Amplified: Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ICB: But in all these things we have full victory through God who showed His love for us. (ICB: Nelson)
KJV: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
NLT: No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: No, in all these things we win an overwhelming victory through him who has proved his love for us. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: But in these things, all of them, we are coming off constantly with more than the victory through the One who loved us. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
Jew and Gentile
|Demonstration of Salvation|
|Power Given||Promises Fulfilled||Paths Pursued|
Restored to Israel
|Slaves to Sin||Slaves to God||Slaves Serving God|
|Life by Faith||Service by Faith|
Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"
BUT IN ALL THESE THINGS WE OVERWHELMINGLY CONQUER: all en toutois pasin hupernikomen (1PPAI): (2Chr 20:25, 26, 27; Isa 25:8; 1Cor 15:54,57; 2Co 2:14; 12:9,19; 1Jn 4:4; 5:4,5; Rev 7:9,10; 11:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 12:11; 17:14; 21:7)
But (KJV = "nay") (235) (alla) marks contrast or opposition. Paul is introducing something contrary to all that might have been expected. See discussion of importance of pausing to ponder this term of contrast.
In all these things - Paul is not overlooking one thing! Note carefully in the midst of the tribulation, in the midst of the distress, etc (Ro 8:35, 36-see notes Ro 8:35; 36), the following is still true.
Denny comments that Paul has just mentioned a list of trials and a descriptive summation of them from Psalm 44:22 and now is saying "these trials no only do not cut us off from Christ's love, they actually give us more intimate and thrilling experiences of it. (Romans 8 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)
Hodge - In these verses the apostle’s confidence is expressed in the strongest language. He heaps words together to show the absolute inability of all created things, separately or together, to frustrate the purpose of God or to turn away his love from those whom he has determined to save. (Romans 8 - Hodge's Commentary on Romans)
Newell exclaims "What a wonderful book this Word of God is! "Sheep for slaughter" naming themselves more than conquerors!"
Haldane - The sufferings of believers above enumerated, which, as the Apostle had just shown, verify the truth of the ancient predictions of the word of God, shall not separate them from the love of Christ, but, on the contrary, are to them the sources of the greatest benefits. In the Apostle Peter we see the weakness of all human affection and resolutions ("Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You." All the disciples said the same thing too. - Mt 26:35). All the glory, then, of this victory which we obtain is to be ascribed solely to God; for it is He who is at our right hand, and who supports us in all our afflictions. In the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, the Lamb, who is Jesus Christ, is represented as combating against the enemies of His Church (Re 17:14-note). He is our shield, our rock, and our refuge. It is declared that we are “kept (as in a garrison) by the power of God,” 1Pe 1:5 (see notes), in order that we may not presume on our own strength, or attribute to ourselves the glory of our preservation; but that we may keep our eyes fixed upon Him who, with His outstretched arm, conducts us to the heavenly Canaan. (Haldane, R. An Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans)
Spurgeon takes us back to the previous verses in the opening remarks of his sermon on Romans 8:37…
Look attentively at the champion. It needs no stretch of imagination to conceive this place to be a Roman amphitheatre. There in the midst of the arena stands the hero. The great doors of the lion’s dens are lifted up by machinery, and as soon as the lairs are open, rushing forth with fury come bears and lions, and wild beasts of all kinds, that have been starved into ferocity, with which the champion is to contend. Such was the Christian in Paul’s day, such is he now. The world is the theater of conflict: angels and devils look on; a great cloud of witnesses view the fight-and monsters are let loose against him, with whom he must contend triumphantly.
The apostle gives us a little summary of the evils with which we must fight, and he places first, “tribulation.”
The word “tribulation,” in the Latin, signifies threshing, and God’s people are often cast upon the threshing-floor to be beaten with the heavy flail of trouble; but they are more than conquerors, since they lose nothing but their straw and chaff, and the pure wheat is thus separated from that which was of no benefit to it. The original Greek word, however, suggests pressure from without. It is used in the case of persons who are bearing heavy burdens, and are heavily pressed upon. Now, believers have had to contend with outward circumstances more or less in all ages. At the present day, there are very few who do not at some time or other in their lives meet with outward pressure, either from sickness or from loss of goods, or from bereavements, or from some other of the thousand and one causes from which affliction springs. The Christian has not a smooth pathway. “In the world, ye shall have tribulation,” is a sure promise, which never fails of fulfillment. But under all burdens, true believers have been sustained, no afflictions have ever been able to destroy their confidence in God. It is said of the palm-tree, that the more weights they hang upon it the more straight and the more lofty doth it tower towards heaven; and it is so with the Christian. Like Job, he is never so glorious as when he has passed through the loss of all things, and at last rises from his dunghill more mighty than a king. Brethren, you must expect to meet with this adversary so long as you are here; and if you now suffer the pressure of affliction, remember you must overcome it, and not yield to it. Cry unto the strong for strength, that your tribulation may work out for you patience, and patience experience, and experience hope that maketh not ashamed.
The next in the list is “distress.” I find that the Greek word rather refers to mental grief than to anything external. The Christian suffers from external circumstances; but this is probably a less affliction than internal woe. “Straitness of place” is something like the Greek word. We sometimes get into a position in which we feel as if we could not move, and are not able to turn to the right hand or to the left: the way is shut up; we see no deliverance, and our own consciousness of feebleness and perplexity is unbearably terrible. Do you never get into this state in which your mind is distracted, you know not what to do; you cannot calm and steady yourself; you would if you could consider calmly the conflict, and then enter into it like a man with all his wits about him; but the devil and the world, outward trial and inward despondency combined, toss you to and fro like the waves of the sea, till you are, to use John Bunyan’s Saxon expression, “much tumbled up and down in your mind.” Well, now, if you are a genuine Christian, you will come out of this all right enough. You will be more than a conqueror over mental distress. You will take this burden as well as every other to your Lord, and cast it upon him; and the Holy Ghost, whose office it is to be the Comforter, will say to the troubled waves of your heart, “Be still.” Jesus shall say, as he walks the tempest of your soul, “It is I, be not afraid;” and though the outward tribulation and the inward distress meet together like two contending seas, they shall both be calmed by the power of the Lord Jesus.
The third evil the apostle mentions is “persecution,” which has always fallen upon the genuine lovers of Christ; their good name has been slandered. I should blush to repeat the villanies which have been uttered against the saints of the olden times. Suffice it to say, there is no crime in the category of vice which has not been falsely laid to the door of the followers of the pure and holy Jesus. Yet slander did not crush the church; the fair name of Christianity outlived the reputation of the men who had the effrontery to accuse her. Imprisonment followed slander, but in prisons God’s saints have sung like birds in cages, better than when they were in the fields of open liberty. Prisons have glowed into palaces, and been sanctified into the dwelling places of God himself, more sacred far than all the consecrated domes of gorgeous architecture. Persecution has sometimes taken to banishing the saints, but in their banishment they have been at home, and when scattered far and wide, they have gone everywhere preaching the word, and their scattering has been the gathering together of others of the elect. When persecution has even resorted to the most cruel torments, God has had many a sweet song from the rack. The joyful notes of holy Lawrence, broiling upon the gridiron, must have been more sweet to God than the songs of cherubims and seraphims, for he loved God more than the brightest of them, and proved it in his bitterest anguish; and holy Mr. Hawkes, when his lower extremities were burnt, and they expected to see him fall over the chain into the fire, lifted his flaming hands, each finger spurting fire, and clapped them three times, with the shout of “None but Christ, none but Christ!” God was honored more by that burning man than even by the ten thousand times ten thousand who ceaselessly hymn his praises in glory. Persecution, in all its forms, has fallen upon the Christian church, and up to this moment it has never achieved a triumph, but it has been an essential benefit to the church, for it cleared her of hypocrisy; when cast into the fire the pure gold lost nothing but its dross and tin, which it might well be glad to lose.
