Not Alone!

In Revelation 12, John described the still-future persecution of tribulation saints. The chapter opens up with a description of a sign in the heavens: a woman prepares to give birth, and a dragon appears to devour the child as soon as it’s born. God intervenes, the child is born, and the woman is protected in a place prepared in the wilderness.

In retaliation, the dragon makes war with Michael in the heavens and is defeated. Cast down to the earth, the one who had previously stood as the Accuser no longer has access to God’s throne room. This dragon, the devil, finally has been conquered, defeated, beaten – overcome! How did the accused conquer the accuser? The answer to that forms our final principle for living as an overcomer.

The final principle we cannot forget is:

You cannot conquer in your own strength.

Revelation 12.11 is worthy of our attention. It should bring us to a full stop, to pause and consider the implications. If this were a verse in the Psalms, perhaps we would write Selah after it!

And they overcame him [the Accuser, Dragon, Devil] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Within this final verse for our journey, I see three truths that cannot be ignored if we desire to live as victors rather than victims. First, without the shed blood of Christ, we are defenseless, powerless, and hopeless to live out a life of victory. Secondly, there is a human responsibility attached to the divine accomplishment. Yes, Christ shed His blood, but let’s not forget to declare the word of our testimony. Thirdly, there is an overwhelming passion to live life for God’s glory, not our own. As we reflect upon this last principle, let’s flesh out these three truths together.

A Divine Accomplishment: The Power of the Blood

This is not the first mention of Christ’s blood in this Revelation. In the first chapter, John recorded that Jesus Christ was the faithful witness, the first begotten, the Prince – the One who washed us from our sins with His own blood.

Later, in Revelation 5.9, the description for Christ is that He is worthy to take the book and to open the seals. Then, a note of redemption is made and note that it is grounded upon the blood of Christ.

In Revelation 7.14, we are introduced to those whose robes were washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Today, we sing hymns such as, “There is Power in the Blood,” and “Are You Washed in the Blood?” Who doesn’t love Cowper’s “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood?” We cannot forget what has been attained for us by the blood of Christ. Hebrews 9 instructs us that “without the shedding of blood,” there is no remission for sins.

In the earliest books of the Bible, Moses instructed the Israelites that “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” When the first couple sinned, the only solution was for blood to be shed. The concept runs through the entire Bible.

Romans 5.9 assures us that we are justified through His blood. 1 John 1.7 guarantees us that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Ephesians 2.13-14 promises that we have been brought near to Christ through the blood. Peter preaches that the precious blood is the price that is paid for our redemption. Do you get it? The blood of Christ will never lose its power.

As we come to the final book of God’s revelation, John provides us with the basis for all victory: the blood of the Lamb. Based upon what Jesus has already done for us, victory is now ours for the claiming. It has already been one; Satan is already defeated.

A Human Responsibility: The Declared Word

God has done His part – the blood has been shed. Yet, there is a human responsibility mentioned in Revelation 12.11. Not only is our victory grounded in what God has accomplished, but also in “the word of [our] testimony.”

In this context, a legal scene unfolds. An Accuser attacks the brethren day and night before the throne, before the Judge of all the earth. As this Accuser – the devil, Satan – brings his damning evidence, believers have an Advocate (1 John 2). This Advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous, argues that the evidence be cast out of the court. “On what grounds?” asks the Judge. The response of the Advocate is always the same: “On the grounds of the blood I shed for each of them.”

This scene graphically describes the divine element. Yet, what about the human element? What is expected of those who are being accused? In legal terms, the word of our testimony is our confession. “Judge, I believe that my Advocate has accomplished that for me; I stand with Him.”

The verdict is now ready to be rendered. It’s the same verdict every time when these two conditions are met. When believers agree with God concerning the power of Christ’s shed blood, the verdict is always, “I find the defendant NOT GUILTY!” The Accuser has been conquered, defeated, overcome.

An Overwhelming Passion: A Life Lived for God’s Glory

There is a final descriptive truth embedded in this verse. Not only do we hear of the power of the blood of the Lamb, and the power of our confession and agreement with Him, but also, we see these overcomers did not live life solely for themselves. These believers chose conviction over convenience. They didn’t love their own lives more than Christ. Within this verse, we learn about those willing to die for the testimony of Christ.

In the Gospels, Christ had taught that the way to “find” one’s life was to “lose” it. In realistic terms, this described the attitude of the saints mentioned here. Robert Thomas clarifies the importance of their love:

They will consent even to die, possibly a violent death, rather than relinquish their profession and fidelity to Christ. Being ready to die for their faith is the ultimate in Christian faithfulness.

What principle is John attempting to embed into the lives of these first-century followers? Namely, they must remember that victory is not grounded in their own efforts, but Christ’s finished work. Secondly, their agreement with what Christ has accomplished makes victory available personally to them. Thirdly, believers who understand what Christ has accomplished for them are ready to sacrifice all for His cause. These are the characteristics found in overcomers!

You are an overcomer!

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