AUGUST 31

More Than Conquerors

Bible Reading: Romans 8

Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

No one would have deemed Jesus a conqueror and no one could have foreseen His ultimate triumph when the cosmic powers of this present darkness zealously were working towards His demise. One apparent defeat led to another and then another. The religious leaders had long conspired against Him. Then He was betrayed and was arrested. In His moment of need, He was abandoned by His closest friends, though they had promised to Him their undying allegiance. An unjust trial with lying witnesses led to His deliverance to the governor. Yet He refused to make any kind of defense. Given a choice, the crowds chose to release Barabbas instead of Him. And that same crowd was then incited by the leaders to cry out for His crucifixion. Any faint glimmer of hope which remained was soon eclipsed by the forthcoming events. He was scourged, stripped of His clothing, mocked as they adorned His head with a crown of thorns. They spat on Him and derided Him and led Him away to the cross. The Scriptures declare “cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree,” yet that’s exactly where He found Himself. He came to His own and His own received Him not. Instead, they mocked Him–the soldiers, the religious leaders, the thieves crucified with Him and those passing by. He was utterly alone and forsaken, and ultimately even abandoned by the One with whom He has shared eternity, who was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief. It was the most ghastly and horrific of scenes in all the annals of human history. And no human witness on that day could have imagined how any good could have come out of it. All was seemingly lost–the mission, the man, the hope for a deliverer. If it were a modern sporting event, the hometown crowd would have long before proceeded for the exits.

Yet, things are not always as they appear to be, and that’s especially true when we factor in God’s wisdom, omnipotence, and undying love.  The death of Christ on the cross was not a victory for the forces of evil at all–far from it–it was the very means by which their defeat was assured. Unwittingly, they had only worked “to do whatever (God’s) hand and (God’s) plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:28)!  There could be no greater defeat than if man had prevailed to murder his maker, but the grave was powerless to hold Him and a cursed cross soon gave way to an opened tomb, as doom and triumph traded places. History has witnessed no greater triumph than Calvary’s victory over sin, and death, and the devil himself!

So, the believer follows in the footsteps of Jesus.  To “suffer with Him” is the path to which they are all called (Romans 8:17).  And as with the Master, so it is with those who follow in His steps.  Every heavenward step is met with opposition.  The forces of evil are always working to tempt and accuse.  The narrow way is filled with peaks and valleys and unexpected turns.  Failures mount up.  Burdens grow.  Discouragement is either at hand or drawing near. Sometimes things look an awful lot like defeat, just as in Jesus’s case.  But even if all glimmer of hope might seem lost, it never truly is!  In His death and resurrection, Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them” (Colossians 2:15)!  His triumph is yours too!  You became more than a conqueror the moment you put your faith in Jesus!  No matter what comes your way in the here and now, no matter how bleak things might seem, you are forever victorious through Him who has loved you!  

VICTORY IN JESUS

I heard an old, old story how a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins and won the victory

Chorus: O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever!
He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him.
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood

I heard about His healing, of His cleansing pow’r revealing
How he made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit,”
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory. [Chorus]

I heard about a mansion he has built for me in glory,
And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing and the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory. [Chorus]

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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