It’s an endurance race

Jesus repeats himself, but he does it for a reason.

In Revelation chapter two, Jesus addresses four churches in Asia Minor. In chapter three, he speaks to three more. He repeats the same message in every one. The message is, “He who overcomes,” is used seven times (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). “He who has an ear,” is said seven times, too (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).

The Lord has said the same before. Mark recorded the Savior saying, “You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved” (Mark 13:13 NASB). The saved ones are those who realize that the race to eternity is one of endurance.

Some of the seven churches of Asia undoubtedly believed they were safe. Only a minority were doing the Lord’s will. The others were warned of impending judgment. All of them were encouraged to remember that only the one who endures to the end will be saved.

This is why the Master repeats himself. He is emphasizing the necessity of his people to keep on keeping on with their work, their zeal and their love. One who falls away and does not maintain faithfulness will not endure to the end and will be lost. Otherwise, why would Jesus take such pains to teach endurance to the end?

The race is not to the swift (Ecclesiastes 9:11). The Christian life is not a foot race. It is a marathon — an endurance race — all the way to the end.

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