CLAIM: Repeatedly, John writes, “To him who overcomes…” they will get eternal life (Rev. 2:7; c.f. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). Does this imply that believers need to overcome in order to inherit eternal life? Does this threaten the doctrine of eternal security?
RESPONSE: In his epistle, John writes, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 Jn. 5:4-5) In other words, John is explaining that all those who believe in Jesus have overcome the world. Likewise, later in the book, John makes clear that Jesus was the one who overcame first (Rev. 3:21). He later writes, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah… has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals” (Rev. 5:5). In other words, those who have faith in Christ stand as identified with the one who overcame for us first.