“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne,” Revelation 3:21 (NKJV).
Those who are granted a place in heaven are called overcomers. But what have they have overcome? The scriptures mention three things: 1. the world (1John 5:4); 2. the flesh (Galatians 5:17); and 3. the devil (Ephesians 4:27).
Once we accept Christ as our Savior and pledge to be his footstep followers, we must daily strive to be lead and taught by him to develop his character likeness. It begins a life-long battle between the putting off of the “old man” (Ephesians 4:22) and walking in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4). We must overcome the enticements of the world such as fame, wealth, prestige, etc. These things are not evil of themselves, but they can distract us from spiritual growth if we make them a goal. We also must strive against the desires of our fallen sinful flesh. “…in my flesh, nothing good dwells,” Romans 7:18. The attitude of “that’s just the way I am” will lead to spiritual slumber, and such can never be an overcomer (Romans 13:11; Ephesians 5:14). And of course, we must always be on the alert to recognize and avoid the wiles of the Devil.
A heavenly resurrection is a reward for those who endure hardship and afflictions. Luke 9:23 (NKJV), “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” These dedicated Christians daily strive to develop a Christ-like character. They meditate on the word of God and have vowed to sacrifice their will to do His will (Psalms 55:5). The overcoming saints will have proven themselves faithful and obedient to Him in every aspect of life. “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life.” Romans 2:7 (NLT). These will have a place in heaven (Luke 12:32).
For a more detailed study about a Christian’s reward, please download the free PDF: "Why Are You a Christian?"