abiding in Christ, ascendancy, ask and receive, authority, being born again, discerning the spirits, dying to self, experience, Flesh vs. Spirit, following Jesus, God's love, God's will, grateful, inheritance, joy, obedience, Oneness, Overcomer, prayer, resurrection power, Satan, self-will, suffering, T.A. Sparks, the cross, the enemy, the Lamb, Victory, walking by the spirit
As much as the overcomer position, that is, being seated with Christ on His very throne, seems to be an attractive prospect for many of us, as difficult it appears to ever get there. What I mean by this is not that overcoming would be something God had not provided in his plan for every child being born from above. However, we might know that there is a cost related to the whole issue, which is entailed taking up our crosses daily and following the Lamb wherever He goes (cf. Rev 14:4). We read that Paul told the Corinthians that “flesh and blood cannot not inherit the kingdom of God” (see 1 Cor 15:50 ESV). Some have taken that to mean that only in the hereafter we will get to know whether we would be heirs with Christ, seated with Him on His throne, or not. Yet sometimes Scripture seems to be simpler than our intellect might realize at first sight. This scriptural statement implies that only the spirit can inherit the kingdom of God, right? 🙄
That means, insofar as our old nature, our self or flesh, has been crucified with Christ in His Cross through suffering with Him, we will be enabled to share in His resurrection power, too. Being raised to a completely new resurrection life in Christ means that we experience Christ’s joy and His peace at an increasing rate as well. Our Lord promised us,
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. THESE THINGS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU, THAT MY JOY MAY BE IN YOU, AND THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:7-12 ESV – emphasis in caps added)
Here we see that abiding in Christ and in His words means obedience to God’s will (commandments). The most important commandment, of course, is the passing on of the love of Christ we have received from Him (cf. Rom 5:5). Why is it then that our joy increases when we abide in Christ and His love? Well, there are two reasons, I believe. Primarily, being loved by God with an unconditional love no human being could ever provide makes us more and more grateful toward God’s gracious gift in Christ. Furthermore, when we see that asking Him whatever we wish (according to His will that has become ours as well) is being answered by God accordingly, our joy increases more and more as does our gratefulness toward God Who made possible what had been impossible for us in our old fleshly ways. As for exploring the depths of what God has had in mind concerning the overcomer topic, I offer you another part of a book by T. Austin-Sparks which is called “The Overcomer at the End-time, chapter 2 – The “Overcomer’s” Pathway to the Throne (1) I know this excerpt is rather long but I think it is well-worth reading for everyone interested in this very theme (emphasis in bold letters added and a paragraph of the original split in two).
“The great issue, the all-inclusive issue of the ages for eternity is bound up with this, the reaching on the part of a company to a position of victory and power over the adversary and his hosts. Now that is not done mechanically, we do not reach that position automatically. It is not reached by our recognition of certain doctrinal truths, and adopting certain attitudes and terms. I say that to try and clear the ground of misconceptions, because there are those I fear who think that if they take a certain attitude towards certain doctrinal propositions about victory and employ certain terms and phraseology, they are in the way of being Overcomers, and that they are in a place of authority over the enemy.
“That is not the case. Many who have adopted such attitudes and employed such terms and phraseology have just been the playthings of the enemy, and he has made fun of their phraseology and their terms and their attitudes. It has not worked out. This thing is not realised in that way, beloved: we do not get power over the enemy and his hosts by terminology, phraseology, or by the acceptance of teaching about this thing, or even taking up attitudes. There may be a place for the truth, there is a place for doctrine, teaching, and there is a necessity for attitudes, but these are not sufficient, and we do not attain to the position in that way, but it is a matter of a certain spiritual inwrought work of the Holy Spirit; it is a matter of certain spiritual elements being in the very nature and constitution of the Overcomer. Something has to be put into their very constitution. It is spiritual, not technical.
“What is the basic thing wrought into the constitution of the believer which makes him or her an Overcomer and brings him or her to the attainment of this power over the enemy and his hosts? What is it? The root of all is the will of God. The battle of the ages has ever had as its main issue the will of God. That little phrase, one of the commonest phrases amongst Christians, “Thy will be done” is the focal point of the battle of the ages; of all the forces of heaven and hell; they are concentrated upon the issues of that, “Thy will be done.” The ages converge upon that, that is the issue between heaven and hell in the battle that has raged all the way through, and when you add the clause, “In earth as in heaven,” you have set the stage, the place where that issue is settled. This earth becomes the stage upon which there is wrought out that issue of the will of God, and therein of course, is the explanation of the incarnation of God in Christ. Now we are able to gather that up into several concrete factors which we have to recognise. One is this; the fact of the presence of a will which is not subject to God’s will, and that in us.
“The next thing we have to recognise is the dealings with us by God to bring us to be governed inwardly by the Divine will; and then the third thing is that the Lord Jesus has perfected the will of God in Himself once for all, and has given the Holy Spirit to them that believe, to inenergise toward that position in us. That is, of course, the positive side, which is the most encouraging. “It is God Who worketh (energiseth) in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13.
“We never know how strong our will is until God puts us into situations where we behave as we never thought we should behave, where we betray ourselves because of the Lord’s dealings with us. We have a controversy with the Lord, where the prevailing test of all is the will of God, where up to that time we have been saying, “Of course, all the will of God.” Ah, but that was on the surface and we did not know what was involved, something deeper down; this other will would rise in our very nature, and in so far as that is true, we are in weakness and the enemy has got his ground, the ground to defeat us, the ground to hold power over us. And that is what I mean by this being a matter of something wrought into our constitution, not something we adopt as a mental attitude. And so we want the will of God, not something we believe about ourselves, not something which today – when things are not quite so difficult – we have as our consciousness towards God and His will, but something which is right beyond the reach of changing attitudes, something deep down. We have come to a place where it is so and changing conditions cannot shake that thing because it has been wrought into our constitution: the will of God wrought in us and becoming our nature. We have become partakers of the Divine nature. It is a matter of nature, beloved, not of attitude, not of temporary consciousness in acceptance of truth; it is a matter of nature, new nature. We must recognise that. Until that is done we have no power over the enemy.
“Satan’s power is maintained not merely by what he is in himself but by the ground that he has in man, he must have a ground, a judicial ground of his own somewhere, upon which to operate. The Lord Jesus was able to overcome because He could say “The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in Me.” We are defeated on that ground, our defeat takes place on the ground of our own strong will. Yes, often that which we colour and dress up as being desired for the Lord. We never know whether our protestations that it is for the Lord are really genuine until submitted to a severe test. We have said, “All the Lord’s will in that,” and the Lord has put us in something pretty hot, and we come back and say “this is exacting more than I thought it would, this is finding me out: I was a bit rash…” You invoke the challenge of God when you take that position. You see the Overcomer must come to the position where there is wrought into him or her this will of God as a part of their constitution through testing, trials, adversities; where they come to the place where nothing is worth while but the will of God.”
All images © Susanne Schuberth 2020/2022