There is no experience we go through in life that is new to mankind. Like the book of Ecclesiastes says, nothing is new under the sun. It is encouraging to know that God’s love for us transcends all our problems and experiences in life, whether good or bad. Despite our problems, God’s love is so overwhelming! Christ’s love for us motivates us to be patient in trials and difficulties, to overcome and not quit.
No one is more capable of speaking about God’s love in times of difficulties and trials than Paul who was a victim to trials, persecutions and sufferings. We often doubt if God truly loves us when we are going through sufferings. But Paul, in Romans 8:31-39, urges us to stay on course and be victorious in trials because the overwhelming love of God is transcendent.
Just consider the build up to Paul’s argument as if he was in a law court. Four times from verses 31 to 35 He raises four questions starting with “what” and “who.” First, in verse 31, he asked, “what shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? The word, “if” should read, “‘Since’ God is for us…” Certainly, since God is for us, all who try to be against us will fail. Which adversary can stand against us when God is beside us? Obviously none.
Second, in verse 33, he asked, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” We know that no one has the power to bring any accusation against us since God has declared us “not guilty” because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, Paul asked, “Who is he that condemneth?” It is Satan who condemns us. He is the accuser of the brethren who is always trying to condemn us. But his condemnation amounts to nothing because as Paul argues Christ died, rose and is presently on the right hand of God interceding for us. Be it in the past or in the present, Christ has absolved us of any condemnation.
MORE THAN CONQUERORS
Paul’s fourth question is our main interest and focus in this discourse. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” These are common earthly problems that make one deny Christ. Many deny their faith when they go through problems. Ironically, in some cases the attitude of the non-Christian to the problems of life is different. For some non-Christians, challenges are stepping stones to higher pedestals in life.
Why must a Christian’s attitude to trials and suffering be different? It is the knowledge and conviction that God’s love for us transcends our suffering and trials. God’s love helps us to be patient in trials and to strive to overcome through faith. Paul in verse 37, says we can be “more than conquerors” in the trials of life. The phrase, “more than conquerors” means to be “overwhelmingly victorious” through Christ. Yes, in life we can be “overwhelmingly victorious.”
In verse 38, he declares his persuasion about the transcendence of God’s love over the problems of life. “For I am persuaded….” The word “persuaded” is a very strong word. It means a strong conviction. We must be convinced of God’s love for us despite the trials we go through in life.
THE NEED FOR OVERCOMERS
Christ did not die on the cross in order to breed lily-livered believers, but to give birth to overcomers; those who can enforce the victory of Calvary in their daily living. The apostle John captures this fact this way: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world- our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” As was written to the seven churches in Asia, so it is today, God is in search of overcomers, “to him that overcomes…” We must live like overcomers otherwise the Devil will make a mincemeat of us.
In summary, Paul’s argument in Romans 8:31-39, runs like this: If God so loves us, if his love for us is this much, then he will sustain us and make a way for us through our sufferings. If Christ, through his death, has made us more than conquerors in trials, distress and tribulations, then we must not settle for anything less. Let us by faith live like overcomers in word and in deed.