Here is Love: Romans 8:37 For Your Consideration

Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

All of the questions, pushbacks, and opposition that Paul was facing with teaching this one particular truth of God as a through but simple exposition of Christ’s own words when He said:

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” 1

Now you would think that people, especially devout Christians, would welcome this bold and declarative statement of our own Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with great affection upon our hearts and great peace for our souls. Sad to say, there are many Christians today who would vehemently contend that, yes, it is certainly possible for one person to lose their salvation.

Why would one teach such a thing when the Bible teaches something, not that. When I read the Bible, I don’t see that at all. In fact, in the face of great tribulation, distress or persecution, I see Christians who hold fast to Christ. I read about the martyrs of our faith, who have murdered for refusing to proclaim anyone else but Christ is Lord and that all started with the Apostles themselves who all (but John) died horrific deaths at the cost of the gospel.

The world calls that insanity or delusional.

Christians know this not as a truth that can be selected from a multiple choice test of truths but rather absolute truth. It is not a mere “what is true for you is only true for you” but rather Jesus Christ, who lived, died, rose again, and ascended to heaven, is in fact ruling and reigning over all of creation demand everyone and everything to repent from their sin and put all of their trust in Him alone.

Now, some of you who know Christian history know for every martyr burned at the stake, many did deny Jesus to save their own lives. What about them?  Did you know that one of the discussions in the church were whether or not to allow these people back into the fellowship of believers? Now, what each individual church decided, I do not know. However, just as Christ said:

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 2

and further prophecies that Peter himself would not just deny Christ once but three times 3, but it was the same Christ in John 21 who called and confirmed Peter not once but three times.

So what about now? We have so many people who grew up in churches who then decide to turn away and live their lives as their own.

And we would say, “I have seen them move in the power of the Spirit. How can they be not saved before?” To which I would state that the author of Hebrews already addressed this:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 4

to explain what Christ said:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ 5

I say this never to say “once saved always saved.” I am not even going to try to explain it away by giving the excuse of “perhaps they were not saved, to begin with” as though I had the God-alone power that searches and knows the hearts and minds of every person in the world because I do not.

I would say with my own testimony that I know this to be true.

I was saved by God back in 2007.  It was in a realization of God’s love he had for every person I have ever known including my mother who abandoned me, my father who sexually abused me, and my stepmother who aided in that abuse all up to and including this young woman I watch in a porn video not 15 minutes before God saved me. God at that moment gave me a new heart and his Spirit and among so many things, freed me from a crippling addiction to pornography.

But not ten years later, after going through additional emotional abuse that included manipulation, coercion, co-dependency, and attempts to control, I was prepared to spend the rest of my life as a lukewarm Christian. That is, doing what I want and barely participating in his work. Even when God had granted me sweet peace from this abuse, I simply was content to walk away and live the rest of my life not pursuing and even desiring God.

But you see, God is Father. And being that He is our Father, He alone is Perfect. The logical conclusion is that the perfect Father in heaven does not lose his kids. In that same vein, God sent three saints (I call them ‘prophets’) to come after my soul. I call them ‘prophets’ because God the Father send them out with the Holy Spirit within them called out three things in me. One, God has healed your mind, heart, and soul. Two, if you go in the direction you are going, you will head into despair. And three, God has called you to stay where you are at and continue the good work of healing and restoration that Christ has started in you.

When I heard my dear lovely friends’ sweet words contending for my soul, I repented. I repented of my sin, lust, foolishness, and destructive behavior and yet once again, I turned to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

Now, I don’t necessarily need to hear any other testimonies and stories to know that all of us Christians are weak. Weak in faith, weak in the spirit, and weak in our flesh. We even sing this in little children’s song, to which I correctly sing, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, we are weak, but he is strong.”

