Before jumping into my 22nd verse of the year, let me plug Seeds Family Worship some more! Not only are their songs a great way for the whole family to worship and memorize Scripture, but they offer some cool free resources, like printable verse cards. Click on the picture below to go to their memory card page!
My verse this week is #1 on the album “Seeds of Character,” Romans 8:37. The song is called “More Than Conquerors” and omits the first few words of the verse but makes up for it by offering us some bonus words from Romans 8:39. Here is the entire verse in the NIV translation, which is the same as the “old” NIV, and also the same as the ESV translation. This must have been written in a pretty straightforward way in Greek. 🙂
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
It’s a pretty punchy verse on its own, isn’t it? So bold and encouraging! But the “No” at the beginning implies that we need to look back. And what are “all these things,” anyway?
Romans 8 is about many different-but-related ideas: believers’ freedom from the law of sin and death because of Christ’s sacrifice and the indwelling of the Spirit, hope of future glory for God’s children and the earth, challenging words like “foreknew” and “predestined,” and God’s everlasting love shown through the life and death and resurrection of his Son.
The “all these things” in verse 37 refers to the two previous verses, below (in ESV). (I think it also links back to verse 18, but for the sake of focusing on one passage at a time I’ll let you explore that on your own.)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
It looks to me like verse 35 acknowledges things that might cause one to doubt God’s love, and verse 36 (quoting from Psalm 44) acknowledges that suffering is real and ongoing for God’s people. But verse 37 tells us that these things, however discouraging, cannot reverse God’s redemption of his children, and what’s more, he gives us victory over these things. Thank you, Lord!
In verses 38 and 39 there is more encouragement to be found (again, ESV):
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So this is God’s redeeming love that he showed through sending his Son to pour out his life for us, and sending his Spirit to guide us. This love is more powerful than “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword.” He provides the power to conquer all of these things, and nothing can separate us from him.
In looking into this verse I mulled over the phrase more than conquerors, and wondered, “what is more than a conqueror?” I came up with the answer of THE conqueror, the one who has already conquered. I get to enter into a victory that has already been won! I don’t have to slay any dragons by myself, but only trust in the one who has already slayed them and watch them fall as I surrender my worry, fear, weakness, etc. to God.
I don’t know how much persecution or famine or danger will enter my life this week (probably none), but I do know a little bit about “distress.” It’s in my worries and my fears, those tricky things lurking in the back of my mind that try to discourage me and distract me from living the victoriously free life I have been given by God through Christ. I am so thankful for the encouraging truth of this verse this week, and always. I pray that anyone who reads these thoughts will be encouraged, too.
If you have thoughts to share on this verse (or the surrounding verses), I would love to hear from you in the comments!