Then the apostle adds “famine.” We are not exposed to this evil so much nowadays; but, in Paul’s time, those who were banished, frequently were carried to places where they could not exercise their handicraft to earn their bread. They were taken away from their situations, from their friends, from their acquaintance; they suffered the loss of all their goods, and consequently they did not know where to find even the necessary sustenance for their bodies; and no doubt there are some now who are great losers by their conscientious convictions-who are called to suffer, in a measure, even famine itself. Then, the devil whispers, “You ought to look after your house and children; you must not follow your religion so as to lose your bread.” Ah! my friend, we shall then see whether you have the faith that can conquer famine; that can look gaunt hunger in the face; look through the ribs of the skeleton, and yet say, “Ah! famine itself I will bear sooner than sell my conscience, and stain my love to Christ.”
Then comes nakedness, another terrible form of poverty. The Christian banished from house to house, and prevented from working at his trade, was not able to procure necessary funds, and therefore his garments gradually fell to rags, and the rags one by one disappeared. At other times the persecutors stripped men and women naked, to make them yield to shame; but nakedness, even in the case of the most tender and sensitive spirits, though such have been exposed to this evil in the olden days, has been unable to daunt the unconquerable spirit of the saints. There are stories in the old martyrologies of men and women who have had to suffer this indignity; and it is reported by those who looked on, that they never seemed to be so gloriously arrayed; for when they were stood naked before the whole bestial throng, that they might gaze upon them with their cruel eyes, their very bodies seemed to glow with glory, as with calm countenance they surveyed their enemies, and gave themselves up to die.
The apostle mentions next to nakedness, peril-that is, constant exposure to sudden death. This was the life of the early Christian. “We die daily,” said the apostle. They were never sure of a moment’s mercy, for a new edict might come forth from the Roman emperor to sweep the Christians away. They went literally with their lives in their hands wherever they went. Some of their perils were voluntarily encountered for the spread of the gospel; perils by rivers and by robbers were the lot of the Christian missionary going through inhospitable climes to declare the gospel. Other perils were the result of persecution; but we are told here that believers in Jesus so steadily reposed upon Christ’s love, that they did not feel peril to be peril; and the love of Christ so lifted them up above the ordinary thoughts of flesh and blood, so that even when perils became perils indeed, they entered upon them with joy, out of love to their Lord and Master.
And to close the list, as if there were a sort of perfection in these evils, the seventh thing is the sword, that is to say, the apostle Paul singles out one cruel form of death as a picture of the whole. Ye know, and I need not tell you, how the noble army of my Master’s martyrs have given their necks to the sword, as cheerfully as the bride upon the marriage day gives her hand to the bridegroom. Ye know how they have gone to the stake and kissed the fagots; how they have sung on the way to death, though death was attended with the most cruel torments; and have rejoiced with exceeding great joy, even to leaping and dancing at the thought of being counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake. The apostle tells us that the saints have suffered all these things put together. He does not say in some of these things we are conquerors, but in all; many believers literally passed through outward want, inward trial, persecution, want of bread, want of raiment, the constant hazard of life, and at last laid down life itself; and yet in every case through the whole list of these gloomy fights, believers were more than conquerors. Beloved, this day you are not, the most of you, called to peril, or nakedness, or sword: if ye were, my Lord would give you grace to bear the test; but I think the troubles of a Christian man, at the present moment, though not outwardly so terrible, are yet more hard to bear than even those of the fiery age. We have to bear the sneer of the world-that is little; its blandishments, its soft words, its oily speeches, its fawning, its hypocrisy, are far worse. O sirs, your danger is lest you grow rich and become proud, lest you give yourselves up to the fashions of this present evil world, and lose your faith. If you cannot be torn in pieces by the roaring lion, you may be hugged to death by the bear, and the devil little cares which it is so long as he gets your love to Christ out of you, and destroys your confidence in him. I fear me that the Christian church is far more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days than she was in those rough times. Are there not many professing Christians whose methods of trade are just as vicious as the methods of trade of the most shifty and tricky of the unconverted? Have we not some professed Christians who are worldly altogether? whose non-attendance at our meetings for prayer, whose want of liberality to Christ’s cause, whose entire conduct indeed proves that if there be any grace in them at all, it is not the grace which conquers the world, but the pretended grace which lets the world put its foot upon its neck. We must be awake now; for we traverse the enchanted ground, and are more likely to be ruined than ever, unless our faith in Jesus be a reality, and our love to Jesus a vehement flame. We are likely to become bastards and not sons, tares and not wheat, hypocrites with fair vineyards, but not the true living children of the living God. Christians, do not think that these are times in which you can dispense with watchfulness or with holy ardor; you need these things more now than ever, and may God the eternal Spirit display his omnipotence in you, that you may be able to say, in all these softer things as well as in the rougher, “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37 More Than Conquerors Pdf)
Overwhelmingly conquer (5245) (hupernikao [word study] from hupér = above, degree which is beyond that of a compared scale of extent = more than, to a greater degree than, beyond + nikáo = to conquer, overcome, carry off the victory, come off victorious) means to come off more than victorious or to gain a surpassing victory and present tense signifies continually.
It describes one who is super-victorious, who wins more than an ordinary victory, and who is overpowering in achieving abundant victory. It describes a lopsided victory in which the enemy or opponent is completely routed. This is not the language of conceit, but of confidence in Christ. Christ’s love conquered death, and because of His love, we are can be more than conquerors through Him.
Vincent says the idea is…
A victory which is more than a victory.
Meyer says the idea is…
A holy arrogance of victory in the might of Christ.
W. B. J. Martin said that…
Hate can make a man a conqueror, can fill him with furious energy, but only love can make him more-than-conqueror
Bauer affirms that the verb hypernikao used here is a heightened form of "conquer" and suggests the translation "We are winning a most glorious victory." Is is also rendered "We win the supreme victory through him who loved us."
William Newell explains more than conquerors…
(a) It is to come off conqueror in every difficulty,
(b) It is to know that Divine, and therefore infinite, power has been engaged for us in the conflict,
(c) It is the absolute confidence that this infinite and therefore limitless Divine help is granted to us against any possible future emergency,
(d) It is to "divide the spoil" over any foe, after victory! (Isa 53:12.)
Robert Haldane writes that more than conquerors…
This is a strong expression, but in its fullest import it is strictly true. The Christian not only overcomes in the worst of his trials, but more than overcomes his adversaries, and all those things which seem to be against him. It is possible to overcome, and yet obtain no advantage from The contest, nay, to find the victory a loss. But the Christian not only vanquishes, he is also a gainer by the assault of his enemy. It is better for him than if he had not been called to suffer. He is a gainer and a conqueror, both in the immediate fruits of his sufferings, as God overrules them for his good, bringing him forth from the furnace as gold refined, and also in their final issue; for “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
The term conquerors reminds us that the life of a believer is a warfare, in which he is called to combat, both within and without.
We may remark, too, the difference between the judgment of God, and the judgment of men, respecting the victory of believers. In the world, persecutors and oppressors are judged as the conquerors; but here, those are pronounced to be such, who are oppressed and persecuted. They are the servants of Him whom the world put to death, but who said to His disciples, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (Haldane, R. An Exposition on the Epistle to the Roman)
Pastor Ray Stedman explains more than a conqueror this way writing that…
If we barely manage to win our way to heaven by the skin of our teeth, we could be said to be a conqueror, but a "more than conqueror" is someone who takes the worst that life can throw at him and uses that to become victorious. "More than conqueror" is one who, by the grace and the gift of God, and in the strength of God within him, actually takes the very things that are designed to destroy him, and they become stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks. That is being "more than conquerors."