But if that is being the case, the fact that we are weak, how on earth does Paul call us not only ‘conquerors’ but ‘more than conquerors.’ To add even further insult to injury, the term that Paul uses here ‘more than,’ he uses one other time in 2nd Corinthians 4:17-18 which some translations use the phrase “beyond all comparison” or if you grew up with the King James Version, those translators use the phrase, “far more and exceeding.” Yes, the Apostle Paul has the audacity to call us, little weak children, “far more and exceeding conquerors”! How can this be?

My friends, we do not wage war against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 6 This is not a battlefield that you or I have ever seen in wartime nor even in history books nor video games. It is a war that God started not with a warhorn blasting through the sky but with a simple righteous declaration of redemption and restoration:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 7

And when the saints of God, after going 400 years without hearing a prophet of God, heard the voice of John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, “Make the straight the way of the Lord!”

And then the final battle cry that is the gospel of Jesus Christ, who commanded and marched toward the final decisive battle, to the place, Golgotha, the place of skulls, where the fate of the world rested on the outcome.

Jesus makes his intentions well-known:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 8

Jesus Christ, the Commander of the Most High, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, begins his perfect, unbeatable, unstoppable, conquering juggernaut not towards overthrowing some pitiful Greco-Roman empire but rather to His cross where he died for each of those whom he predestined, called, justified and glorified.

His path to the cross was paved with the mounds of defeated demons to his left and his right. It was at the foot of the cross where Satan was removed from power once and for all. More than that, it was at the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea where our sins were buried and Death itself received the fatal death-wound.

Jesus Christ is the Almighty Conquerer who loved us.

Jesus Christ did all of that but then audaciously declared that every one of his followers who would have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And therefore, we would go on to do greater works than the works of the Almighty Conqueror.

It is not because we are strong that makes us more than conquerors.

It is only because of God sovereignly and graciously calls us by the power of the Holy Spirit through the bloodshed body of Jesus Christ our Lord that we behold the title, “Far more and exceeding conquerors through Christ who loved us!”

Notes:

  1. John 10:28–30
  2. Luke 12:8–9
  3. John 13:38;  18:25-27
  4. Hebrews 6:4–6
  5. Matthew 7:21–23
  6. Ephesians 6:12
  7. Genesis 3:15
  8. Matthew 10:34

Now Sings My Soul: Psalm 23:5c My Cup Overflows

My Lord, I am reminded of all of your sweet blessings. You are my inheritance. You are my portion. You are my lot. Because you are my Christ, the Son of God, in whom is my All-of-all. My God, you have called me into your family and I share my inheritance. But just as you drank from the cup, I gladly and with great joy drink from the cup. I am yours and your are my Beloved forever. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being my everything.

Mark 10:46-52 God Alone Receives Those Who Cannot See Him

Mark 10:46-52 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

Luke 18:9-14 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Psalm 51:16-17
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
          you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
     The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
          a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

  1. How can we see God and know God?
  2. Who opens our eyes to God?
  3. Can we see God without God?
  4. What is God wanting from us?

The Lord’s Prayer: On Earth As Is It In Heaven

Psalm 73:21–26
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

My Lord,

We sit and yearn and pray for You to come back, Lord Jesus. Come back and take us home. We want for our hopes, wants, dreams and desires to be in You alone. This is what separates believers from the unbeliever: we hope and trust that You will make all things right-standing with You. We have read Your promises and we earnestly believe in them. The weight of sin and the weight of a broken universe are too much to bear. Our backs are broken from under the heavy load. Our eyes sting from the sweat of this intense labor. Our muscles twitch in a mere moment from collapsing, because we can bear it no more.

This momentary moment of affliction racks our souls with the sharpest and more torturous pain. This sufferings of this present time are simply too much.

Yet, You called us. And by Your Spirit, we cry out—through rivers of tears, streams of pain and mountains of our sin—have mercy on me, Lord Jesus.

