Can Salvation Be Lost By Not Overcoming? Revelation 3:5
“HE THAT OVERCOMETH, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Revelation 3:5
This verse is frequently referenced as a “proof text” by people who claim that you can lose your salvation. Let’s look into it.
Jesus is speaking to the church at Sardis and those who claim that it is possible to lose your salvation say that it shows beyond any doubt that salvation can be lost, for it says that only those who “overcome” will be saved. So those who believe in Jesus but who do not “overcome” will not be saved, but will have their names blotted out of the Book of Life. They were not “overcomers,” because, according to those who believe you can lose your salvation, they have not overcome the sin of this world and were not found by God to be walking in obedience or doing His will. They claim that this verse says that you must not only believe in Jesus, but you must also be obedient to God to the very end of your life, i.e. be an “overcomer,” to inherit salvation.
Well, this is going to be one of the shortest rebuttals ever because it is so easy to show that this is not what Revelation 3:5 is saying at all. In fact, this verse entirely supports the position of “Once Saved, Always Saved,” that you can NEVER lose your salvation, if this verse is interpreted correctly. The key question for interpreting this verse is: What did John, the author, mean by the phrase, “he that overcomes?”
We don’t have to guess about this. John tells us in 1 John 5:5:
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:5
John clearly says that TO OVERCOME MEANS THAT YOU BELIEVE IN JESUS. PERIOD. It does not say or even imply that you must believe and then repent of all your sins daily, rid yourself of all sin, successfully walk in obedience to God, bear fruit, and strive for your salvation up until the day you die, and then, and only then, will you know if you are an overcomer. No! The verse is clear: He that overcomes is one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, who died on the cross to pay for their sins. That’s it. And for all overcomers (those who simply believe in Jesus), Jesus promises in Revelation 3:5 that He will NEVER blot out their names from His Book of Life. This means that the verse is actually a “proof text” for Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS), that once you believe in Jesus, you can NEVER lose your salvation. For all those who “overcome the world” by simply believing in Jesus, Jesus Himself promises that He will NEVER blot out their names from the Book of Life.
Now, there is a similar verse in Revelation 2:26 that does “appear” to have an obedience component to it:
“And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” Revelation 2:26
First, even is this verse is talking about walking in obedience where it says, he that “keepeth my works unto the end”, the reward is not salvation but being given “power over the nations,” describing how we will rule with Christ during the Millennial Age. So this is not a verse about salvation.
But second, I would argue that the phrase “keepeth my works unto the end” is not about our walk of obedience. John tells us what this means in John 6:28-29, when people approached Jesus and asked Him this very question:
“Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” John 6:28-29
According to John (and Jesus), the phrase, “keepeth my works unto the end,” means simply to believe in Jesus. So both of these verses in Revelation support Once Saved, Always Saved. These verses say that once you believe in Jesus, Jesus Himself promises that He will NEVER blot out your name from the Book of Life. And by overcoming, by believing in Him, and keeping that faith to the end, you will have power over the nations. You will rule with Christ.
And exactly how do we keep our faith until the end? I answer this in other posts and videos, but very quickly:
“Now unto HIM THAT IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM FALLING, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 24
Notice that it’s not our work to keep ourselves from falling, that God takes it upon Himself to keep us from falling.
“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up again at the last day.” John 6:39
God promises not to lose ANY of His children.
So yes, we keep our faith to the end, and even that is by the grace and the power of God. So we can rest with confidence that we are eternally secure in Christ and will NEVER lose our salvation.
Finally, I do this in all my videos, if you are not 100% sure that you are saved, that if you died today, God would welcome you into heaven, I urge you to make your commitment to Jesus secure right now. Here’s a prayer for salvation that you can pray. But keep in mind that a prayer does not save you. You are saved only when you place your trust in Jesus alone, believing in your heart that He died to pay your debt of sin to God and that He rose from the dead to show you the eternal life that He offers. This prayer, then, is just a way of formalizing that decision, putting a stake in the ground, saying that you are trusting in Him and never going back. If that’s what you would like to do, please pray with me:
“Lord, I have sinned and I need you to save me. I believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and that He rose from the dead to show us the new eternal life You have for us. I believe solely in Jesus to save me, that He paid my debt of sin 100%. Please forgive my sins and save me now, Lord, according to your promises. In Jesus Name.”
If you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, know right now that you are eternally saved.