Q: Who Is An Overcomer?

People in sports know the name Nike. It’s a popular brand of footwear and gear identified by its logo: the swoosh, similar to a check mark. What many don’t know is that nike comes from the Greek word nikao, meaning “overcomer.” Ancient Greeks used the word regarding athletic or military victories. The apostle John used overcome more than any other New Testament writer, referring to the Christian’s victorious life in Christ:

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 Jn. 5:4–5; cf. 16:33; Rev. 2—3).

Each of us who is born again through faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross as the final sacrifice for sin is an overcomer, and we all have victory over the world because Jesus won it for us by paying the redemption price for our salvation. We triumph in three ways:

(1) We are linked to Christ’s victory.

(2) We have a new relationship with God the Father.

(3) We have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gives us power to be victorious over this evil world system.

We cannot overcome this evil world through self-effort (cf. Jn. 16:33). Overcomers are not super-spiritual Christians who have attained a higher level of holiness, sanctification, or faithfulness to God than others. They simply are people who have been born again, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (1:13).

God promises great rewards to overcomers (Rev. 2—3). They will (1) eat of the tree of life (2:7); (2) not be hurt by the second death (v. 11); (3) eat of the hidden manna (v. 17); (4) receive a white stone and new name (v. 17); (5) have authority over the nations (v. 26); (6) remain in the Book of Life (3:5); (7) have their names confessed before God the Father and angels (v. 5); (8) be made pillars in the Temple of God (v. 12); (9) have Christ write on them the name of God, the New Jerusalem, and His own new name (v. 12); and (10) be privileged to sit with Christ on His throne (v. 21).

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things,” said Jesus, “and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (21:7). Our finite minds cannot comprehend the depth of what being an overcomer involves. We do know, however, that all true believers are overcomers (1 Jn. 5:4–5) who will enjoy the new heaven and new earth and all the glories of the new Jerusalem.

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