|Volume 22 Number 6 August 2020||
The Bible tells us that Christians will have persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Christians will face tribulation and hardship (Acts 14:22). Christians will experience hatred from many people who are antagonistic towards Christianity. Yet, even though there are many difficulties Christians must endure, we must remember that we are victorious. In fact, the Bible says we are always led in triumph through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14). As long as we are in Jesus Christ, we win in the end. Knowing that we will ultimately end up as victors should shape the way we live our lives now. In Romans 8, Paul wrote what could be called the most victorious chapter in the New Testament. He detailed our relationship to God, sin and trials, and he concluded that we are victorious. Notice a few of the amazing points that he made in this chapter and allow them to enrich your life and your faith.
We Are Not Condemned
Paul began the chapter by saying, “There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). This verse should ease our burdens and relieve our hearts. While earlier in this letter Paul said that all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), we are without condemnation. How can this be? Those of us who have obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ are now the servants of righteousness (Romans 6:16-18). In Christ, God forgives all of our sins. He does not hold them against us (Acts 22:16). We no longer have to fear approaching the Judgment Seat of Christ because we will not be condemned. As we walk in the light, the blood that cleansed us at baptism continues to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7).
This does not mean that we are sinlessly perfect, but it does mean that we are not slaves to sin (1 John 3:6, 9). We are justified by faith in Jesus, and God considers us acquitted of all of our sins (Romans 5:1-2). Christians know victory because of what Jesus secured on the cross. We should not live our lives wondering if God will condemn our souls to hell but confidently expect the eternal life that will be ours when this life is over (1 John 5:13).
Suffering Will Be Replaced with Glory
Paul did not deny that Christians suffer in this present life. There is suffering to be experienced in this world even if we are Christians. Paul declared that our suffering will not be able to be compared with the glory that will be ours in eternity (Romans 8:18). Jesus promised His disciples that in the world they would have tribulation but that they could be cheerful because He had overcome the world (John 16:33). The suffering we know now will fade away when we are in God’s presence with all of the redeemed forever. So many Christians have known disease, heartache, death and sorrow in this life. The good news is that there is not one trial that we have known here that will be able to sneak into the next life where we are headed. When God destroys this world with fire, He will destroy the trials and every other cause of suffering with it (2 Peter 3:10). Our present suffering will be replaced with future glory. Part of our experience with glory will be the glory we see when we behold God (Revelation 5:11-14). In addition to the glory we will see, there is a glory in which we will share. We will be like Jesus and see Him as He is (1 John 3:1-3). There is no amount of sorrow or suffering in this life that can dim our view of the glorious future we will know in the world to come.
God Is for Us
The Creator of the universe not only knows and loves us, but He is for us. Paul asked a rhetorical question, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The obvious answer is that if God is for us, it does not matter who is against us! Our enemies are no match for our God! There are times in the Bible when God was said to be against a nation or an individual (Nahum 2:13; 3:5). When God is against someone, he is doomed, no matter who comes to his aid. When God is for someone or He is on his side, it does not matter who comes against him in opposition. The Christian life is one of victory because God is on our side! God wants what is best for us as He works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). Since God is for us, we should not fear anything that man can do to us (Hebrews 13:5-6).
When the Bible says God is for us, it means that He is doing all that He can to ensure that things turn out for our eternal good. God has given us His Word so we can know His will (Matthew 4:4). God has given us His Holy Spirit to indwell us as His people (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5). We are clothed in the Christian armor, which equips us to stand against the schemes of the Devil (Ephesians 6:11-18). We should rejoice above all people in the world because God is on our side (Psalm 118:6).
We are More than Conquerors
Paul ended Romans 8 by stressing that Christians are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). Then, he got specific and listed everything imaginable that would try to separate us from God and showed it to be unsuccessful (Romans 8:38-39). There is nothing that can separate us from God if we are in Christ! If we will not give into sin or surrender our faith, we will be those who conquered and then are crowned (2 Timothy 4:8). The love of God is so powerful and intense that it is able to break through every physical barrier the enemy may try to put up to block it. God’s love was powerful enough to devise an eternal plan to save our souls (Titus 1:2). His love was mighty enough to cause Jesus to leave Heaven to come to earth (John 3:16). Further, the love of God is potent enough to abide with us as we sojourn through this world and let our light shine. Christians are not losers; we are winners!
Knowing that we are free from condemnation and champions in Jesus, we should be motivated to endure until the end. Too many times, Christians become discouraged and weary in this life, and they stop short of the goal. Paul provided this encouragement in Romans 8 to keep our minds centered on the true reality. The Christian life is not always easy, but it is always worth it. Romans 8 is a chapter on which to reflect when life is tough and Christianity seems burdensome. Remember what is coming! Remember to persevere!