Stedman gives the following Illustration of more that a conqueror…
Just this week, I finished reading an amazing book written by Ernest Gordon, the dean of the Chapel at Princeton University. He tells of his own experience as a British officer in the Japanese prison camp by the River Kwai in Thailand. This camp was made famous by the movie, The Bridge over the River Kwai. He was one of the prisoners that built that bridge, and he tells about that camp, and about their indescribable starvation diet which made them nothing but walking skeletons, yet they were driven out each day to do heavy labor on the bridge. Thousands of them died as cholera, and other diseases, swept through the camp. The morale of the camp plummeted to the bottom -- there was nothing left. It was a hopeless, hideous situation in which men lived in filth and squalor, and walked about as the living dead. He tells how he himself descended, through disease and weakness, to a place where his body was taken and laid away in the death house, among all the corpses. Though he was still alive, he was laid there to die. In that camp, there were one or two people who, though they were not what we would call Evangelical Christians, nevertheless, entertained a deep faith in God. One or two men began quietly, in the midst of the darkest hour of the camp, to exercise a little faith and a little love, and to do things for one another. Gradually this spirit spread, and soon others became involved. They organized a massage team to go around and massage one another's legs to try to restore health to these members that had ceased working. Gradually this spirit transformed the camp, and faith and joy and hope sprang into being again. They organized an orchestra, made their own instruments, and finally had a 40-piece orchestra. They organized a church. They began Bible study classes, and a man who had been a skeptic all his life was the teacher. As he taught the Bible, he began to see something of the reality of these things. The story goes on to tell how this whole camp was transformed, and though the outward circumstances were unchanged, the Japanese were as hostile and as cruel as ever, the work was as heavy and the disease was rampant, yet the spirit of those men was literally transformed and they became joyous, happy, victorious individuals -- many of them. The whole camp became entirely different. He told how, when at last they returned to civilization, they looked forward to coming home -- to a place where they would experience again the joys of life. But, when they got home, they discovered that civilization is an illusion -- that the realities of life were discovered back in the prison camp. It was when they were down in the darkest, and the deepest, and the lowest depths of their lives that they began to lay hold of the eternal verities that strengthen a man's soul. They became, by faith, "more than conquerors." This is the message of this chapter, isn't it? The eternal verities are not doubt and fear and death, but life and hope and love. (To read full sermon click Prayer, Providence, Praise)
Spurgeon asks and answers how Christians are more than conquerors…
The word in the original is one of the apostle Paul’s strong expressions; it might be rendered, “more exceeding conquerors.” The Vulgate, I think, has a word in it which means, “over over-comers,” over and above conquering.
For a Christian to be a conqueror is a great thing: how can he be more than a conqueror?
I think in many respects, first, a Christian is better than some conquerors because the power by which he overcomes is nobler far. Here is a champion just come from the Greek games; he has well nigh killed his adversary in a severe boxing match, and he comes in to receive the crown. Step up to him, look at that arm, and observe the thews and sinews. Why! the man’s muscles are like steel, and you say to him, “I do not wonder that you beat and bruised your foe; if I had set up a machine made of steel, and worked by a little watery vapor, it could have done the same, though nothing but mere matter would have been at work. You are a stronger man and more vigorous in constitution than your foe: that is clear; but where is the particular glory about that? One machine is stronger than another. No doubt, credit is to be given to you for your endurance, after a sort; but you are just one big brute beating another big brute. Dogs, and bulls, and game-cocks, and all kinds of animals, would have endured as much, and perhaps more.
Now, see the Christian champion coming from the fight, having won the victory! Look at him! He has overcome human wisdom; but when I look at him, I perceive no learning nor cunning: he is a simple, unlettered person, who just knows that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; yet he has won the victory over profound philosophers: then he is more than a conqueror. He has been tempted and tried in all sorts of ways, and he was not at all a crafty person; he was very weak, yet somehow he has conquered. Now this is being more than a conqueror, when weakness overcomes strength, when brute force is baffled by gentleness and love. This is victory indeed, when the little things overcome the great things; when the base things of this world overthrow the mighty; and the things that are not bring to nought the things that are: yet this is just the triumph of grace. The Christian is, viewed according to the eye of sense, weak as water; yet faith knows him to be irresistible. According to the eye of sense, he is a thing to be trampled upon, for he will not resist; and yet, in the sight of God, he becomes in this very way, by his gentleness and patience, more than a conqueror.
The Christian is more than a conqueror again, because the conqueror fights for victory-fights with some selfish motive. Even if the motive be patriotism, although from another point of view, patriotism is one of the highest of worldly virtues, yet it is only a magnificent selfishness by which one contends for one’s own country, instead of being subject to the far more generous cosmopolite thought of caring for all men. But the Christian fights neither for any set of men nor for himself: in contending for truth he contends for all men, but especially for God; and in suffering for the right he suffers with no prospect of earthly gain. He becomes more than a conqueror, both by the strength with which he fights and the motives by which he is sustained, which are better than the motives and the strength which sustain other conquerors.
He is more than a conqueror, because he loses nothing even by the fight itself. When a battle is won, at any rate the winning side loses something. In most wars, the gain seldom makes any recompense for the effusion of blood; but the Christian’s faith, when tried, grows stronger; his patience, when tempted, becomes more patient. His graces are like the fabled Anteus, who, when thrown to the ground, sprang up stronger than before, by touching his mother earth; for the Christian, by touching his God and falling down in helplessness into the arms of the Most High, grows stronger by all that he is made to suffer. He is more than a conqueror, because he loses nothing even by the fight, and gains wondrously by the victory.
He is more than a conqueror over persecution, because most conquerors have to struggle and agonize to win the conquest. But, my brethren, many Christians, ay, and all Christians, when their faith in Christ is strong, and their love to Christ is fervent, have found it even easy to overcome suffering for the Lord. Look at Blandina, enveloped in a net, tossed upon the horns of bulls, and then made to sit in a red hot iron chair to die, and yet unconquered to the close. What did the tormentors say to the emperor- “Oh! emperor,” said the tormentors, “we are ashamed, for these Christians mock us while they suffer thy cruelties.” Indeed, the tormentors often seemed to be themselves tormented; they were worried to think they could not conquer timid women and children. They devoured their own hearts with rage; like the viper, which gnaws at the file, they broke their teeth against the iron strength of Christian faith; they could not endure it, because these people suffered without repining, endured without retracting, and glorified Christ in the fires without complaining. I love to think of Christ’s army of martyrs, ay, and of all his church, marching over the battle-field, singing as they fight, never ceasing the song, never suffering a note to fall, and at the same time advancing from victory to victory; chanting the sacred hallelujah while they tramp over their foes. I saw one day upon the lake of Orta, in northern Italy, on some holy-day of the church of Rome, a number of boats coming from all quarters of the lake towards the church upon the central islet of the lake, and it was singularly beautiful to hear the splash of the oars and the sound of song as the boats came up in long processions, with all the villagers in them, bearing their banners, to the appointed place of meeting. As the oars splashed they kept time to the rowers, and the rowers never missed a stroke because they sang, neither was the song marred because of the splash of the oars, but on they came, singing and rowing: and so has it been with the church of God. That oar of obedience, and that other oar of suffering-the church has learned to ply both of these, and to sing as she rows: “Thanks be unto God, who always maketh us to triumph in every place!” Though we be made to suffer, and be made to fight, yet we are more than conquerors, because we are conquerors even while fighting; we sing even in the heat of the battle, waving high the banner, and dividing the spoil even in the center of the fray. When the fight is hottest, we are then there most happy; and when the strife is sternest, then most blessed; and when the battle grows most arduous, then, “calm ’mid the bewildering cry, confident of victory.” Thus the saints have been in those respects more than conquerors.
