Scripture: Romans 8:31-39
Key Verse: (37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Reflection: Paul writes his letter to the Romans during Nero’s turbulent reign, when Christians had many reasons to worry and feel defeated — even more fear for their life. In the century before Paul wrote this letter, Rome was in the midst of a bloody civil war, resulting in the republic form of government being replaced by an empire ruled by emperors. In light of all these things Rome endured and witnessed, and all these things the Christians in Rome endured and witnessed, it is interesting that Paul’s statement about being “more than conquerors” came in this letter to this place. Rome, its citizens, and the Christians living there had seen many “conquerors.”
Yet, Paul claims these Roman Christians are more than conquerors “in all these things.” These things that Paul refers to have been personally experienced by him: hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword. But through all these difficulties and tribulations, Paul knew that, because he was loved by God and was called according to God’s purpose, “all things work together for good” (v.28). It is by God’s grace and love found in our Savior Jesus Christ we are called conquerors. In and through and because of our identity in Christ, we are conquerors of sin and death. I wonder what difficulties you are currently facing in your world. I wonder how might knowing God loves you and calls you God’s beloved child may bless you in the midst of stress.
Henri Nouwen, in a collection of journal entries The Inner Voice of Love, describes what claiming and accepting this identity as conqueror and child of God can do in our life.
“Your true identity is as a child of God. This is the identity you have to accept. Once you have claimed it and settled in it, you can live in a world that gives you much joy as well as pain. You can receive the praise as well as the blame that comes to you as an opportunity for strengthening your basic identity, because the identity that makes you free is anchored beyond all human praise and blame. You belong to God, and it is as a child of God that you are sent into the world.”
May you hold on to the knowledge of God’s love for you, feel the embrace as a beloved child of God, and in Christ be a more than a conqueror through peace, grace, and mercy.
Prayer: I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. I am your beloved child O God. Help me to claim this identity and accept that I am loved, knowing that nothing in this world or beyond this world can separate me from your love. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].