More Than Conquerors–Part 1

More Than Conquerors–Part 1  (Romans 8:26-39) 
How’s it possible for Christians to be more than conquerors?  Paul answers this question in Romans 8–one of the most doctrinally rich and far-reaching passages in the Bible.   One key verse is Romans 8:37 “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (NASB).  From this, we understand the root, reasons, and responsibilities of our complete victory.  I’ll talk about the root and reasons this week.       
The root, or source, of our spiritual victories is the Trinity:  God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf.  Paul discusses how: 1) God intercedes because He knows our hearts and the mind of the Holy Spirit (Psalms 139:1 and Romans 8:27), 2) Jesus intercedes to replace the condemnation for the penalty of sin with righteousness (Romans 8:1-10 and Romans 8:34),  and 3) the Holy Spirit intercedes to clarify content and motives behind prayers (Romans 8:26). In short, God planned our salvation, Jesus provides our salvation, and the Holy Spirit preserves our salvation.  

In addition, there are reasons behind and for our spiritual victories.  First, we are influenced by the saving, keeping, and protecting power of God.  Romans 8:37 begins with “But in all these things” which refers to our struggles and solutions involving spiritual warfare mentioned earlier in Romans 8.  This is followed by a dynamic phrase “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Brannan clarifies that the “overwhelmingly conquer” is derived from the Greek verb hypernikaō which means to “prevail completely.” 1 In other words, our victory through the power of God will not occur by a close margin or by dumb luck!  We should not rob God of His glory by diminishing the results or falsely declaring how we barely made it through.  

Second, spiritual victories also occur because of Christians’ perseverance powered by the Holy Spirit.   In Philippians 3:7-14, the Apostle Paul likens the Christian experience to that of a race in which we are athletes striving to finish and win the eternal prize of eternal life with Christ.  What athlete receives a reward without competing? Who starts a race, stops, and thinks that their short-term effort leads to a winning prize? 

Third, God ensures our overwhelming spiritual victories in order to increase our faith and dependency on Him.  This is revealed in Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Regarding this verse, R.C. Sproul highlights the significance of distinguishing between proximate good and ultimate good.  In summary, proximate good speaks to our immediate feelings and reactions to circumstances as they occur. Ultimate good refers to our feelings and reactions to circumstances after they occur and through the eyes of God who only wants what’s best for us.  

Seems confusing?  Let’s look at an example involving a person who gets into a car accident and is rushed to the hospital.  The attending emergency physician treats the patient and also shares the Gospel message. Afterward, the patient accepts Christ as their saviour. Was this a good experience?  The patient would argue that experiencing the car accident was not proximately good because of their pain and trauma. However, the experience was for their ultimate good because this event lead to their salvation.
It pleases God when we understand the root and reasons for our spiritual victories.  Next week, I will discuss our responsibilities while and experiencing these same spiritual victories.
1  Brannan, Rick. The Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament.  Lexham Press, 2011.  Digital.

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