Paul has just given a list of some of the most severe troubles that people suffer in this world (verse 35). He then adds that God’s people may suffer in a terrible manner because of their relationship with Christ (verse 36). Paul himself had suffered in many of these ways (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 and 11:23-27). However, he did not consider that any such experience could defeat a Christian - in other words, even the worst experiences cannot destroy their relationship with Christ. Instead, God’s people overcome their troubles as they stand firmly for Christ (James 1:2-4).
A ‘conqueror’ is someone who overcomes, especially in battle. Paul uses a form of the same word for ‘overcome’ that appears often in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26, 3:5, 3:12 and 3:21). In all these places, a Christian overcomes when he stands firmly for Christ through his (that Christian’s) troubles. Paul adds to the word for ‘conqueror’ another word, which means ‘over’; the result is to emphasise it. That is why our translations describe God’s people as ‘more than conquerors’.
God’s people do not overcome their troubles by their own efforts or strength of character (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). They overcome because of Christ, because of his death, which shows his love for them (Revelation 12:11). Christ’s love for his people will never change (Hebrews 13:8); however, in Romans 8:37, Paul speaks about how Christ ‘loved’ his people. As in Galatians 2:20, that is a reference to Christ’s death.
Next part: The power of Christ's love (Romans 8:38)
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© 2018, Keith Simons.