I don't know if you are like me, but I have really been fighting and struggling to overcome the power of sin, the world of lusts, and the devil. Reading the letters to the "congregations" in the book of Revelation, I noticed that they were all promised some wonderful things if they would only "overcome".
I had to ask myself if I'm any closer to this ideal than I was 35 years ago, when I first received the Life of the Messiah and the Spirit of Holiness. After so many years why am I still struggling in certain areas? Scripture says "… young men, because you are strong, and the word of Elohim abides in you,.. you have overcome the evil one" (1 John 2:14). When I looked at the mirror, it told me that I was a bit passed the young part. But are there any "young men" in the body of Messiah who have overcome the evil one? I had to ponder. There are a lot of wonderful people, but have they "overcome" the power of sin that is working in their members (ref. Romans 7: 23)?
Being a special education teacher, I had to examine to see if I had missed something in my spiritual early childhood development, which could be a handicap in my present spiritual walk. In his writings to little children, John the Apostle gave me a clue as to what may be my problem: "I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake…and… "You know the Father…" (1 John 2:12, 13). Knowing that my sins are forgiven is not a problem, but what struck me was the last part of the statement: "for His name's sake". What is the meaning of "for His name's sake", and does it have something to do with knowing the Father? Could it be that in all my "Christian" education I never learned nor saw anyone living for the Father's "name sake"?
One of the first verses I had to memorize many years ago was, "Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world" (1 John 4:4). I knew, back then, that Jesus overcame and that that was sufficient to get me to heaven. However, the first part of the verse was left out for some reason. "You are of Elohim [His name's sake] little children and have overcome them [the spirits that are not from Elohim]" (1 John 4:4). Overcoming seems to take place during childhood, as this is also the time in which one gets to know one's parents. "Little children you know the Father" (1 John 2:13). Yeshua said, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48), and Peter, quoting from the Torah, writes, "You shall be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 19:2).
I believe that belonging to YHVH, for His Name's Sake, is not just carrying the label of His name, but the very life and nature of the Father. Thus in order to overcome, our faith must take us into the Father's gospel-reality; that means that our identity is in fact no longer ours, but our Heavenly Father's through Yeshua our Messiah: "For you have died and your life is hidden with Messiah in Elohim. When Messiah, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:3-4). Getting to know Him is getting to know who we are as His children, as His body, as His nation Israel. Hence, my overcoming is not going to be based on how hard I work at defeating sin and the world, but on recognizing that my sins were forgiven me not for my name's sake, but for His and that victory and overcoming are based on knowing the Father's righteousness and His life in me. "For whoever is born of Elohim overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith" (1 John 5:4). "And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Yeshua is the Son of Elohim?" (1 John 5:5).
Over the years I have written about the importance of firstborn, and that according to Scripture all first fruit and firstborn belong to Elohim. That means that they are His and are here for His name's sake. Yeshua was the perfect example, He was not just the only begotten Son of Elohim, but He was also the firstborn of creation and firstborn from the dead (ref. Colossians 1: 15-18). Yeshua overcame because He knew who and what He was as a firstborn redeemer, and lived for His Father's Name sake. We too are likened to the first fruit of the new creation (ref. James 1: 18), but not only of the 'new', we are also of the 'old'; "Israel is my firstborn" (Exodus 4:22); "Ephraim is my firstborn" (ref Jeremiah 31:9). As firstborn, we belong to YHVH Elohim for His name's sake. This is seen in YHVH's response to us through the prophet Ezekiel:
"Therefore, say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says YHVH Elohim, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. "And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I amYHVH," declares YHVH Elohim, "when I prove Myself holy in you in their sight" (Ezekiel 36: 22-23).
May it be so!