Sunday, July 26, 2009

More Than Conquerers

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.
Romans 8:36-39

This is a pretty well-known passage to many Christians. Our pastor even had Romans 8 as a focus of his sermon today. But do we really understand this? Have we really thought about what it means? defines "conqueror" as: a person who conquers or vanquishes; victor. Okay, that's pretty easy to understand. A conqueror is someone who defeats the bad guy, wins a contest, and generally succeeds in a struggle or battle. But we could just say "winner" for the same thing, so we need to understand what it means to conquer. Going back to
1. to acquire by force of arms; win in war: to conquer a foreign land.
2. to overcome by force; subdue: to conquer an enemy.
3. to gain, win, or obtain by effort, personal appeal, etc.: conquer the hearts of his audience.
4. to gain a victory over; surmount; master; overcome: to conquer disease and poverty; to conquer one's fear.

Really this refers to something won during a fight, battle, or other very tough circumstance. You don't conquer something that's easy. Conquering something is hard and forceful. And it also implies that you didn't just win, but you thoroughly vanquished the issue or problem to where it can't come back up again. Make sense? Everyone with me so far?

So what does Paul mean when he says that we are more than conquerors? I mean, conquering something is pretty big. How can you be even more than that? If being a conqueror places you at the top of the heap, where are you if you are more than that?

I think it goes back to the rest of the passage. We are only more than conquerors through Christ's love. We win and succeed by his love. But we are even more than that because nothing...absolutely, positively, nothing can take us away from that love! We not only have victory in Christ, but we have everything else in Him also.

Can we win because of Jesus? Yes! Can we do anything through the strength that God gives us? The Bible explicitly says so. But we are even greater than all of that, because God loves us so much that once He accepts us and once we are changed, nothing at all in this world can take that away. That's what makes this so powerful. God loves us before we are cleansed of sin by Christ's blood. And once we accept His sacrifice and let the Holy Spirit work in us, nobody and nothing can take it away. No matter what this world throws at us, we will always and forever have that love and assurance.

Pretty powerful stuff.

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