More than conquerors I hope, this day, because they have conquered their enemies by doing them good, converting their persecutors by their patience. To use the old Protestant motto, the church has been the anvil, and the world has been the hammer; and though the anvil has done nothing but bear the stroke, she has broken all the hammers, as she will do to the world’s end. All true believers who really trust in Jesus’ love, and are really fired with it, will be far more glorious than the Roman conqueror when he drove his milk white steeds through the imperial city’s streets; then the young men and maidens, matrons and old men gathered to the windows and chimney-tops, and scattered flowers upon the conquering legions as they came along; but what is this compared with the triumph which is going on even now as the great host of God’s elect come streaming through the streets of the New Jerusalem? What flowers are they which angels strew in the path of the blessed? What songs are those which rise from yonder halls of Zion, conjubilant with song as the saints pass along to their everlasting habitations?
And they who, with their Leader,
Have conquered in the fight,
For ever and for ever,
Are clad in robes of white.
THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US: dia tou agaphesantos (AAPMSG) hemas: (Gal 2:20; Eph 5:2,25, 26, 27; 2Th 2:16; 1 Jn 4:10,19; Jude 1:24; Re 1:5)
The previous chapters (especially Romans 5:11-21) describe the super abounding grace through Christ. Those who overwhelmingly conquer are supremely victorious in overcoming everyone and everything that threatens their relationship to Jesus Christ. However their ability to triumph over all things does not arise from any inherent superiority on their part. Such a super abounding victory is only possible through Him. Believers triumph entirely through His power, the power of Him Who loved us so much that He gave His life for us that we might have life in Him… life abundant and overcoming.
Through Him - Through Jesus. Spurgeon comments "Jesus is the representative man for his people. The head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. While a man’s head is above the water you cannot drown his body.
Through (1223) (dia) is a preposition denoting instrumentality, the means by which something is accomplished. The "instrument" by which sinners overwhelmingly conquer is Jesus Christ our Lord.
Below is a selection of Scriptures that relate to this great truth of through Him…
Consider the following simple study - observe and record the wonderful truths that accrue through Him - this would make an edifying, easy to prepare Sunday School lesson - then take some time to give thanks for these great truths by offering up a sacrifice of praise… through Him.
Jn 1:3 [NIV reads "through Him"], Jn 1:7, John 1:10, Jn 3:17, Jn 14:6, Acts 2:22, 3:16, Acts 7:25, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:38, 39, Ro 5:9 [note], Ro 8:37 [note], Ro 11:36 [note]; 1Co 8:6, Ep 2:18 [note], Php 4:13 [note], Col 1:20 [note], Col 2:15 [note], Col 3:17 [note], Heb 7:25 [note], Heb 13:15 [note], 1Pe 1:21[note], 1John 4:9
Would you like more study on the wonderful topic of through Him? Study also the NT uses of the parallel phrase through Jesus (or similar phrases - "through Whom", "through our Lord", etc) - John 1:17, Acts 10:36, Ro 1:4, 5- note; Ro 1:8-note, Ro 2:16-note, Ro 5:1-note; Ro 5:2-note Ro 5:11-note, Ro 5:21-note, Ro 7:25-note, Ro 16:27-note, 1Cor 15:57, 2Cor 1:5, 3:4, 5:18, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:5-note, Php 1:11-note, 1Th 5:9-note; Titus 3:6-note, He 1:2-note; He 2:10-note, Heb 13:21-note, 1Pe 2:5-note, 1Pe 4:11-note, Jude 1:25)
All things are from Him, through Him and to Him. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Who loved us - Note the tense points to the past, which directs our attention to His love expressed on the Cross, the great demonstration of His love.
L oved (verb) (25) (agapao [word study] see related study of noun agape) means to love unconditionally and sacrificially as God Himself loves sinful men (John 3:16), the way He loves the Son (John 3:35, 15:9, 17:23, 24).
Agapao - 143x in 110v - Matt 5:43f, 46; 6:24; 19:19; 22:37, 39; Mark 10:21; 12:30f, 33; Luke 6:27, 32, 35; 7:5, 42, 47; 10:27; 11:43; 16:13; John 3:16, 19, 35; 8:42; 10:17; 11:5; 12:43; 13:1, 23, 34; 14:15, 21, 23f, 28, 31; 15:9, 12, 17; 17:23f, 26; 19:26; 21:7, 15f, 20; Rom 8:28, 37; 9:13, 25; 13:8f; 1 Cor 2:9; 8:3; 2 Cor 9:7; 11:11; 12:15; Gal 2:20; 5:14; Eph 1:6; 2:4; 5:2, 25, 28, 33; 6:24; Col 3:12, 19; 1 Thess 1:4; 4:9; 2 Thess 2:13, 16; 2 Tim 4:8, 10; Heb 1:9; 12:6; Jas 1:12; 2:5, 8; 1 Pet 1:8, 22; 2:17; 3:10; 2 Pet 2:15; 1 John 2:10, 15; 3:10f, 14, 18, 23; 4:7f, 10ff, 19ff; 5:1f; 2 John 1:1, 5; 3 John 1:1; Jude 1:1; Rev 1:5; 3:9; 12:11; 20:9
Note that agapao is a verb and by its verbal nature calls for action. This quality of love is not an emotion but is an action initiated by a volitional choice.
Wuest writes that
Agapao speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. It is a love of esteem and approbation. The quality of this love is determined by the character of the one who loves, and that of the object loved. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
William Newell comments on this phrase writing that
It is this past tense gospel the devil hates … Let a preacher be continually saying, ‘God loves you, Christ loves you,’ and he and his congregation will by and by be losing sight of both their sinner hood and of the substitutionary atonement of the cross, where the love of God and of Christ was once for all and supremely set forth." (Romans 8: Expository Notes Verse by Verse)
Paul associates Christ's love for us with His death on the Cross in Ephesians, exhorting the saints to…
walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for (huper - speaks of His substitutionary death in our place) us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ep 5:2-note)
Compare Paul's command in Ephesians 5…
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Epp 5:25-note)
And in Galatians Paul associates Christ's love with Calvary's love declaring…
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. (Gal 2:20-note)
In the Revelation John writes "To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood (Rev 1:5-note)
Because our Lord both saves and keeps us, we do much more than simply endure and survive the ominous circumstances Paul mentions in Ro 8:35.
First of all, we overwhelmingly conquer by coming out of troubles stronger than when they first threatened us. Paul has just declared that, by His divine grace and power, God causes everything, including the very worst things, to work for the good of His children (Ro 8:28). Even when we suffer because of our own sinfulness or unfaithfulness, our gracious Lord will bring us through with a deeper understanding of our own unrighteousness and of His perfect righteousness, of our own faithlessness and of His steadfast faithfulness, of our own weakness and of His great power.
Second, we overwhelmingly conquer because our ultimate reward will far surpass whatever earthly and temporal loss we may suffer. (Ro 8:17,18) With Paul, we should view even the most terrible circumstance as but “momentary, light affliction” that produces “for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2Cor 4:17).
From the human perspective, of course, the over-conquest God promises often seems a long time in coming. But when, as true believers, we go through times of testing, whatever their nature or cause, we come out spiritually refined by our Lord. Instead of those things separating us from Christ, they will bring us closer to Him. His grace and glory will rest on us and we will grow in our understanding of His will and of the sufficiency of His grace. While we wait for Him to bring us through the trials, we know that He says to us what He said to Paul in (2Cor 12:9-note).
Jesus is the representative man for His people. The Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. While a man's head is above the water you cannot drown his body.
Thomas Watson (in "A Divine Cordial", 1663) writes…
Temptations work for good—as they engage the strength of Christ. Christ is our Friend, and when we are tempted, He sets all His power working for us. "Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted" (Heb. 2:18-note). If a poor soul was to fight alone with the Goliath of hell, he would be sure to be vanquished—but Jesus Christ brings in His auxiliary forces, He gives fresh supplies of grace. "We are more than conquerors through him who loved us!" (Romans 8:37). Thus the evil of temptation is overruled for good. (The WORST things)
C H Spurgeon (Morning and Evening) has the following practical thoughts on Romans 8:37…
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. - We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul thus rebukes us,
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"
Take your sins to Christ's cross, for the Old Man (see note) can only be crucified there: we are crucified with Him. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear which pierced the side of Jesus.
