Image of Craig StalderMore than Conquerors – Romans 8:35-39

Christians are not immune to the sufferings of this broken world. We still may face cancer, relationship difficulties, chronic illnesses, depression, and death – just like everyone else.

Indeed, God tells us in His Word that Christians should not be surprised when they face sufferings. Paul teaches “we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Jesus describes the Christian life as taking up a cross and following him (Matt 16:24). Christians should expect to suffer in this life. And these sufferings can feel defeating.

Which begs the question of Romans 8: How are we ‘more than conquerors’ when suffering feels so defeating? Paul writes to encourage the believers in Rome that, though we have sinned against God and deserve condemnation, God has loved us and made a way for us to be right with himself through Jesus’s death on the cross.

Which leads Paul to question God’s love in light of our suffering in 8:35: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” In other words, here is a list of awful sufferings Christians may face in this life – will any of these be able to separate us from God’s love? Paul answers in 8:37 with a resounding “NO!” He says these things cannot separate us from God’s love. Rather, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.”

A conqueror is someone who defeats their enemy. Not just stalls the attack but crushes it to the ground in victory. However, Paul says Christians are more than conquerors – what does that mean? If a conqueror defeats their enemy – one who is ‘more than a conqueror’ turns their enemy into a slave. A conqueror stops the enemy, one who is ‘more than a conqueror’ uses the enemy to serve their own purposes.

What does this mean for us as Christians as we face our enemies of hardship, persecutions, danger, or death? It means what Paul says in Romans 8:28 “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It means that our sufferings may be painful and inevitable, as Christians, but they are never wasted. God uses them for our ultimate good in Christ.

When Satan attacks us with temptation – God is using it to grow us in self-control and reliance upon him (2 Cor 12:7-10). When we face sufferings that cause us to despair – God is using them to produce in us “perseverance, character; and…hope” (Rom 5:3, 4). Even in our darkest hour as we face the final enemy of death – God is using death as a gateway into eternal joy with Him which is “better by far” (Phil 1:23). No enemy in this life, that threatens our faith in God, is “able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:39). Friends, as face the troubles of tomorrow let us face them with confidence that “in all these things we are more than conquerors” because of the victory Jesus has already won on the cross which will be fully realised in the near future.

Your brother in Christ, Craig Stalder