Pain, torment, anger, hatred, sickness and terror seem to rule the day. Yet we know from scripture that we are more than conquerors and that we were not made to just survive but to overcome.
A well-known verse in scripture about overcoming is found in Revelation 12:10
“And they were victorious by the blood of The Lamb and by the word of his testimony and they did not love their lives unto death.” (Aramaic Bible in Plain English).
It is obvious that this verse speaks of overcoming the adversary, the devil. We quote it lots; in sermons, in songs and in prayers we pray over ourselves- but do we really know what it means?
-we already have victory by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus)
-we already have victory by the word of His testimony
- we already have victory by not loving our lives—unto death…ummm what?
The gospel that we had been believing was a gospel made with a mix of truth of error. But a little leaven leavens the whole lump. What I mean is, when we look into the book of Genesis we see that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and they traded their original identity for a false one. They were made in God’s image- love, light and life and selflessness and God-centeredness. But they traded that image when they sold out to the other voices in the garden. Eve sold out to the voice of the tempter and deceiver and Adam sold out to the voice of Eve. The image that they received at that point was one of self-centeredness, self-focus, self-love and human logic. That is the image of the enemy, who is full of himself. Yes, I did just say that. They traded in the image of God for the image of satan. We know how that has run it’s course through humanity!
So what does that have to do with the Gospel? The gospel we have run with has sadly been a gospel with us on the throne. Many of us have embraced an ‘I need’ gospel. We have come to Christ to have a better life, to get our bills paid, or to get the promotion over Bob-who isn’t a believer cuz…c’mon, we have FAVOR!
Beloved, we have missed the importance of Jesus blood being shed. Sin destroyed our original image- love, life– an image made in the likeness of God. Jesus didn’t give His life for our sin! He didn’t give His life so we could go to heaven. There is more to salvation than just fire-insurance. He gave His life so that He could redeem (buy back) our original identity of love and life. What sin destroyed and disfigured Jesus restored. We are sons! Jesus was made sin to get sin off of us. Jesus was disfigured through His body being beaten so that we could receive what He has-perfect love and perfect life.
Jesus became what we were so that we could be restored to what He is…a son. Jesus’ life was not about Himself. He only did what He saw the Father doing. He went out of His way to touch the blind, the lame, the sick and feeble, the deaf and the dead. But we have received His Gospel as an answer to a better life. We are proving by our prayers and our attitude that we don’t realize that scripture says that we died with Christ. We no longer live, but Christ lives in us. Our prayers are self-focussed and if we admit it- we mostly pray out of need. What if we lived like we are really dead? What if Jesus really appeared in us because it is in Him that we live, move and have our being?
So this scripture about overcoming? It really does say that they overcame by NOT loving their lives, even unto death. The Gospel is about being transformed into the image of Jesus. Becoming who we were originally made to be– life, light and love. The Gospel is about becoming love so that we aren’t living with a deficit of love anymore. We don’t need others to hype us up or love on us so that we have a good day. We have been loved already through Jesus-when He gave His life for us. We really can renew our minds to this and realize that when He appears we shall be like Him for as He is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)
It is time the world sees Jesus as He really is.