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UNDERSTANDING: More Than Conquerors

The Message of Romans 8…..

 

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”   (Romans 8:37)

 

A note of triumph rings out clearly and convincingly from this verse. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are “more than conquerors” Paul declares. It must be wonderful to be a conqueror who has experienced victory – but this is more! The expression that Paul uses is literally “hyper-conquerors” and is found nowhere else in the New Testament.

When we are endeavouring to describe something that is overwhelming, words may seem utterly inadequate. On occasions in his writings we find Paul having to use superlatives in an attempt to express the greatness of what God has done. Endeavouring to describe His power, for instance, Paul tells us that God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” (Eph.3:20). Romans 8 reveals that the triumph of God’s people is beyond what they could have imagined, and the phrase “more than conquerors” is used to indicate the position into which believers have been brought.  How can we be more than conquerors? We need to look back over the verses that precede this marvellous statement.

 

NO CONDEMNATION                                                                             

Romans 8 commences with these words: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” (v.1). The first four verses of the chapter more correctly belong to chapter 7. Aware of a turmoil going on within him, Paul has described himself as a “wretched man” and has asked, “Who shall deliver me from this body of this death?” (7:24). The answer to that question is now given, but the words “them which are in Christ Jesus” imply that it is an answer not only for Paul but also for all believers. In the original text in the Greek language the sentence begins with the word “No” and thus gives emphasis to the statement. The word translated “condemnation” (katakrima) is also a strengthened word in the original Greek.

There can be “no condemnation” for those who have been saved by Christ Jesus and belong to Him. No sentence will be pronounced against them from the court of God’s justice! No punishment for their sins awaits them! The Lord Jesus was delivered unto death on our account and experienced the righteous judgment of a holy God against sin when He hung upon the cross atCalvary. He did not remain dead, however, but was “raised again for our justification,” (4:25) that we might be declared righteous before God. Through His one sacrifice we who believe have peace with God and access into His presence at all times, (5:1-2). There can therefore be no condemnation for believers! The Lord Jesus Himself said, “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life,” (Jn.5:24).

 

ANOTHER HELPER

While the first verse of Romans 8 describes our standing, or the position into which we have been brought by grace, verse 4 describes our state. It refers to those “who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit,” (v.4). This is what God expects of us. Another contrast can also be observed. Throughout Romans 7 the Holy Spirit is not mentioned, but in chapter 8 we are introduced to the One referred to by the Lord Jesus as “another Comforter” who would dwell within the hearts of God’s people, (Jn.14:16-17).  

Believers, on account of the indwelling Holy Spirit, have been set free from “the law of sin and death,” (v.2). At one time that law operated within us, but now a new law is operative – “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” These two laws are sometimes explained in the following way. If you throw a stone up into the air, the law of gravity ensures that it will fall back to the earth. However, if you throw a living bird up into the air it will fly away because the law of life within it is greater than the law of gravity that would bring it down. In a similar way, we are no longer “dead in trespasses and sins,” (Eph.2:1) but have new life in Christ through the Spirit of God. We have been identified with Christ in His death for we are seen as “dead with Christ,” (6:8), but we are also identified with Him in His resurrection and should “reckon (ourselves) to be dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” (6:11).

As believers, our greatest ambition in life should be to please God. There is only one way in which this can be done. Two contrasting lifestyles are set before us. We can live “after the flesh” or we can live “after the Spirit,” (v.5). Those who are “in the flesh” may succeed in pleasing one another, but they “cannot please God,” (v.8). The reason is that “the mind of the flesh” (v.7, JND) is hostile to the law of God. F.B.Hole has stated: “Let the flesh be educated, refined, religionized; let it be starved, flogged, restrained; it is just the old flesh still.” (1)  It is totally opposed to the things of God. Believers, however, have been transferred to a new realm. We are now “in the Spirit” because the Spirit of God dwells within us (v.9), and we are equipped with “life” (v.10) and power to live for God. The Holy Spirit who enables us to put to death “the deeds of the body,” (v.13) wants to lead us as the “sons of God,” (v.14).

Our responsibility is evident here. We must allow Him to lead us and must be “habitually putting to death” (v.13 Amplified Bible) the deeds of the body. How thankful we ought to be for the ministry of this ever-present Helper! Conscious of our own weaknesses (v.26), the Holy Spirit is well suited to help us. In fact, twofold help is available. This chapter teaches us that both the Holy Spirit and the risen Lord Jesus are pleading for us before the throne of God, (v.26, 34). The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and therefore intercedes in the most appropriate way. Surely, with such help available, we are “more than conquerors”.

 

OUR UNSHAKEABLE HOPE

What is God’s purpose for us? Ultimately it is that we might be “conformed to the image of His Son,” (v.29). In other words, it is Christ-likeness. This is not physical likeness but rather a resembling of Him in character and spirit. Those purposes that believers might be blessed and might glorify God eternally find their origin in eternity too. Our own response to the message of the gospel is eclipsed by the sovereign acts of Almighty God who foreknew and predestined us “to be conformed to the image of His Son” long before we were born, (v.29). As those “predestined” (that is, marked out beforehand for this purpose), we were “called” by Him in time and “justified” through the work of Christ for our salvation. More than that, we have been “glorified” (v.30) – and the past tense is used for each expression to indicate that God sees the work as good as done already!

Of course, we know that difficulties are to be encountered at the present time. Our Saviour told us that in the world we will experience “tribulation” just as He did, but He also made the encouraging statement, “I have overcome the world,”(Jn.16:33). In a world that is hostile to God there may be sufferings at the present time, but they cannot be compared with the far greater glory that lies ahead, (v.18). Although God sees us as already “glorified” (v.30), from our viewpoint “glory” is still future. We long for the moment when we will be delivered from our frail bodies (v.23) and “the adoption” will be fully revealed. Creation itself is eagerly awaiting this public display of “the sons of God” (v.19), and this is a “hope” that spurs us on now, (v.24-25). A hope in Scripture is not some vague, intangible expectation but is something definite and certain, and is “an anchor of the soul,” (Heb.6:19).

 

SEVEN FINAL QUESTIONS

“What shall we then say to these things?” (v.31). Surely we must exclaim with Paul, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (11:33).

The second question asks: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (v.31b). Indeed, nobody can! We have been shown that God’s purposes are eternal, so nothing can interfere with them.

Five further questions follow in quick succession. The God who did not spare His own Son from that painful and shameful death on the cross will surely “freely give us all things”, (v.32). This statement reinforces the conviction expressed in verse 28 that “all things” work together for the good of those who love God. He is in control of all circumstances. “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?” (v.33). We know that Satan is “the accuser” (Rev.12:10), but his accusations are silenced because God has already justified His own and cleared them of the guilt of sin. So who can condemn us? No one! Our place is secured in Christ who died, rose again, and ascended to the right hand of God, (v.34).

The final two questions in verse 35 concern separation. Can anyone or anything separate us from the love of God expressed in Christ Jesus our Lord?  Nothing can! Paul searches the universe, listing personal and impersonal forces in the closing verses of the chapter. We are unassailable! Nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” he declares, (v.39).

The chapter that commenced with no condemnation has concluded with no separation. In between these two points we have been brought to see that there can be no violation of God’s eternal purposes. Fellow believers, let us rejoice that by God’s grace we are “more than conquerors” through Him who loves us!   

END NOTE:-

(1)Hole, F.B., Paul’s Epistles (Volume One), Scripture Truth; p. 33.