and the Overcomer

John writes a lot about the overcomer.  Many people think the overcomers in John’s epistles and in the book of the Revelation are a special class of Christian.  I am convinced that all people who are Biblical Christians are overcomers in John’s writings.  The overcomer is mentioned in each letter to the seven churches of Asia Minor (Turkey) in Chapters 2 and 3 and their blessings are blessings that all Christians enjoy.


Ephesus: Revelation 2:7  "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." ‘

Smyrna:  Revelation 2:11  "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."

Pergamos: Revelation 2:17  "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 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."

Thyatira:  Revelation 2:26-28  “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations– ‘HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON; THEY SHALL BE DASHED TO PIECES LIKE THE POTTER’S VESSELS’– as I also have received from My Father;  and I will give him the morning star.”

Sardis:  Revelation 3:5  “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.”

Philadelphia: Revelation 3:12  “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.”

Laodicea:  Revelation 3:21  “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”


These congregations all existed when John wrote but each congregation had its own problems and personality.  I believe our current congregations likely are much like at least one of these congregations although current congregations may have more than one personality type.  But John is definitely giving us a panoramic view of the state of local churches at the time that he wrote.  Within each church there were overcomers.  When you see that the overcomer has faith in Who the Lord Jesus really is in John’s first epistle; and when you see that the blessings to the overcomers in the seven churches are blessings that true believers would claim as their own, then I conclude that the overcomer is not a special class of believer; but the overcomer is the true believer in each of these churches.  The particular blessing mentioned for the overcomer in each church is the blessing that would most encourage the believers living in those conditions.  If you take all seven blessings together, one gets a fairly good description of what the future looks like for a Christian.


What about those who are not Overcomers?

But here is the rub, if the overcomer is not a special class of Christian, then these churches consist of both the saved and the lost—the believer and the unbeliever.  There are believers in Christ and Christ rejecters in every church.  That becomes obvious as the Lord mentions the faithful who have been true to Him in some of these churches.  This concerns me because our churches today are willing to accept people who have not been baptized Biblically, and who do not remember be awakened to the fact that they were lost (and we are lost before we are saved).  Many reject the Biblical doctrines of headship that the Lord gives to the local church.  Moral doctrines are considered to be old-fashioned by many.  Some are more concerned with changing the world politically than with changing the world one by one through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. 


I don’t believe that we are showing love to those who believe that becoming a Christian involves a mental assent to the Truth rather than it being an experience where the lost are saved, where the understanding is opened, where the believer actually repents and has his thinking changed to agree with God even when that mean taking sides with God and against himself.  In many cases people also have to take sides against their families.


John’s use of the term overcomer is searching.  We need to be overcomers ourselves and we need to be concerned about those who are not.  And while evangelism is a “go into all the world” command these messages make it clear that the world has come into the church; therefore, evangelism needs to start at “home.”


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of December 13, 2015

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