Romans 8:37-39—Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.
We are not told that we will escape hardship, famine, danger, and sword, but that in those difficulties we will be more than conquerors through Jesus. The spiritual battle that is manifested in the physical is Satan’s tool to cause us to turn from Christ, but God uses it to cause us to be more dependent on Him. Through the One that loves us, we don’t just end up victorious, but even more than that, we are increasingly transformed into the image of the Son. Can anything separate you from His love? Paul was convinced that nothing could, and he should know. He went through shipwreck, beatings, scourgings, lack of food, abandonment, and much more. Look what he lists here: death, life, angels, demons, present, future, any powers, height, depth, or anything else in all creation. That about covers it. If God is the Creator and is determined to love you, why would anything He made be able to separate you from His love? What a sense of security the believer should have! If God didn’t spare His own Son to express His love to you, what could you possibly fear? We should be as convinced as the Apostle Paul. In that conviction, we should rest secure, free from condemnation and worry about tomorrow and eternity. When you are convinced of so great a love, you find personal worth in it, peace, comfort, and joy unspeakable and full of glory. There is nothing that love will not see you through! Consider: Are you convinced? If not, look again at the cross. Then, ask yourself if there is anything He will not see you through.
2 Chronicles 25:7-9—But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim. But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down. And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.
Amaziah, son of Joash, began to reign at the age of 25. At first he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not with all his heart. He mustered the troops to battle against Edom. The forces were only a third of what they once were when godly kings reigned. He hired another 100,000 soldiers from Israel as mercenaries. Then a prophet of God came with the warning that is the text for today. “If you use these soldiers, God will cause you to be defeated, because it is God who decides the outcome of wars.” Amaziah asked a question that is so much like what we would ask, “But what about all the money I paid already?” The prophet told him the obvious answer, “God can give you much more than that.” He sent the troops back, knowing that he was throwing away the money and infuriating them. The mercenaries did retaliate and raided some of the cities of Judah. It cost Amaziah to be obedient to God. God gave Amaziah the victory without them. The plunder would have been much more than the price he paid for the mercenaries. Don’t be tempted to use people and ways that God has not blessed. This is another illustration of the danger of yoking up with unbelievers. Then he did one of the stupidest things recorded in Scripture. He took the idols of the people he defeated and began to worship them. They certainly hadn’t worked for their former owners. He forsook the God who gave victory for ones that couldn’t help. From that time on it was downhill for Amaziah. In our day, the enemy’s gods are subtler than idols. They come in the form of man’s wisdom and pleasures of this life. Warning: Be careful to follow the LORD with all your heart so that when He gives you success, you do not turn to the powerless and vain things of this world, but stay wholeheartedly after the LORD.
2 Chronicles 24:17-18— Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.
Jehoiada the priest was a very positive influence on Joash and upon the nation of Judah. God’s grace allowed him to live to be 130 years old. Once he died, the officials of Judah began to exert their influence upon Joash. Instead of influencing the world around them with their faith in Jehovah, they wanted to be like the world around them and worship Asherah poles and idols. Joash was so influenced by them that the temple of God, which he had insisted be repaired, fell into disuse. God sent prophets to warn the people that they would not prosper if they continued down this path. Today, in our culture, we need to be the voice that warns that our nation will not prosper if we continue our current trend of forsaking the worship of the true God. One of the voices that spoke out was Jehoiada’s own son, Zechariah. He warned that if they forsook God, He would forsake them. The officials convinced the king to have him put to death. This was the son of the man who had saved him and set him up as king. He signed the order and Zechariah was stoned in the temple courtyard. When the voices of truth are silenced so that the people can go their own way without God, judgment is at hand. The next spring, the army of Aram came and killed all the officials that had such an evil influence and took the treasures of the city to Damascus. Joash lay wounded in his bed. His court servants assassinated him in revenge for the death of Zechariah. A great beginning, but what a sad end! We are tempted to not speak out for fear of facing Zechariah’s fate. The alternative is to face the fate of Joash.
Romans 8:28-29—And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Verse 28 is the most popular verse of believers today. It is easy to understand why. In this fallen world, sin causes such havoc in lives, so much pain. We can’t help but be affected by the consequences of the sins of others. The thief has come to kill, steal and destroy, and sometimes he is allowed to do that in our lives. We see that so clearly in Job’s story. It is an immense help to realize that God will, in some way we cannot yet perceive, cause the effects of that in our life to ultimately work for something good. The world does not love Him, and so it is not called to His purposes, but we do. The promise gives us a sure hope to cling to through the difficult times. Watch for the good God is working into your life through suffering. The next verse tells us the ultimate good of the suffering we endure. It is conforming us into the image of Christ. It is causing us to rely entirely on our Father as Jesus did. It is teaching us to express faith and patience like Jesus did. We are learning to share others’ pain and joy like Jesus did. This is the destiny of every child of God, transformation into the likeness of the Son. Whatever it takes to transform us, we will endure. You can help the process move along by being thankful instead of bitter. One of the greatest hindrances to the process is when we become angry at God for the suffering. The suffering inflicted is the enemy’s work. God is working to bring good out of it. You say, “Yes but God allowed it!” It is true; the alternative is a world of robots that are not free to do anything but compulsory obedience. Then we’d be asking why a loving God would not let us be free. God has chosen the best route for you to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. It isn’t any easy route, but it is the best one. Have you blamed God for some tragedy in life? Realize that it was not God that brought it. It is God that brings good out of it if we love Him and are open to His transforming work in us.
Romans 8:9-11—But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
The Apostle saw things in black and white. He declared that every man and woman is controlled by the sinful nature or by the Spirit. The Spirit of God cannot live in someone without controlling him or her. Most Christians seem to think that the Spirit lives in them but they are often controlled by their sinful nature. That isn’t the teaching we find here. Paul is telling us that if the Spirit of God lives in us, that old nature is dead to us, and our spirit is alive because of the righteousness of Christ. In 6:11 he encouraged us to consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God. Yet, most Christians consider themselves alive to sin and barely alive to God. We have compromised the Word and the power of the resurrection. It is not that we must insist that we have become sinless, but that we must recognize the power of the resurrection to break the control of sin and replace it with the control of the Spirit. Because of this common misconception, we tend to read verse 11 as something that will happen when we are physically resurrected one day off in the future. He is speaking of this very moment. The power of the Spirit that raised Jesus is at work in you, this very moment, to give life. Throughout the New Testament, death is walking in sin, and life is being in the Spirit of God. This physical house of our bodies can be made alive to obey the Spirit of Life, the Spirit of Christ, who indwells us. If Christ lives in you, consider yourself awakened to life, empowered to walk in holiness, and controlled by the Spirit of God. Remember: Know that you are enabled by the power that raised Jesus to walk in newness of life.