Tuesday, July 14, 2009
more than conquerors
Our focus verses for the Mega Sports Camp are Romans 8:37-39. I am choosing to review these verses as I memorized them years ago. This is not the expectation of our program--it's what I am doing.
The first phrase is, " No, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. "No," is the first phrase. So, what is the context that requires a "no" answer? What question or questions do the previous verses present?
Who can be against us?
Who will bring a charge against us?
Who is to condemn us?
Who shall separate us from the love of God?
Verses 33-36 reveal the historical context for the readers of the great Epistle to the Romans. The church body is under oppressive suffering. They were facing condemnation, judgment, danger, and real death because of their stand for the Kingdom of God. Are we to submit to cruel pressure, be considered as sheep to be slaughtered, for no purpose?
In the midst of an incredible strategy to aggressively pull us away from the Lord, Paul presents remarkable verses about the finished and eternal work of Christ for every believer:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
With his hands raised in praise, in all these things, Paul shouts out "No...there is nothing that will ever separate us from His love. "We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Conqueror is from the Greek hyper+nike meaning to conquer, overcome, carry off the victory.
Christian Conquerors recognize oppressive chains and gain the victory by being humbly surrendered to Christ at the foot of the cross. The conqueror repents. The conqueror knows God's purpose is to worship and praise his Commander-in-Chief.
Ray Steadman stated, "The conqueror takes the worst that life can throw and uses that to become victorious...takes those things designed to destroy him, and they become stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks."
So, the genuine Christian life involves sometimes really dangerous warfare. The victories are gained "through Him who loved us." The stressed believer is loved, the focused object of God's deep care and affection.
I shared all these things at the RJC, today, and hope to communicate them at the church, this week.