To give an illustration-you want to overcome an angry temper, how do you go to work? It is very possible you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way? It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, "Lord, I trust thee to deliver me from it." This is the only way to give it a death-blow. Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you?
You may struggle against this evil so long as you please, but if it be your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell him,
"Lord, I have trusted thee, and thy name is Jesus, for thou dost save thy people from their sins; Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!"
Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears-the whole of them put together-are worth nothing apart from him. "None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;" or helpless saints either. You must be conquerors through him who hath loved you, if conquerors at all. Our laurels must grow among his olives in Gethsemane.
The diamonds of divine promises glisten brightly when placed in the setting of personal trials. I thank God that I have undergone fearful depression. I know the borders of despair and the horrible brink of that dark gulf into which my feet have almost gone. Because of this, I have been able to help brothers and sisters in the same condition. I believe that the Christian’s darkest and most dreadful experiences will lead them to follow Christ and become fishers of men (Mark 1:17). Keep close to your Lord and He will make every step a blessing.
The Holy Scripture is full of narratives of trials. Your life will be as garnished with trials, like a rose is with thorns, but provision is made in the Word for Satan’s assaults. Confidently believe that Scripture’s wise plan is not in vain. You will have to battle the same spiritual foes that assailed and buffeted saints in days past, but spiritual armor will be your safeguard in times of attack (Eph. 6:11-note).
As the Spirit sanctifies us in spirit, soul, and body, we become more like the Master. We are conformed to Him not only in holiness and spirituality, but also in our experience of conflict, sorrow, agony, and triumph. Jesus was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15-note). Now we are to be made like Him. The Savior’s public life begins and ends with trials. It commences in the wilderness in a contest with Satan (Matt. 4:1), and it ends in Gethsemane in a dreadful battle with the powers of darkness (John 17:1ff). The gloom of the desert deepens into the midnight darkness of the cross to show that we also must begin and end our lives with trials.
If the Lord’s victory was won on Golgotha in blood and wounds, surely our crown will not be won without wrestling and overcoming. We must fight if we would reign, and through the same conflicts that brought the Savior His crown, we will obtain the palm-branch of everlasting victory (Rev. 7:9-note).
G Campbell Morgan comments that…
To conquer is to subdue; that is, to master, to overcome, in the sense of defeating as attack. To conquer tribulation would be to put an end to it; to conquer anguish would be to replace it by goy; to conquer persecution would be to turn it into patronage; to conquer famine would be to provide food; to conquer nakedness would be to provide clothing; to conquer peril would be to secure safety; to conquer the sword would be to destroy the sword. In all these things Paul says we are "more than conquerors." This does not mean that, in the senses referred to, we conquer, and more. On the contrary, it may mean that we do not conquer at all, but that we do more, we wrest from defeat values that could never be gained by conquest. Enduring tribulation, we are thereby brought, through patience and proving, to the hope that is not put to shame. Experiencing anguish, we are having fellowship with the suffering which saves. Bearing persecution, we are demonstrating the meaning of true godliness. Suffering hunger, we ,are proving that man does not live by bread alone. In nakedness, we reveal the beauty of spiritual adorning. Living amid perils, we are revealing the power of our Lord. Dying by the sword, we are demonstrating the weakness of the sword. This is more-than-conquering, and it is only possible "through Him that loved us." (Morgan, G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)
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J C Philpot Devotional on Romans 8:37…
"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:37
Those who know nothing of their own heart, of their own infirmities, of their own frailties, of their own inward or outward slips and backslidings, know nothing of the secret of super-abounding grace, nothing of the secret of atoning blood, nothing of the secret of the Spirit's inward testimony. They cannot. Only in proportion as we are emptied of self in all its various forms, are we filled out of the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Now you, perhaps, (I address myself personally to some poor, tempted child of God, that in touching one, I may touch others,) are a poor, tempted creature; and your daily sorrow, your continual trouble is, that you are so soon overcome; that your temper, your lusts, your pride, your worldliness, your carnal, corrupt heart are perpetually getting the mastery. And from this you sometimes draw bitter conclusions. You say, in the depth of your heart, "Can I be a child of God, and be thus? What mark and testimony have I of being in favor with God when I am so easily, so continually overcome?"
Now I want you to look to the end. What is the issue of these defeats? Remember, it is a solemn truth, and one that we learn very slowly--that we must be overcome in order to overcome. There is no setting out with a stock of strength, daily adding to it, weekly increasing it, and then gaining the victory by our own resolutions, our own innate strength. Such sham holiness may come under a gospel garb, may wear a fair appearance; but it only more hides the rottenness of the flesh. Then, remember this--that in order to gain the victory, we must know our weakness; and we can only know our weakness by its being experimentally opened up in our consciences. We cannot learn it from others; we must learn it in our own souls; and that often in a very painful manner. But these painful sensations in a tender conscience lead a man more humbly, more feelingly, more believingly to the Lord of life and glory, to receive out of his fullness. Thus every defeat only leads to and ensures victory at the last. Says the Apostle, "In all these things we are more than conquerors." How? Through our resolutions, through our wisdom? No; "through Him that loved us." There is no other way, then, to overcome, but by the "strength of Jesus made perfect in our weakness." (2Co 12:9-see note) (J. C. Philpot. Daily Words for Zion's Wayfarers)
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Octavius Winslow devotional…
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:37
The apostle had enumerated certain things which, to the obscure eye of faith, and to the yet obscurer eye of sense, would appear to make against the best interests of the Christian, regarded either as evidences of a waning of Christ's love to him, or as calculated to produce such a result. He proposes an inquiry—"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"—and then proceeds to give the reply. That reply sets the question entirely at rest. He argues, that so far from the things which he enumerates shaking the constancy of Christ's love, periling the safety of the Christian, or shading the luster of His renown, they but developed the Savior's affection to him, more strongly confirmed the fact of his security, and entwined fresh and more verdant laurels around his brow. "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors."
"Through Him that loved us." Here is the great secret of our victory, the source of our triumph. Behold the mystery explained, how a weak, timid believer, often starting at his own shadow, is yet "more than a conqueror" over his many and mighty foes. To Christ who loved him, who gave Himself for him, who died in his stead, and lives to intercede on his behalf, the glory of the triumph is ascribed. And this is the song he chants: "Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1Co 15:57, 58) Through the conquest which He Himself obtained, through the grace which He imparts, through the strength which He inspires, through the intercession which he presents, in all our "tribulation and distress, and persecution, and famine, and nakedness, and peril, and sword," we are "more than conquerors." Accounted though we are as "sheep for the slaughter," (Ro 8:36-note) yet our great Shepherd, Himself slain for the sheep, guides His flock, and has declared that no one shall pluck them out of His hand. We are more than conquerors, through His grace who loved us, in the very circumstances that threaten to overwhelm. Fear not, then, the darkest cloud, nor the proudest waves, nor the deepest needs—in these very things you shall, through Christ, prove triumphant. Nor shrink from the battle with the "last enemy." (1Co 15:26) 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 scepter. Your death shall be another victory over the believer's last foe. Planting your foot of upon His prostrate neck, you shall spring into glory, more than a conqueror through Him that loved you. Thus entering heaven 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." (Re 12:11-note) (Octavius Winslow. Daily Walking with God)
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We Are Winners! - Everybody likes to be a winner. So when we read in Romans 8:37 that we as followers of Christ are "more than conquerors," we get excited. But what does that phrase mean?
The apostle Paul began Romans 8 by recounting God's grace in sending His Son Jesus to die to pay the penalty for our sins (Ro 8:1, 2, 3-notes). He went on to say that believers also have the help of the Holy Spirit to give us victory over the power of sin in daily life (Ro 8:4-17-notes).
