Revelation 2:6-7 But you have this in your favour: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Due to a paucity of information or references, it is impossible to know with any certainty just who the ‘Nicolaitans’ were at the end of the first century. From the context, it appears that they were professing ‘Christians’ in the Early Church who had allowed the influence of the surrounding culture to so affect their thinking and lifestyle that they had become quite heretical, and even immoral.
What a warning this is to us, in this ‘social media’ age, to reflect long and hard on Paul’s pleading with the Church in Rome: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).
Jesus has ‘climbed the Tree of death’ in order that we might have access to the ‘Tree of life’, but he calls us to ‘overcome’ in order that we might benefit from what he has so graciously done for us. This ‘overcoming’ is certainly a challenge for every one of us in today’s culture, but it is especially challenging to young people with all the pressures on them. It is incumbent upon those who are older to be constant and diligent in upholding in prayer those whom God has entrusted into our sphere of influence (students, children, grandchildren), but also to be clear examples of ‘overcoming’ in these things!
Yes, in our own strength this is impossible, but John, the channel through whom the Risen Lord Jesus transmitted this important challenge, also wrote: “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:3-5). Let us look to, and constantly rely on, the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised to all who turn to him in repentance-and-faith: “Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. … I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:7b, 33). “Yield not to temptation … … Look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through” (Horatio Palmer).
– Bruce Christian