More Than Conquerors
By Rich Carmicheal
"…If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:31-39).
"You Will Have Trouble"
Trouble…hardship…suffering… persecution…famine…nakedness… danger…sword – such difficulties are clearly predicted to be part of the Christian life. Jesus taught that "In this world you will have trouble…" (John 16:33) and "If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also" (John 15:20). Likewise, the Apostle Paul wrote, "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22); "… the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives…" (2 Cor. 1:5); and "…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Tim. 3:12).
Even though we experience such difficulties, the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8:31-39 that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord and that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. This assurance is based upon God’s love for us, Christ’s intercession for us, and God’s power at work in us.
God Loves Us Deeply
"He…did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all" (Rom. 8:32).
God’s love for us is deep and He shows it to us in many ways. But the greatest display of His love is the gift of His Son: "…God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8) or, as Jesus states in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…" (John 3:16).
I have a son. He was born a bit prematurely and, because of some concern with his lungs, he had to spend his first night with his head under a special breathing apparatus. I couldn’t hold him, but I was able to gently stroke his body and try to soothe him by telling him that everything would be okay and that I would hold him as soon as I could. Although crying was good for his lungs, it was very difficult for me to hear him cry and cry and not be able to pick him up. This past year, when he was 17, he was standing behind me when I started a lawn mower which somehow flipped a rock directly into his right eye. I still remember hearing his scream over the sound of the mower engine. Because of the pain he was in, as well as the blood I saw in his eye, you can well imagine the deep concern I had that day as well as during the weeks that followed as we waited to see if there would be any long term damage to his eye or vision.
My love for my son is deep, but only a fraction of the perfect love our Heavenly Father has for His Son. And yet, God did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all. I cannot imagine how the Heavenly Father felt when Jesus asked if it were possible for the cup of suffering to pass from Him…or when Jesus was falsely accused, beaten, mocked and nailed to the Cross…or when He cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"… or when He gave up His spirit and died.
God gave Jesus up for us all. He sent His Son to become the "atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10) and made His Son "who had no sin to be sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21). He did not spare His Son, but placed upon Him the full intensity of the punishment that rightfully should have been poured out on us because of our sins. The only explanation for such action on God’s part is that He loves us deeply. And if He loves us so much as to give His only Son on our behalf, "how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32). God is for us, and His love will see us through any difficulty!
Christ Is Interceding for Us
Just as God demonstrates His own love for us in sending His Son, so does Christ show His great love for us in His willingness to die for us. "Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Eph. 5:2). As a matter of fact, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us…" (1 John 3:16). As Jesus Himself taught, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). O that we "may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…" (Eph. 3:18-19)!
Not only did Christ die for us, but He "was raised to life" and "is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." (Rom. 8:34). Our victory is certain because Christ is victorious! He is a Conqueror, an Overcomer: "…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). He overcame temptation, rejection, false accusation, ridicule, intense suffering, the pain of the Cross, and death itself!
And our victorious Lord and Savior is interceding on our behalf! As the writer of Hebrews states, "…because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood" and therefore "He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them" (Heb. 7:24-25). Christ does not condemn us, but He saves us! Even now in His majestic and exalted position at the right hand of God, He is interceding for us. Stephen’s glorious view of Christ comes to mind: "Look, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). Likewise, does Paul’s wonderful declaration: "…the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…the Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (2 Tim. 4:17-18).
God’s Power Is At Work
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28). Our God is so awesome and powerful, He is able "in all things" to work for our good. The Apostle Paul knew very well from personal experience how the Lord could use great difficulties for our good and His glory: "But [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
The Lord can take the very instrument that comes against us, and use it for our benefit. For example, we "share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory" and "our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:17-18). We can face trials with joy because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance which in turn brings forth spiritual maturity (James 1:2-4).
Whatever you may be going through right now, no matter how difficult, our Lord is able to work for your good. It may seem impossible at present, but in time, with His love, power, and ability, He will prove Himself faithful. We can join in the Apostle Paul’s confidence: "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6). "The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it" (1 Thess. 5:24).
We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! And "...neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39).
(By the way, my son’s eye is completely healed. Praise the Lord!)