We are more than Conquerors

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or trouble, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Just as it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We were regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:35-37

One of the most often asked questions when we talk about assurance is the possibility of falling away. This is a valid question not only theologically but existentially since when we look at our personal experience and daily situations, it seems to suggest that anytime we can fall away from the grace that brought us to Christ.

This is an argument from the human side: What if we fail?

Paul in the passage above intends to show that all of God’s elect will persevere and finally be glorified because of the preserving love of Christ

The hostile forces that might cause us to stumble and fall away

Paul initially lists seven things that might be the cause of the saints’ fall.

Tribulation. This is the idea of being pressed through hard circumstances of life. These are intense situations. For unbelievers, pressures will distract them away from Christ but for the believers, pressures will drive them more closely to Christ. He is their refuge & strength (Psalm 46:1).

Distress. This refers to a very narrow place great distress, anguish. From a compound of stenos and chora; narrowness of room, i.e. calamity., denoting situations where we feel we cannot escape. Marriage, commitments, workloads, family issues, etc. But Christ is able to make us endure in all of these.

Persecution – This pertains to the violence from the world that gives physical torments to the elect children of God. They are persecuted for Christ’s sake. Throughout the history, we have seen thousands were martyred for the Name of the Lamb who was slain. There can also be subtle ones (LGBT agenda & worldly ideologies), that are being advanced against the cause of the messenger and the message that he brings to the world.

Nevertheless, this will urge the believers to press on. The church is strongest when it is going through the harshest persecution. Christ prepared us for this when He says, “these things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Famine & hunger. Probably from the Greek word leipo which means a scarcity of food. So hunger will come. But the LORD gives our daily bread, not enough to keep us from death but enough for us to trust Him.

Nakedness. This is absolute poverty, But we should not focus on temporal things – Mt 6:31-33 (Parable of the sower – concerns of life can easily make an unbeliever fall away).

Peril. This refers to literal danger or risk that should accompany the servants of Christ. Paul himself experienced this in 2 Cor 11:26. God providentially protects us, He can use anything to rescue us from all of these though they are many (Psalm 34:19).

Sword. An emblem of death, war, punishment, and martyrdom. This is the ultimate persecution that a Christian may experience. Psalm 44:22 quoted in verse 36, according to Albert Barnes, the condition of saints in the time of the psalmist was similar to that of Christians in the time of Paul. The same language would express both. It quoting it, Paul is saying that the people of God have always been in the same condition when we seek to advance the message of our Sovereign LORD. That’s why in Hebrews 11:37, there were heroes of faith who were put to death by stoning; they were sawn in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted, and mistreated.

But in all these with Paul, we cry, But I consider my life of no value to me, if only I may finish my course and complete the ministry I have received from the Lord Jesus–the ministry of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24)

They will come to us because we are Christians. The Christian life is not a life without difficulties and struggles. We shall be beaten because of our loyalty to Christ. But we are more than conquerors.

We will encounter personal and impersonal forces, which can be more violent every day as we walk with the LORD. The challenge of the question we have above still stands, “How can we stand in all of these? Shall we fall away?”

The love of Christ that keeps us from stumbling and fall away

The personal forces are sandwiched between the statement of Christ’s love for His people, v. 35 …Who will separate us from the love of Christ? v. 37 …we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 

After what Christ has done for His people which guarantees that they will no longer be condemned, Paul’s question in verse 35 only has one obvious answer. No one! Matthew Henry with his astonishing conclusion after studying Romans 8 writes, God, having manifested his love in giving his own Son for us, can we think that anything should turn aside or do away that love? Troubles neither cause nor show any abatement of his love. Whatever believers may be separated from, enough remains. None can take Christ from the believer: none can take the believer from Him; and that is enough.

We must emphasize that this love is not for all but for His people alone. We go back to the demonstration of God’s love for us that even when we were unlovable and ungodly, His Son died for us (Romans 5:6-8).

If Christ loved us when we were ungodly, how much more now that we are in Him. This is the love of Christ. His love triumphs! Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph 5:25).

Paul said we are more than conquerors. It means to prevail mightily. From huper and nikao; to vanquish beyond, or to gain a decisive victory. It is not about our love for Christ, but His toward us. Can Christ’s love stand up to these tests? YES! Nothing can separate us from His love. Since Christ has already triumphed and the work of redemption has already been accomplished, the victory is secured! His omnipotent, preserving, persevering, and glorifying love wins!

We are more than conquerors, death included. Paul is ridiculing the challenge. Our weaknesses cannot weaken Christ’s love for us. We triumph because of Christ’s love.

These remind us of the nature of our pilgrimage on earth. We are strangers; we do not belong in this world. We will be forced to look upon the coming glory.

These remind us that we are God’s people. These remind us of our sanctification, that it is good, and even better, that we are afflicted. Because in that way, we learn to know His will more and more, we learn to humble ourselves before His providential care (Psalm 119:71).

We glory in tribulation. The NASB translators are even more exhilarated in saying that we celebrate our tribulation, And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance. (Romans 5:3)

As sufferings increase, the comfort of God increases all the more. Yes, we struggle, we go through lots of pains and heartaches but our comfort is abundant through Christ (2 Corinthians 1:5). Whatever we experience in this life are light and momentary afflictions (2 Cor 4:17-18). What? You may ask. “My firstborn son died.” “We lost our house.” “I lost my job.” “My mom died because of COVID-19.” “Is it a light?” Yes, dear Christian! It is light and temporary compare to far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Don’t fix your eyes upon your present situation. Mourn for it, but at the same rejoice! Because that is not your eternal portion, Christ is!

My sister-in-law shared this quote from C.H. Spurgeon which strikes at the heart of our affliction on earth that might cause us to fall away,

The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God’s method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter... By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh, think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God’s plan; they are necessary parts of it. “We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom.” (Acts 14:22)

Thomas Browning writes, “The cup of afflictions for the gospel is the deeper the sweeter.” Oh, beloved children of God, taste and see that the LORD is good. Jesus tasted and drank the cup of God’s wrath that you will not fall away and suffer under the wrath of the Almighty in hell! His love keeps us from falling away. Rest in that truth! Cling to Him!

You who have not the love of Christ, your life is empty without Him. You may be enjoying your best life now but you will suffer the worst in the hand of the angry God later. Surrender yourself to Jesus! He shed His blood on the cross that you may not only escape the affliction of this world but that you may also have shelter from the wrath to come. Repent and trust in Christ alone!


Note: This blog post is based on our Pastor’s expository series in the book of Romans.

Cover photo by Schäferle from Pixabay.com

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

3 thoughts on “We are more than Conquerors

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