Paul later talked about Christ's unfailing love (Ro 8:35-notes). Some circumstances may make us feel alone and defeated, but in all situations we are conquerors because nothing can "separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ro 8:39).
When I was a boy in Singapore, I experienced one particularly harsh punishment. I was forced to kneel on the thorny skin of a durian (a large Asian fruit). I became angry, and bitterness consumed my life. But when I learned of God's love for me and I put my faith in Christ, He not only forgave my sin but He taught me to forgive others. No longer was I imprisoned by my sin or anger. I began to discover that "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Ro 8:37).
Because of Christ and His unfailing love for us, we are winners! —Albert Lee (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Although this life will bring us pain,
Our faith in Christ can help us see
That if we will obey His Word
He'll give us joy and victory. —Sper
Think less of the power of things over you
and more of the power of Christ in you.
F B Meyer - THE TALISMAN OF VICTORY
"In all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us."--Ro 8:37.
CAN ANYTHING separate me from the love of Christ? was the only question that St. Paul felt worth consideration. In this paragraph he takes the extreme conditions of being, and carefully investigates them, knowing that they include all between. First, he interrogates Existence--"death and life"; next, created Intelligences--"Angels, principalities, and powers"; next, the extremes of Time--"things present, things to come"; next, of Space---"height and depth"; lastly, the created Universe --"any other creature." Each of these extremes is passed in review. He is like a man proving every link of the chain in which he is going to swing out over the abyss. Carefully and fervently he has tested all, and is satisfied that none of them can cut him off from the love of God.
We strangely misjudge and mistrust the Love of God our Father, and think that our distresses and sufferings, our sins and failures, may make Him love us less. But in the home, it is not the troop of sturdy children that engross the mother's care so much as the puny feeble life, that lies in the cot, unable to help itself and reciprocate her love. And in the world, death and pain, disease and sorrow, sin and failure, so far from separating us from God's love, bind us closer.
Oh blessed Love! that comes down to us from the heart of Jesus, the essence of the eternal love of God--nothing can ever staunch, exhaust, intercept it. It is not our love to Him, but His to us, and since nothing can separate us from the love of God, He will go on loving us for ever, and pouring into us the entire fullness of His life and glory. Whatever our difficulties, whatever our weakness and infirmity, we shall he kept steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; gaining by our losses, succeeding by our failures, triumphing in our defeats, and ever more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
PRAYER - Yea thro' life, thro' sorrow and thro' sinning He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed: Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning, Christ is the beginning, for the end is Christ. (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
Octavius Winslow - Morning Thoughts on "More than conquerors." Romans 8:37 …
The original word will admit a stronger rendering than our translators have allowed it. The same word is in another place rendered "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." So that in the present instance it might be translated, "far more exceeding conquerors." The phrase seems to imply that it is more than a mere victory which the believer gains. A battle may be won at a severe loss to the conqueror. A great leader may fall at the head of his troops. The flower of an army may be destroyed, and the best blood of a nation's pride may be shed. But the Christian conquers with no such loss. Nothing whatever essential to His well-being is imperiled. His armor, riveted upon his soul by the Holy Spirit, he cannot lose. His life, hid with Christ in God, cannot be endangered. His Leader and Commander, once dead, is alive and dies no more. Nothing valuable and precious shall he lose.
There is not a grace in his soul but shall come out of the battle with sin, and Satan, and the world, purer and brighter for the conflict. The more thoroughly the Lord brings our graces into exercise, the more fully shall they be developed, and the more mightily shall they be invigorated. Not a grain of grace shall perish in the winnowing, not a particle of faith shall be consumed in the refining. Losing nothing, he gains everything! He returns from the battle laden with the spoils of a glorious victory- "more than a conqueror." All his resources are augmented by the result. His armor is brighter, his sword is keener, his courage is more dauntless, for the conflict. Every grace of the Spirit is matured. Faith is strengthened- love is expanded- experience is deepened- knowledge is increased. He comes forth from the trial holier and more valorous than when he entered it. His weakness has taught him wherein his strength lies (cp 2Co 12:9-note). His necessity has made him better acquainted with Christ's fulness. His peril has shown him who taught his hands to war and his fingers to fight, and whose shield covered his head in the day of battle. He is "more than conqueror "- he is triumphant!
Amplified: For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ICB: Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from the love God has for us. Not death, not life, not angels, not ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, (ICB: Nelson)
KJV: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
NLT: And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below (Phillips: Touchstone)
TLB: For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels won't, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God's love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow,
Wuest: For I have come through a process of persuasion to the settled conclusion that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things about to come, nor powers (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
FOR I AM CONVINCED THAT NEITHER DEATH NOR LIFE: pepeismai (1SRPI) gar hoti oute thanatos oute zoe: (Ro 4:21; 2Co 4:13; 2Ti 1:12; Heb 11:13) (Ro 14:8; Jn 10:28; 1Cor 3:22,23; 15:54, 55, 56, 57, 58; 2Cor 5:4, 5, 6, 7, 8; Php 1:20, 21, 22, 23)
For (gar) introduces an explanation or explains the reason for what has been said before..
S Lewis Johnson quipped
For I am convinced - Here is Paul's personal conviction as confirmation of all that has been said, especially his declaration in Romans 8:37.
The power of Paul's words here in Romans 8 when we are experiencing fiery trials in the furnace of affliction…
I am convinced - KJV has "I am persuaded" which prompted Spurgeon's following comment…
Keith Brooks writes…
Convinced (persuaded) (3982) (peitho [word study]) means to persuade (active) or to be persuaded (passive, as in this verse) to come to a particular point of view or course of action. The overwhelming idea is that of certainty. To Paul there is not even a "shadow of doubt" as we often say.
Paul uses peitho in the perfect tense indicating a past action with continuing result or effect and which we could render "became persuaded in the past and continue to have a settled persuasion".
The idea is "I have come through a process of persuasion to the settled conclusion"
A T Robertson renders it "I stand convinced".
Paul in his last epistle with full awareness that his death was imminent, resolutely declared…
Paul had suffered with Christ and had learned the "secret" (see notes Philippians 4:11; 12; 13). He knew the inseparability of his immutable, irrevocable union with Christ founded on and guaranteed by the New Covenant in His Savior's blood.
Haldane remarks that the source of Paul's confidence is…
Newell has an inspiring note on I am persuaded writing that…
Neither (3777) (oute) from ou = absolute negative + te = an enclitic particle = and) means and not, neither, nor, not even. Oute introduces a negative clause. Each item in the following list is introduced with this coordinating conjunction oute, which is used a total of ten times in 2 verses.
J I Packer rightly exclaims that this verse…
Paul proceeds to list those things that have potential for separating a believer from God's love. What an antidote for anxiety and fear for if none of these things can separate us from God's love, why should believers fear? Paul was absolutely certain on these points and he wants us to have the same degree of conviction.
Robertson comments that…
Death (2288) (thanatos from thnesko = to die) literally describes the physical separation of the soul (the spiritual part) from the body (the material part), the latter ceasing to function and turning to dust (but one day to be glorified). When related to God, thanatos speaks of separation of man from God, as documented in Genesis 2:17 when Adam died spiritually because of disobedience. Because believers are eternally justified by grace through faith and have Christ's righteousness, they need never again fear the separation from God which Adam first experienced in the Garden of Eden.
Paul had earlier explained that Adam's death sentence fell on all mankind for…
Jesus Himself promised…
Death cannot separate us from the love of God. Witness Lazarus (contrasted with the rich man)…
J C Ryle writes…
Death could not separate the repentant thief on the Cross, Jesus testifying…
And Jesus' friend, the other Lazarus, also shows the impotence of death toward believers…
The Psalmist writes…
Denney comments that…
Newell (ref) writes that "To the instructed believer, the fear of death is gone" because of his or her partaking of solid meat such as the truths expounded in Hebrews 2…
Leon Morris comments that…
Haldane explains why death is not a fearful thing for God's child noting that…
Matthew Henry - Neither death nor life-neither the terrors of death on the one hand nor the comforts and pleasures of life on the other, neither the fear of death nor the hope of life. Or, We shall not be separated from that love either in death or in life.
