12: 11,12 THEY OVERCAME BY THE BLOOD
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time” (Revelation 12:11,12).
The devil has “great wrath” because he has been cast out of heaven, knowing that it is just a matter of time now until he will meet his doom. More than ever before he wants to tempt people to sin and abandon the Lord and thus prolong the controversy. But God has not abandoned us. He said, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20), and He gives us counsel as to how we may overcome the enemy: all who believe can overcome Satan “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony.” This is one of the most vital themes of the Book of Revelation, because it is the key to receiving the promises that are offered.
Each of the seven churches are promised rich blessings—“to eat from the tree of life” (2:7), to “not be hurt by the second death” (2:11), “some of the hidden manna,…a white stone,…a new name” (2:17), “power over the nations…the morning star” (2:26,28), “white garments” (3:5), to be “a pillar in the temple” (3:12), the right “to sit with [Jesus Christ] on [His] throne” (3:21). These wonderful gifts are promised “to him who overcomes.” The last two chapters of Revelation portray the beauty of the New Jerusalem and the blessed inheritance of those who live there, but it is clear that this is not for everyone—“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be My son” (Revelation 21:7).
What must we overcome in order to “inherit all things?” “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12;21). “The word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:14). “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:3,4). God commands us to overcome evil, the wicked one (Satan) and the world. Revelation 12:11 shows that two crucial factors that allow us to overcome sin are “the blood of the lamb” and “the word of [our] testimony”.
Satan “accused them before our God day and night.” We cannot answer his accusations on the basis of moral behavior or good works, but only on the basis of the sacrifice of Christ—“they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” His perfect life and His death for our sins, credited to our account, is the effectual answer to the accusations of the devil. This is the good news of the gospel. Jesus does not grant us forgiveness through His blood and then leave us to struggle with sin and temptation on our own. “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Through “the blood” we overcome, not just in the judgment but also as we face the trials and temptations of this life.
Many people fail on this very point. When they have sinned they focus on their guilt, and feel that they are too wicked to come to God. Some give up, and plunge more deeply into sin. Others try to be good until the hot shame has worn off a bit and then come to God for forgiveness. Still others go to a priest, receive penance (good works to perform) and never do come directly to Christ. The answer to all of this is Christ’s sacrifice on the cross— “the blood of the Lamb.” There we see how God really feels about us. Even those who condemned Him to death and pounded the nails were included in the mercy that He extended there— Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do,” even as they hung Him on the Cross. (Luke 23:34). In the sacrifice on the Cross, we see the depth of God’s love for us, and it is this that causes us to love Him in return—“We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). It is love for Him that breaks our hearts and causes us to hate the sin that nailed Him there.
Unfortunately, all too often the main motivation to overcome sin is the fear that it might jeopardize my entrance into heaven, or that by sinning I might expose myself to the wrath of God, or forfeit God’s protection from the devil. In other words, I don’t want to sin because I might get into trouble or lose out. If we have these attitudes it shows that we haven’t really grasped the deeper meaning of Christ’s sacrifice. It was not just to pay a penalty, but to demonstrate the fullness of God’s love that Jesus suffered and died.
Αs I look to the Cross and see the torture and the horror of guilt that Jesus endured for my sins and realize that it was love for me that caused Jesus to suffer, it causes me to hate the sin I once loved, and to turn to Him for the power to overcome. Overcoming “by the blood of the Lamb” means that I focus my mind and heart on the sacrifice of Christ, recognizing my part in His death, and with a broken heart I repent of my sins while seeking His forgiveness and grace for victory over sin.
 Although Jesus only died once in a sacrifice that paid for the sin of the whole world, in some sense when we continue to sin we torment Him as if He was on the cross again. Those who “have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away…crucify again for themselves the Son of God and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6: 5,6). By holding on to sinful habits I “trample the Son of God underfoot, count the blood of the covenant by which [I] was sanctified a common thing, and insult the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews10: 29).