You have chosen us so that You could reveal us to Your Father. You told us as You held out Your hand, “Come to me, those under the weight of back-breaking sin, and I will give You perfect peace and soothing rest. Here, take my holiness, my righteousness, my obedience, my perfection, my grace, my mercy, my faithfulness and my love upon You, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and You will find rest for Your souls. For my weight is easy, and my workload is light.” 1

In that tearful and joyful declaration, You made an exchange for us. You are Creator God as You have exchanged Yourself for our created, faulty, deadly, unholy, dying gods. Sinless and blameless Lamb exchanges Himself for sin-filled wicked people who are far from Him. You did this for us: for Your glory and our joy. You did this for our sake, let me repeat, our sake. In that our Father made You be our sin when You never had sinned so that in You we might be the righteousness of You 2.

O Father, Your creation cries out in bondage to corruption. All of the earth and the universe wait upon You to finish Your work in the adoption of Your sons. Because we have the firstfruits of Your Spirit, we cry and groan with all of creation 3.

Yet, you are holy, holy, holy. The earth is filled with Your glory!  And because You are holy and You declare us to be Yours, we are now holy because of You. 4

Therefore, in light of what You have done for me, in me and through me, shall I consider the sufferings of this present time are worth comparing to the glory that You will reveal to me 5?  No!

Yet, in the light of all that You are and what You have declared Yourself, is this momentary affliction preparing me for Your eternal weight of glory, which is beyond all comparison 6?  Yes!

Now that I love You and You love me, can I ask a question?  So no matter what happens to me, I do know that You will make all things work together for my good because you called me according to Your purpose? Yes! 7

Because You have foreknew me before the beginning of time and You have predestined me to be Yours, will you conform me to the image of Your Son so that He might be called the first of my many brothers and sisters?  Yes!  8

Now, if you have predestined me, have you called me to life, joy and pleasures that can only be found in You forevermore? 9  Yes!

If you have called me to life, joy and pleasures in You, have you justified me in your sight by exchanging my sin for your righteousness? Yes!

If you have justified me in your sight, do I get to be with you, look upon your lovely face and dwell in your glory forever? Yes! 10

Then who can be against me when You are for me and when You have not spared Your own Son but instead gave Him up for me and graciously gave me all things? 11  No one!

Who can bring any charge against me when You have foreknew me, predestined me, elected me, called me and declared me “Justified” in You? 12 No one!

Who can condemn me when it is Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at Your right hand and who is interceding and praying for me at this very moment? 13 No one!

Who can separate me from the love of Your Son even when it was adamantly declared that we are being killed all the day long, for Your sake, and we are slaughtered like sheep by likes of tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword of this world? No one! 14

So, is there anything in all of creation that can separate me from Your love, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord?  No! 15

Then, my Lord and my God, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

“Fear not, then the darkest cloud, nor the proudest waves, nor the deepest wants,—in these very things you shall, through Christ, prove triumphant. Nor shrink from the battle with “last enemy”. Death received a death-wound when Christ died. You face a conquered foe. He stands at your side a crownless king, and waving a broken spectre. Your death shall be another victory over the believer’s last foe. Planting your foot of faith upon his prostrate neck, you shall spring into glory, more than a conqueror, through him that loved you. Thus passing to glory in triumph, you shall go to swell the ranks of the “noble army of martyrs”—those Christian heroes of whom it is recorded, “THEY OVERCAME HIM BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.” 16

Notes:

  1. Matthew 11:25-30
  2. 2 Corinthians 5:21
  3. Romans 8:19-23
  4. Isaiah 6:3, Romans 9:26, 1 Peter 1:16 cf. Leviticus 11:44
  5. Romans 8:19
  6. 2 Corinthians 4:17
  7. Romans 8:28
  8. Romans 8:29
  9. Romans 8:28-30; Psalm 16:11
  10. Romans 8:30; Psalm 17:15
  11. Romans 8:31-32
  12. Romans 8:33
  13. Romans 8:34
  14. Romans 8:35-36
  15. Romans 8:39
  16. Winslow, Octavius. No Condemnation in Christ Jesus. Banner of Truth Trust, 1853.