Who are we in Christ Jesus our Lord?
In thinking about God's eternal love toward those who are in Christ, the apostle Paul wrote these comforting words to the church in Rome - (Romans 8:37-39) "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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." What do these words mean to us today? What power do they have over us as we live out our lives today?
To answer these important questions we must understand the audience to whom Paul wrote this letter. The church in Rome was situated in the heart of a polytheistic (worshipers of many different gods) environment. These people were truly pagan (those who practiced a form of polytheism) and therefore given over to every passion and desire that man, or "the god's", could offer them. They felt that it was foolish to believe in one god and therefor followed after and worshipped, many god's. They had a god for almost any situation in life. But the one thing they lacked was the one true eternal God of Creation - Yahweh. I say that they lacked because what their god's offered was nothing at all. You see, their god's were not real, they were made up in the sinful mind of man and since this was the case, their god's lacked any power to help them.
In his understanding of this truth, the apostle to the gentiles - Paul, wrote to the church and reminded them that they should not follow after the practices of the pagans because their hope and security was rooted in a lie. Yet, even as he wrote this epistle (Greek for letter), he knew that his words, if followed, would cause severe suffering to the church of Christ. For this reason he wrote the verses that we read above. And if you think about it, not much has changed today. We live in a "free country" but how free are we to express our Biblical views? How welcomed is our "religious freedom" when we chose to live it out in public? And why do we keep our Biblical convictions private? I would venture to guess that we hold back because we fear public reprisal and rejection. But what does the apostle say? "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."
That is, as we stand boldly against secularism (the abandonment of religion) and paganism, we can be confident, in our Lord Jesus Christ who stands before us. And as we stand boldly in Christ, with a conquerors mindset, we can live victoriously against any other challenges that people or situations will throw at us. Standing firmly in this truth, Paul continued with his letter and wrote, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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." Here Paul is drawing a clear line in the sand and telling us that nothing in creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of the Creator.
Read these verses over and over again this week. Meditate on them and pray for their transforming power to change your mindset and your outlook on life. Do not be dismayed; do not be shaken by all that is going on around you. Trust in Christ and trust in God! Jesus said in the John 10:28-29, "I give them [referring to all those who would come to believe in Him as Savior and Lord] eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” What Jesus is saying here is that He holds you in the hollow of His sovereign hand and God the Father cups His hand with His own mighty hand and therefore, you will never be overtaken or lost. If you are in Christ, then what do you have to fear?
Let me end this devotional with another word of encouragement. If we are in Christ then we are as the apostle Paul wrote, "more than conquerors". Therefore we will be victorious in this life and the next! Now pass this message of hope on to someone who needs it.
May God bless and guide you as you seek to follow and trust in Him.