Text: Romans 8 (Read it here)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8.1-2, NIV)
More than Conquerors
Author: Matthew Killough
Conquer is not a word that we use much these days. I can’t remember the last time my neighbor mowed his yard and shouted loud enough for all to hear, “And that, my friends, is how you conquer Bermuda grass!” Perhaps you have over heard your co-works brag at the Keurig coffee maker, “I conquered those TPS reports like Genghis Kahn, SERIOUSLY!” However, at my office we just don’t hear that word much. Now, we are all very familiar with winning. Sports teams and participants are conditioned to win at almost any cost. The ability to win has even become very lucrative, as professional athletes across the globe are often millionaires.
So when we read Paul’s words to the Romans that we are “more than conquerors” we think we know what Paul is talking about: it must be winning. I beg to differ! Trust me, no one knew more about conquering than the Romans. Of course you know all about Julius Caesar conquering the known world and how his nephew, Octavian, brought peace to the Roman Empire through roads and the Roman army. But did you know that the Greek word that Paul uses for “conqueror” is actually made of two words: hyper and nike. Of course hyper means “above, beyond, more than.” And nike simply means “victory”. So when Paul uses the Greek word for conqueror he is literally saying that in all things we have a hyper-victory. However this victory does not mean the destruction of our enemies. Paul goes on to say that the hyper-victory is the fact that nothing: neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do you feel estranged from God’s love? Has someone or some situation left you feeling as though God cannot reach you? Instead of knowing the victory that Paul proclaims in Romans chapter eight, you wonder if you were ever a conqueror at all. Let me assure you that these things are temporary. Even when we feel as though we are too weak to pray the Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us (8:26). This is the glorious victory that overcomes the world!
How scary is God to you? Can you think of a time in your life—perhaps now—when you feared that God would punish you or was perhaps anxiously waiting for you to make a mistake so he could smite you? How did you arrive at this conclusion as to the nature of God?
How does Paul’s statement that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus contrast or compare to your thinking in the previous question? How reassuring is this fact to you as you try to live your faith? In what ways do you still try to include a “but…” to this statement, as in, “There is no condemnation, but…”
How does the knowledge of God’s salvation coming through the power of his Son, not through your own power, alter how you attempt to live a life for God? In what ways does this actually make your life easier, and yet at the same time, a more powerful witness to God’s power at work in your life?