Everybody loves to win. We hear, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but it’s how you play the game.” I suppose one needs to learn to lose gracefully, but everybody loves a winner. Do you know you can be a winner in life?
The latter verses of Romans 8 have as their theme “More Than Conquerors.” Romans 8:37 contains a key word regarding being in Jesus: conqueror. It says, “In all these things [in all of life] we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (KJV).
I recognize that in life there are circumstances and events that take place that almost defeat us. We may wonder how we can ever hope to be victors or conquerors. The answer is we must take our eyes off this earth of troubles, heartache, and disappointments. We must lift our eyes heavenward and see the One who is with those who are in Christ and who gives us His power to be victorious over the circumstances of life.
How is it possible for us to be the victors when defeat is all around us? The simple answer is given by Paul in 8:29.
8:31 What then are we to say about these things?NRSV Paul’s questions fall into three categories:
- Will opposition from people or Satan be too great? (8:31-32)
- Will we fail because of our tendency to sin? (8:33-34)
- Will we be overcome by difficult times? (8:35-39)
In broad terms, Paul may be encouraging specific reflection on the evidences we have that God is for us. One way of doing this is to replace these things with some of the phrases Paul has used earlier in this chapter. For example, what then shall we say in response toNIV the fact that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1)?
Or, what then shall we say in response to the fact that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness” (8:26)?
What then shall we say in response to the fact that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (8:28)?
The other option for considering what to say in response is the choice Paul makes. He asks rhetorical questions, the answers to which require application of the pattern God has already established for our day-to-day experiences.
So, for instance, since God has shown that he is for us, who of any real significance can be against us?
Or, since God “did not spare his own Son . . . how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (8:32).
Paul wants to let believers know, in no uncertain terms, that their salvation is sure and secure. When we fully realize that God has called, justified, and glorified us, we can do nothing but fall before him in humble gratitude.
In 8:31-39 Paul brings to our minds five phrases that declare that God is with us.
- I. BECAUSE HE FREELY GIVES US ALL THINGS
First of all, the apostle demonstrates the proof that God is with us when he says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (8:32). I know that God is with us because He freely gave us everything we need.
What we needed more than anything else was deliverance from our sin.
Paul says that God did not “spare His own Son.” A part of God came into the world and was born miraculously of a woman. He was God in the flesh, the human-divine man, the perfect combination of deity and humanity.
A part of God became man and after a ministry of 3.5 years went to a Roman cross and died for the sin of the world.
The question, “Does God care about me?” should never again enter our hearts. It was not because we deserved it; it was not because we loved Him.
It was because He loved us. When that tremendous truth grips our hearts we can never be the same.
- II. BECAUSE GOD JUSTIFIES US
There is a second reason based upon 8:33 that God is for us: “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?
God is the one who justifies.”
God is not seeking our ruin. God does not want your downfall and destruction. How do I know? Because it is God who justifies. God wants to deal with every human being upon the basis of justification.
What does justification mean? It means we are declared to be innocent. It is just as if I had not sinned, even though I am guilty. God wants to justify.
III. BECAUSE CHRIST DIED FOR US
There is a third reason in 8:34 that I know that God is with us: “Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, . . .”
I know that God is for us because Christ in the planned purpose of God died for us. That is at the heart of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul’s summary of the gospel he preached, says, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
This is the heart and core of the gospel—the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Paul is saying Christ has died for us. Who then is he who condemns? It is not Christ because Christ died that we might escape condemnation. I know that God is for us, because Christ has died.
- IV. BECAUSE JESUS AROSE AND INTERCEDES FOR US
A fourth important truth is pointed out by the apostle in Romans 8. I know God is for us because Jesus has been raised, exalted to God’s right hand, where He ever lives to make intercession for us.
Verse 34 says, “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
Intercession is a beautiful word with a wonderful concept. Intercession speaks of three parties. It speaks of God, the God that we have offended with our outrageous sins.
The second party is the sinner—each of us. There is God— party one; there is man—party two. Standing between the holy God and sinful man is the perfect Christ. He reaches up to God and reaches down to man and brings about reconciliation.
He stands at our side pleading our case in the presence of God. Christ is a third party who stands by the side of another party to plead our cause in the presence of yet another.
Jesus Christ, the intercessor, stands by our side to plead our cause in the presence of God.
Because of His intercession we know that God is with us. God is the author of the plan; and it is God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
It is God who wants to save the sinner. Lest we should ever misunderstand, lest we should ever doubt, He gives us Christ as our intercessor.
- V. BECAUSE NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST
There is a fifth reason that I know that God is for us. I know that God is for us because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (8:35-39).
The love of God for man is undefeatable. Nothing will cause God to stop loving us.
Sometimes when a child misbehaves a parent is heard to say, “Don’t do that anymore. God won’t love you.” The child should overcome his misbehavior; but it is poor motivation to tell him that God will not love him if he continues to misbehave.
God loved you, the parent, when you misbehaved. Nothing can ever cause God to stop loving us.
Nothing must ever allow us to stop loving God. It does not matter what comes to you in life; God is not out to get you. He is not getting even with you. He is not punishing you.
Yes, I know that sometimes people suffer as a consequence of their sins. A man may become drunk with alcohol. He may get in a car, speed down the highway, miss a curve, crash into a tree, and kill himself.
Now had he not been drinking the accident might not have happened. Yes, it is true that man sometimes must suffer the consequence of his own sin.
But when you suffer as God’s person, it is not God punishing you. You do not need to ask, “What have I done that God is doing this to me?”
God is not doing this to you. We live in a fallen world. Sometimes we suffer. But we can be assured that nothing, nothing in the whole world, will ever separate us from God’s love for us. I know that God is for us. How do I know? Because nothing can ever cause God to quit loving us.
Knowing that God is for us assures me of victory. That is why Paul said in the midst of this reading, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (8:37). We are the victors. We are not the defeated. We win one battle after another until the ultimate victory shall become ours.
We have conquered alienation because now we are the true children of God. We are conquerors over the circumstance of life because we live in hope. We have conquered our inability to approach God because the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us, even when we are so downcast and burdened that we can only groan and cannot utter in words our prayers. We conquer life because in the purpose of God we know that all things work together for good to them who love God. We are more than conquerors because God is with us. Everything God has done from eternity points to the body of Christ.