“He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:7-8
Scotty Smith, one of our Conference 2009 speakers, writes:
The one word in the book of Revelation that used to either fuel my fear or stoke my pride, depending on my “performance,” is the word “overcomer.” As a young Christian in the late 60’s, I remember many last-night-of-the-retreat talks and fiery sermons prepping me and my friends to work hard to become an “overcomer”, ‘cause only the “overcomers” would survive the last days and finally make it to heaven.
The biggest, darkest, most evil problem was that most of those talks I heard, 99% of the time, “left behind” the gospel! The onus of overcoming fell squarely on my shoulders as a spiritual performer! But earlier is the book of Revelation we are given the gospel-key to overcoming: “They overcame him (the devil and his assaults) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” (Rev. 12:11)
In other words, overcoming is a gospel issue. It is only by professing faith (the word of our testimony), in the finished work of Jesus (the blood of the Lamb), that we can be assured of inheriting the new heaven and new earth as sons and daughters of the living God!
Indeed, we inherit, not earn our way into the new heaven and new earth. Inheritance is a gift, not a wage. Only those who have Jesus as their forgiveness and righteousness, have God as their Father. The hope of Sonship is the conviction that Jesus, the Son, took the onus of our overcoming on himself. By his death on the cross, Jesus experienced the ultimate fiery judgment of God’s wrath on the cross, for us, so that all who know him do not have to fear either the first or the second death.
So why did John include the catalogue of 8 particular sins deserving judgment in verse 8? Probably for the sake of brevity, because he could have listed 8000 ways we fall short of the glory of God and deserve an eternity of being separated from God. For each of these sins, and for every other sin, there is only one answer, only one provision, the blood of the Lamb.
Do you have the hope of Sonship? Does the Spirit of God whisper a confirming witness in your heart that you are a legally adopted son/daughter of the living God—that you have already been declared righteous in the sight of God? Will you inherit the new heaven and new earth? Are you an overcomer? There is only one way to be certain: You have abandoned every attempt to have a relationship with God apart from the person and work of Jesus. Indeed, are you trusting Jesus in this very moment as the great Overcomer—the One who overcame sin and death for you?
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