More than Conquerors (originally published 8/7/14)

With all the changes in the world today, it seems that on every hand we are confronted with another challenge. Whether in the area of finances, culture, politics, or another area, we are continually faced with encounters that test our values and commitment to God and to one another. With each new day, each news report, or each edition of the newspaper, we find new situations that require us to go back and revisit our principles of life.
With each of these challenges our faith is also tested. How far will we bend before we push back or break? I’m sure the believers in Rome felt this same way. The degradation of society in first-century Rome was rampant. I’ll not detail many of the practices that were found in upper society in those days except to say that today’s culture is not any lower than Rome. Believers who did not worship at the altars of the Roman gods were discriminated against, and it was not unusual for a believer to be forced into the coliseum for the amusement of the crowds.
With that being the case, why did Paul tell the believers that they were more than conquerors? They weren’t overcoming their circumstances physically or even politically. Yet, in Romans 8 Paul tells them:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 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.
Paul himself experienced the tragedies and struggles of life. He was persecuted, arrested, beaten, stoned and left for dead. And yet he considered himself more than a conqueror. What did he conquer? What do we conquer when we are faced with all these challenges in our lives?
The truth is that the victories Paul referred to were much deeper than those that trouble us on a day-to-day basis. While we are frustrated daily with the experiences around us, there is a foundational level where our focus needs to be if we are to find fulfillment and comfort in our lives. Paul is referring to a level of life that we rarely consider, the spiritual realm. Unfortunately, in our lives we often live out the conflicts and personal struggles, the shortages and interpersonal arguments, never taking the time to step back and reflect on what is behind all of those things.
Those who are called “Christian,” who are followers of Jesus Christ, who have had their sins forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ, have come to know a deeper part of life. God has shown us that there is more to life than what we see or hear or experience physically. In fact, all of these things are surface items that depend on what is below, what is our foundation. In the spiritual realm, we can be overcomers in spite of what is happening in the physical realm.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that we are to just be “spiritual” about everything and not participate in government or social change. I am definitely not suggesting that we totally separate ourselves from those with whom we disagree, living in a detached, unconcerned manner. I am also not suggesting that we withdraw from the political arena, allowing our culture and society to further degrade with no alternative provided.
When you look again at Paul’s words, you find that he is basing our victory on one thing: the love of Christ. He is admitting that trials will come, that we will find ourselves without, that we may even be persecuted, but even when they do, the ONE thing that matters, a relationship with Jesus Christ, will carry us through even when we cannot see victory anywhere around us.
Nothing, my friends, can separate you from the love of Christ. It is in that love, that relationship, that we overcome because we know that, as Paul stated in v. 28, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In ALL things, not just the good things, not just the seeming victories, but ALL things are worked for our good by our gracious and powerful Lord. That is where the victory lies. Even when we cannot see the resolution, we know that God is taking that situation and will use it to bless us as we follow him.
Take heart today because, if you are in Christ, you are more than a conqueror, and nothing can separate you from the God who loves you.

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