A J Gossip's personal testimony…
Corrie Ten Boom…
Life (2222) (zoe) is the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body. It is a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings. Most of Paul's uses of zoe refer to the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which alone belongs to God the Giver of life. As Paul reminded the saints at Colossae, "Christ… is our life" (Col 3:4-note) (cf "Christ Jesus Who is our hope" 1Ti 1:1). Clearly that is not the sense of zoe in this passage.
What then does Paul mean? Life does not seem to be a hindrance as we naturally think of it, for we usually consider life as a positive thing. How could life be dangerous? Paul is referring not to our life in Christ and in eternity future but to our present earthly life, where very real and sinister spiritual dangers lie. He is referring to life with its blandishments and its trials. Our life on earth is one as aliens and strangers, with all the forces that opposed Christ, also opposing believers. It is because believers have eternal life in Christ Jesus that the threats during this present life are conquered. Interestingly, the first "enemy" Paul mentions (death) not only cannot harm believers but in fact will deliver us from the "dangers" of this present life!
Regarding life, Paul writes…
Paul adds this note on life…
Morris writes that…
Newell adds this comment…
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Donald Grey Barnhouse told a personal story that beautifully illustrates death’s powerlessness over Christians. When his wife died, his children were still quite young, and Dr. Barnhouse wondered how he could explain their mother’s death in a way their childish minds could understand. As they drove home from the funeral, a large truck passed them and briefly cast a dark shadow over the car. Immediately the father had the illustration he was looking for, and he asked the children,
Their father then said,
NOR ANGELS, NOR PRINCIPALITIES, NOR THINGS PRESENT, NOR THINGS TO COME, NOR POWERS: oute aggeloi oute archai oute enestota (RAPNPN) oute mellonta (RAPNPN) oute dunameis: (2Co 11:14; Ep 1:21; 6:11,12; Col 1:16; 2:15; 1Pet 3:22; 5:8, 9, 10)
Angels (32) (aggelos/angelos) are strictly speaking messengers or those who speak and/or act in place of one who has sent them. Although aggelos can refer to men, in this context Paul is referring to a transcendent being with power to carry out various missions or tasks. Aggelos are created supernatural beings that attend upon or serve as a messengers of a superior supernatural entity. (Torrey's Topic gives an excellent Scriptural overview of Angels)
Paul could be referring to the fallen angels, of whom Satan is one. On the other hand, the ancient world (as with many today) practiced angel worship which could theoretically might separate one from the love of God.
Haldane - Some restrict this to good angels, and some to evil angels. There is no reason why it should not include both. (Romans 8 - Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans)
Newell - Whether we speak of the elect angels-the angels of God's power, in the presence of whom the saints have felt overwhelmed by their utter unworthiness (as Daniel, Dan 10:8-17); or whether it be the malignant angels, who chose Satan's captaincy, and are a unity with him in evil; -no angels can separate us from that love of God which is fixed forever in Christ. (Romans 8: Expository Notes Verse by Verse)
Principalities (746) (arche [word study]) means the first ones, preeminent one or leaders. Arché speaks of those first in order of rulership in a community, “the first ones” in the town. The arche is an an authority figure who initiates activity or process. Some observers favor these rulers as referring to earthly rulers (e.g., Phillips translates this section “neither messenger of heaven nor monarch of earth”), but most interpret arche as alluding to a high order of demonic creatures that assist Satan in his warfare against God and His children! And yet despite the elevated status of these demonic forces, the child of God is more than a conqueror over even them! Hallelujah!
Paul used arche when he taught the saints at Ephesus about the "invisible war" were now engaged in because of their position in Christ, explaining that…
Paul had earlier explained to the saints at Ephesus that Christ's victory at the Cross and in the resurrection of Christ, where God's mighty power…
Haldane comments that principalities…
Things present nor things to come -
Things present (1764) (enistemi from en = in, with + hístemi = to stand, to set, to place) is literally to stand on, to place in, to set in (something that has begun) and to be at hand. It means to be present or be imminent. To have come. In Galatians it points to the present transitory age.
Vincent writes that enistemi "literally means to stand in sight. Hence to impend or threaten. So 2Th 2:2; 2Ti 3:1-note; 1Cor. 7:26. Used of something that has set in or begun. So some render here. Bengel says “Things past are not mentioned, not even sins, for they have passed away.”
In Romans 8:38 the enistemi speaks of the present events and/or circumstances that believers encounter and in regard to which we are super-victors!
Enistemi is used twice in the Lxx (1Ki 12:24, Esther 3:13) and 7 times in the NT…
Things to come (3195) (mello) to be about to or about to be. To be about to do something. The idea is something is to take place at a future point of time and so to be subsequent to another event.
Newell adds that…
Powers (1411) (dunamis [word study] from dunamai = to be able, to have power) power especially achieving power. It refers to intrinsic power or inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way (power, might, strength, ability, capability), the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. Here in Romans 8:38 and in Eph 6:12 dunamis is used to represent an entity or being that functions with remarkable power, specifically referring to angelic power. Believers are more than conquerors over these powerful angelic forces! In light of such great doctrinal truth, Paul reminded his young disciple Timothy that…
A W Pink…
Amplified: Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ICB: nothing above us, nothing below us, or anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ICB: Nelson)
KJV: Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
NLT: Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God's whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord! (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
NOR HEIGHT, NOR DEPTH, NOR ANY OTHER CREATED THING: oute hupsoma oute bathos oute tis ktisis hetera : (Eph 3:18,19) (height: Ex 9:16,17; Ps 93:3,4; Isa 10:10, 11, 12, 13,14,33; 24:21; Da 4:11; 5:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; 2Th 2:4; Rev 13:1-8) (depth: Ro 11:33; Ps 64:6; Pr 20:5; Mt 24:24; 2Cor 2:11; 11:3; 2Th 2:9, 10, 11, 12; Rev 2:24; 12:9; 13:14; 19:20; 20:3,7)
Nor height, nor depth - No dimensions of any kind can separate us from the love of God.
Nor (3777) (oute from ou = absolute negation) means not even, neither, etc.
Height (5313) (hupsoma) refers to that which is lifted high, something elevated. The UBS lexicon adds the figurative meaning of a stronghold or proud obstacle, an exaggerated evaluation, arrogance, proud conceit or pretension like a fortress with high walls and great towers (2Co 10:5-note).
Freiberg adds that hupsoma can refer to "the (created) sphere above the earth in which supernatural powers rule (the) height, world on high.
Denney - Whether these words pictured something to Paul's imagination we cannot tell; the patristic (early church fathers) attempts to give them definiteness are not happy! (Romans 8 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)
Newell - Nor height, nor depth-The astronomers would frighten us with their figures of the vastness of the universe But Christ has passed through all the heavens, and is at the right hand of God! And God has. loved us in Christ-there is no separation from that love. But "depth"-Ah, poor mortals we are afraid, even of earthly cliffs and chasms. Yea, but Christ descended into "the lower parts of the earth, " into "the abyss" at "the heart of the earth" (Eph 4:9; Rom 10:7; Mat 12:40). Moreover, He has said that His Church would not enter the gates of Hades (Mt 16:18). And they shall not! But even if God had arranged that they should, Christ says to John, "Fear not; I am the First and the Last, and the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades!" This is indeed a glorious salvation! No "depth" can separate us from God's love in Christ. (Romans 8: Expository Notes Verse by Verse)
Haldane commenting on nor height, nor depth writes that "These expressions appear to comprise all that had been said of angels, principalities, and powers, including them altogether to give greater force to the declaration concerning them. Wherever they were, or whatever other power might inhabit heaven above, or hell beneath, if either a part of them, or the whole in combination, were to assail those whom Jesus loves, it would be of no avail. (Romans 8 - Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans)
Matthew Henry takes this as somewhat figurative commenting that "neither the height of prosperity and preferment, nor the depth of adversity and disgrace; nothing from heaven above, no storms, no tempests; nothing on earth below, no rocks, no seas, no dungeons.
