To overcome, ‘nikao,’
means to conquer, prevail, to accomplish a long hard fought victory. This is a sequential or chronological
accomplishment and not a momentary single event, but a series. In the previous letters to the churches, this
referred to the believer who was successful in attaining spiritual maturity,
and staying there.
However, we have a difference in the letter to this
Church of Sardis. Those folks were on the
verge of losing all of this rewards and blessings for eternity, because they
had compromised their way back into the world, losing track of their Christian
Therefore, this ‘overcome’ does not refer to
advancing to spiritual maturity, because clearly they had lost that, however,
it does refer to the only thing that they had remaining in their spiritual
life, and that is their salvation.
Once saved always saved, and once the person has
believed in Christ, he has in effect overcome the stigma of being unsaved. Being saved is an ongoing state,
chronologically and in series and continuously throughout ones
life. So being saved means to overcome
Far too many folks read this verse and interpret it
as a threat, but clearly it is not.It
is an assurance of continued salvation and a place in heaven, even though the
believer has failed miserably in their spiritual life.
To this church, Christ gives no additional list of
rewards. They had lost them through
their disobedience. But most folks when
they come into a dying state, either through old age or from some sort of
accident, they can at least have one promise to hold on to, and that is their
guarantee of being in heaven with Christ forever, and not ever lost to eternal
Now, whether they remember this promise or not, is
a good question, however, most folks, when they come face to face with certain
death, generally begin worrying and praying and could very well remember
Wearing white is symbolic of a state of purity and
holiness. And when a believer leaves
this world, then their state of sinfulness will no longer exist, as they will
be in heaven.
The Book of Life is where the name of every person
born is written, however, when a person dies without having believed in Christ,
and therefore is not saved, then their name is erased from the Book of
When they (unbelievers) return to stand before the
Great White Throne, then the Book of Works is opened and that is all they have
to their credit, but it will not be enough to get them into heaven. Mans works do not match Christ’s work, and therefore
works do not save. They will go into the
Lake of Fire, Rev. 20:12-15.
As for all believers, their name will remain in the
Book of Life forever, and will never be erased from it, Phil 4:3, Rev 3:5, 13:8;
17:8; 20:12-15; 21:27.The reference in
Ex. 32:33 and Psa. 69:28 is a reference to unbelievers being blotted out for
their sin of unbelief. Unbelief is the
one and only sin (which is not really a sin, but a rejection) that was not paid
for at the Cross.
Believers can be assured that they will be in
heaven, regardless of how they fail in their Christian life, and that they will
be acknowledged before God the Father, who is in heaven, as well as before
everyone else who is in heaven. Christ confirms your right to be in heaven,
because you have complied with the mandate of salvation, namely having believed
Once you have believed in Christ then you are
saved. You will go to heaven. There is nothing you can do or fail to do, that
will change your eternal status of being saved.
Granted those extra blessings for mature believers will not be yours,
but being in heaven is a phenomenal gift in and of itself anyway. You will still have eternal happiness.