Two months ago, Chuck and I released a new book called The Kingdom, Power and Glory. Since then, we have received many wonderful comments about the hope the book has given them:
The Kingdom, Power and Glory has been a God send. I gave my life to Christ in 1980, but soon became the victim of a long term spiritually abusive situation and some of the Scriptures that you give clarity to, were used to condemn me on every front. I cannot begin to tell you the despondency and depression that has plagued me since that time. I have been looking for the “real” Jesus ever since. This book has been used as a huge key in my ability to get back up and try again. I have always been confused as to what my part is and what God’s part is. I believe you have given me a reference point from which to operate. It is not only life changing, it is life saving.
The Kingdom, Power and Glory is subtitled “The Over-comer’s Handbook,” so essentially, it’s about learning “how” to become an overcomer. Overcomers are those faithful and obedient Christians who not only “talk” about doing the will of God, but who actually “do” it.
These believers are not “perfect” or “religious” or “good.” They are those who recognize their choices, confess them and then, choose to turn around and go God’s way! In our last newsletter, we mentioned David in the Old Testament as an example. He blew it in many ways, but the New Testament amazingly calls him, “a man after God’s own heart,” simply because he knew how to confess his sin, turnaround from fol-lowing it and then, go God’s way. This is the kind of “over-comer” the book focuses on.
Why is learning to become an overcomer so critical? Because the Bible teaches us that overcomers are the only ones who will inherit positions of authority in the Millennial Kingdom and possibly rule and reign with Christ. What we are saying is that all Christians will enter the Millennial Kingdom and be “with Christ” (John 14:3; John 3:16), but only the “faithful overcomers”—the ones who have fulfilled the “conditions” set down by God in His Word—will inherit responsibilities and possibly rule in that kingdom.1
Revelation 3:21 is one of the many Scriptures that validate this: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne.”
Are We All Overcomers?
Many Christians believe and teach that all of us become “overcomers” the moment we are born again and they use 1 John 5:4-5 as a proof text. “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Consequently, the idea that a Christian can somehow fail to be an overcomer and lose his inheritance is a totally foreign notion to many. This fallacy (that we are all automatically overcomers) has robbed the church of the truth, clouded its perspective of grace and played right into the enemy’s hands. Now, it’s true that “positionally” we are all overcomers when we are first born again because Christ lives in us. (He is the true overcomer!) But, “experientially” how many of us really are overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil, even after being Christians for years? Not very many!
Therefore, there is no teaching quite as conducive to “god-less living” on the part of Christians than the teaching that all Christians, no matter how they live their lives here and now, will someday rule and reign with Christ! This philosophy frees Christians from any responsibility towards God in regards to daily living. And, this is the type of theology prompts our kids to say, “Hey, I’m saved; that’s all I care about, it doesn’t really matter how I live my life now!”
Well, it does matter! It matters tremendously how we live our lives in the present, because our part, our place and our position (our level of responsibility) in the Millennium reign of Christ depends upon it. Paul even calls our inheritance in Christ the “prize” of the high calling of God. And, he tells us we are to seek that prize with everything we have! (Philippians 3:13-14)
A Much Neglected Area
Unfortunately, this teaching about “overcoming” in order to inherit is one of the most neglected areas of eschatology––the study of the end times. It has been obscured because of the strong emphasis on “grace” over the past several decades. Grace wonderfully brings us to God, but it doesn’t relieve us of our responsibility to live our lives as God desires. We must remember God is a God of “justice” as well as a God of “mercy.”
Being “born again” by asking the Holy Spirit into our lives will get us into the Millennial Kingdom, but faithfulness, obedience and perseverance in this life is what will render us the “prize” and allow us to inherit positions of responsibility in that kingdom. And there’s a huge difference between these two. Failure to distinguish between “eternal Life” (which is assured if we are “born again”) and “participation in the coming kingdom” (which is assured if we have been faithful) has resulted in tremendous confusion in the Body of Christ. James had it right all along: “hearers of the Word” gain eternal Life; whereas “doers of the Word” will gain an inheritance in that kingdom. (James 1:21-25)
Thus, it’s absolutely imperative that we recognize the need for our own personal accountability, the need to be faithful and the need to overcome. Because we’re going to decide today, what kind of a Millennial Kingdom we’re going to enjoy tomorrow.
What is the Purpose of this Study?
The purpose of The Kingdom, Power and Glory is to explore three things: Why are we here? (Why were we called?) Where are we going? (What’s the future hold?) And, what do we have to do to get there? (How do we become those overcomers—those faithful ones—who inherit the kingdom?)
Our motive for writing is to help believers understand the “real reason” for our salvation, which is “our inheritance in Christ.” Ephesians 1:17-18 explains: “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling and (that you may know) what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints...”
(Just like the writer of the letter we shared at the beginning of this article. He has finally found the “hope” that he needed. He knows “what God’s part is” and “what his own part is” in the Christian walk. So, he now has “a reference point in which to operate.” For him, that hope was “not only life changing, it was life saving.”)
Both of us have been Christians for over 50 years and we, too, are only just now learning these things and seeing the ramification of what all this really means! Our motive, again, is to help believers realize why God has called them and why He has laid hold of them.
As Philippians explains, “that [we] may apprehend that for which [we are] apprehended.” Prayerfully, The Kingdom, Power and Glory will help to do just that.
To be continued next month: “Hope Realized.” This article has been excerpted in part from Chuck and Nan’s new book, The Kingdom, Power and Glory: The Overcomer’s Handbook.