Any other created thing -
Other (2087) (heteros) means other of a different kind.
Denny explains it this way "All the things Paul has mentioned come under the head of creation (ktisis). If there is anything of a different kind which comes under the same head, he includes it too… nothing that God has made, whatever be its nature, shall be able to separate us. (Romans 8 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)
Created thing (2937) (ktisis from ktizo = create, form or found) means creation, creature (that which has been created). It refers primarily the act of creating or the creative act in process something which has not existed before. Ktisis is like the English word “creation,” which also signifies the product of the creative act, the creature.
Vine writes that ktisis is "primarily “the act of creating,” or “the creative act in process."
Newell - Nor any other created thing-There! That should banish all our fears, no matter what they be. The ability of the human heart to conjure up possible trouble and disaster is without limit, it seems: but this word gives us peace. No created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in. Christ Jesus, our Lord. (Romans 8: Expository Notes Verse by Verse)
S. Lewis Johnson writes that
Leon Morris comments that with Paul's concluding statement nor any other created thing he…
SHALL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD, WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD: dunesetai (3SFPI) hemas chorisai (AAN) apo tes agapes tou theou tes en Christo Iesou to kurio hemon: (Jn10:28, 29, 30; Col 3:3,4) (Ro 8:35; 5:8; Jn 3:16; 16:27; 17:26; Ep1:4; 2:4, 5, 6, 7; Titus 3:4, 5, 6, 7; 1 Jn 4:9,10,16,19)
Shall be able (1410) (dunamai [word study]) means to have power by virtue of inherent ability and resources. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has the inherent power or ability to submit to separate us from God's love.
To separate (5563) (chorizo from choris = separately, apart from, from) in the active sense means to cause to separate or divide, to put apart putting a space between. The emphasis of chorizo (especially in its literal uses) is on distance. In the passive sense, chorizo means to separate oneself (put some space between), to be separated,
Chorizo is used in 1Corinthians as the equivalent of divorce (see below). Although in modern terms we speak of separation as distinct from divorce but in the NT the use of chorizo in the context of marriage always carried the idea of divorce.
Chorizo means to be at some distance from something (Paul left Athens or separated himself from Athens, Acts 18:1, cf similar use in Acts 1:4, 18:2) or someone (Philemon 1:15, cf Lxx uses Ezra 6:21, 9:1, Neh 9:2, 13:3). Jesus used chorizo in the Gospels to refer to the union of a man and woman which was not be to separated.
The root word choris is used in Ephesians 2:12 (note) to describes the unsaved Gentile as one who is separated from Christ.
There are 13 uses of chorizo in the NT…
There are 9 uses of chorizo in the Septuagint (LXX) (Lev. 13:46; Jdg. 4:11; 6:18; 1 Chr. 12:8; Ezr. 6:21; 9:1; Neh. 9:2; 13:3; Prov. 18:1; Ezek. 46:19). Here are some representative uses…
Love (26) (agape) is unconditional, sacrificial love which supremely describes the love that God is (1Jn 4:8,16) and that God demonstrates (Ro 5:8 [note], Jn 3:16, 1Jn 4:9). It is not surprising that Greek literature throws little light on its distinctive NT meaning. Biblical, divine love is the love of choice, the love of serving with humility (cf Mk 10:45), the highest kind of love (cf John 3:16), the noblest kind of devotion, the love not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship (cf we were - helpless = Ro 5:6 [note], sinners = Ro 5:8 [note], God's enemies = Ro 5:10 [note]).
J I Packer comments on the love of God which is in Christ Jesus…
Love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord - Denny comments that…
Matthew Henry comments on the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord…
A T Robertson concludes this grand chapter writing that "God’s love is victor over all possible foes, “God’s love that is in Christ Jesus.” Paul has reached the mountain top. He has really completed his great argument concerning the God-kind of righteousness save for its bearing on some special problems. The first of these concerns the fact that the Jews (God’s chosen people) have so largely rejected the gospel (Romans 9 to 11).
J C Philpot writes "This eternal, unchanging character of the love of Christ gives us something to stand upon apart from our fluctuating feelings, our wavering frames, and the changes that ever take place in our apprehensions of divine realities. The love of Christ to us is not changing and changeable like ours to him, but like himself abides forever. (The Love of Christ in Giving Himself for the Church)
Our salvation was secured by God’s decree from eternity past and will be held secure by Christ’s love through all future time and throughout all eternity.
George Matheson was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1842. As a child he had only partial vision, and his sight became progressively worse, until it resulted in blindness by the time he was eighteen. Despite his handicap, he was a brilliant student and graduated from the University of Glasgow and later from seminary. He became pastor of several churches in Scotland, including a large church in Edinburgh, where he was greatly respected and loved. After he had been engaged to a young woman for a short while, she broke the engagement, having decided she could not be content married to a blind man. Some believe that this painful disappointment in romantic love led Matheson to write the beautiful hymn which begins with the following stanza:
Because our God is infinite in power and love,
Because our God is infinite in power and love, we can say with David,
Because our God is infinite in power and love, we can say with Moses,
Because our God is infinite in power and love, we can say with the writer of Hebrews,
Harry Ironside concludes noting that "as Paul began this chapter with "no condemnation," he ended with "no separation."… Blessed, wondrous consummation of the most marvelous theme ever given to man! May our souls enter more deeply into it, and find increasing joy and spiritual strength as we contemplate this blessed assurance. (Romans 8 Commentary)
Job declared "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him." (Job 13:15)
The Psalmist expressed his confidence in His God with these beautiful words "My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 73:26 - see Spurgeon's note)
Matthew Henry - Mr. Hugh Kennedy, an eminent Christian of Ayr, in Scotland, when he was dying, called for a Bible; but, finding his sight gone, he said, "Turn me to the eighty of the Romans, and set my finger at these words, I am persuaded that neither death nor life,'' etc. "Now,'' said he, "is my finger upon them?'' And, when they told him it was, without speaking any more, he said, "Now, God be with you, my children; I have breakfasted with you, and shall sup with my Lord Jesus Christ this night;'' and so departed. (Ed note: Amen! May his tribe increase!)
F B Meyer…
Octavius Winslow devotional on Romans 8:38, 39…
Thank God for What We Cannot Lose -
Hold Me--It Hurts! - Suffering can become so intense at times that we don't know how we can take any more pain. It's in these moments that Jesus reassures us of His presence and sustains us, even though for reasons we do not understand the hurt is not taken away.
Dr. Diane Komp, a pediatric cancer specialist at Yale University, often must perform very painful procedures on children. She tells of a wonderful nurse's aide named JoAnn who reflects God's love. During the procedures, JoAnn comes in and holds the child and tells him that she will stay with him. Her hugs along with her loving and reassuring words have carried many children through those difficult times.
That's a glimpse of what Jesus does for those who trust Him in their suffering. He draws us to Himself and says that He will be with us in our pain, for nothing can separate us from His love (Ro 8:39).
How often we cry out for release, but no relief comes. The pain persists, but we sense God's presence. Later, as we look back, we can see how the Lord was with us, caring for us, meeting our deepest needs.
No matter what painful situation you may face today, remember that Jesus is holding you. —Dennis J. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Jesus shares your worries and cares,
F B Meyer has the following devotional…
THINGS FOR AND AGAINST