“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
In verses 1-4 the apostle Paul explains why there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.What does it mean to be in Christ Jesus? (John 14:20, 17:21-23; Eph 5:31-32)Why is there no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus?
Verses 5-17 assume that there are only two possibilities in life: the life that is controlled by sinful nature; and the life that is controlled by the Spirit.Who decides whether you live according to the sinful nature or according to the Spirit, you or someone else?How do you end up being “controlled” by the sinful nature or by the Spirit? (5-8)What is the outcome of these two options? (13, 17)What does this suggest about how the Lord God created us to live our lives? (Genesis 1:26-28)
Verses 18-25 describe the hope a believer has in Jesus, and verses 26-27 depict the way the Spirit helps the saints as they wait for this hope to become a reality for them.Compare verses 18-27 with verses 28-30.In verses 18-27 we see expressions like, “we know” (22, 28), “we do not know” (26), and “God foreknew” (29).What do we know?What don’t we know?Who did God know in advance?
In verses 31-39 Paul talks about the love of Christ and of God.How do we know that God loves us and is for us?Why is the conviction of God’s love important for us as believers?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
In the passage for today the Apostle Paul teaches us that the Spirit of God works in a believer that he or she would be saved into God’s presence. Paul brings this to our special attention so that we would know Him working in us personally, open ourselves to Him fully, and learn to even work together with Him, not just for our own salvation, but for the salvation of many. Let us see how the Spirit of God works in the life of a believer.
First, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (1-4).
Let us read vs. 1-4 together. In this passage Paul says that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. “No condemnation” refers to a believer's blessed status on the Day of Judgment before God. Condemnation is a legal term. If you are convicted of one crime or another, such as murder or robbery, a judge will mete out appropriate punishment such as giving you a prison term of ten years. To be locked up in a prison like LA County Jail is terrible. But, even more terrible than this is to be found guilty of sin before God on the Day of Judgment. That person is eternally shut out of the presence of God. And the Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So all sinners remain condemned.
But there is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. If anyone is "in" Jesus Christ, God sees him as "not guilty"; God considers that person as innocent; God sees him as righteous, so that person is qualified to live in the presence of God for good. This is the blessing of all blessings.
This then naturally leads us to consider the importance of the meaning of the little expression "in Christ." What does it mean for one to be "in" Christ? We can find an answer to this question in Romans 8:9-11 where we find the expressions like “if the Spirit of God lives in you”, “if Christ is in you” or “if the Spirit of him…is living in you.” Paul started out with the idea of a man who is “in” Christ Jesus, and then in these verses he talks about the idea of the Spirit of God, or the Spirit of Christ, or simply Christ living “in” you. So for one to be “in” Christ is not a one-sided transaction. Rather it refers to a man involved in a relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the most intimate way conceivable.
There are tons of Bible passages referring to this same truth. Among them are: John 14:20; 17:21-23; and Ephesians 5:31-32. These Bible passages have one thing in common: oneness, indicating that to be “in” Christ Jesus means a lot more than to recite John 3:16; it rather means to be “one” with God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised to send to all who believe in Him.
Speaking of this relational oneness, John 14:20 reads, "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." Here the word "realize" indicates knowledge by experience. The other day together with Shepherd Neal I went to Togo's Sandwich shop. There we ordered sandwiches and we ate them. I ordered the item called “Sicilian Chicken Sandwiches” and Mountain Dew. The food was very tasty. I “realized” that the Sicilian Chicken Sandwiches are good. The same is true with our life in Jesus. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” Jesus has many nick names. (In fact he has 700 different names.) One of them is Logos or simply the Word with a capital W. If you eat His Word, His life arises in you. And just as your stomach rises as you eat sandwiches, and thus making you feel good, so also as you eat his Word your spirit rejoices in him. The joy and the peace that comes from him is supreme. In this way you come to know that the Lord is good. You know it by experience. To be “in” Christ then means to experience His goodness through one’s relationship with Him. And in order for one to be in a personal relationship with Him, one must study God’s word diligently, for Jesus best reveals himself through the Bible. Nowadays growing brothers and sisters in the Downey Center go through summer programs, some studying the book of Genesis, some John’s gospel. These books lead one to know Jesus Christ personally. Eating God’s word from these books of the Bible leads man to become one in spirit and mind with Jesus Christ.
John 17:21-23 further illustrates the idea of oneness in one's relationship with Jesus Christ among all who believe in Him. Let us look at this blessed passage, for here right before his sufferings on the cross he prayed for all believers saying, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
The idea of oneness among multiple parties is also illustrated in a marriage relationship. On August 7, 2004, noon time, we would like to gather together at the Downey Center to establish a family of God between David Shin and Esther Kim. The Bible passage we would like to think about in fulfilling this work of God is from Genesis 2:24, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." This passage surprises us for as God joined the two, that is, Adam and Eve, in a holy matrimony, He said to them in effect, "You are no longer two but one." He was looking at two individuals; and yet he says to them, “You guys will be one flesh.”
This union between a husband and a wife into oneness foreshadows the reality to come: Christ's relationship with his bride, that is, with all who believe in Him. Speaking of this truth, the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5:31-32, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church."
In Galatians 2:20 the Apostle Paul described his life in the Lord by saying, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Paul’s statement here indicates that the idea of one being “in” Christ is a lot deeper and nobler than one might think.
Why is it then that there is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ? In verses 2-4, the Apostle Paul says that because Christ died for our sins, God forgave us of our sins. He then sends the Spirit of life who in turn sets us, the believers of Jesus, free from the power of sin and death. This is why there is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus.
This transaction (the status of being under no condemnation) is never make-believe. It is a real transaction making real difference to man, for it comes with joy and peace. As we are set free from the power of sin and death, we can sleep well, eat well, and function well. We then are empowered to live our lives to the full. Referring to this "life-giving" effect of the Spirit from God, in verse 2 the Apostle Paul calls the Spirit from Jesus, “the Spirit of life.”
Here then is the question for everyone: Are you really “in” Jesus Christ? Some people may be inside of a church building on a bright Sunday, but may not necessarily be “in” Jesus Christ. Their bodies might be technically inside of a church “fellowship”, but their hearts and minds might not be “in” Jesus Christ. This is why there are so many people who study the Bible diligently, and even teach the Bible with great zeal, but still are burdened by the sense of shame and guilt.Why? Again we find an answer to this question in verses 1-4, especially in the little phrase, “in Christ.” What the Lord God has made available in Jesus Christ is the forgiveness of one’s sins, the liberating work of the Spirit of life who sets every sincere believer free from the power of sin and death.
Second, you, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit (5-17).
In verses 5-17, the Apostle Paul indicates that there are only two categories of people: those who are controlled by sinful nature; and those who are controlled by the Spirit of God. To some this conclusion may sound strange so they might say, “Look! My life belongs to me. I live my life. I control my life. No one or no thing can control my life. I am my own boss.” If anyone says this, that person has yet to accept Romans 7; he has yet to admit the truth that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Without Jesus all are under the powerful control of sin and death, period.
So we are brought back to what Paul maintains: one is either controlled by one’s sinful nature or by the Spirit of life. At any moment, it is impossible for one to not be controlled by the sinful nature or the Spirit of God. By the same token it is impossible for one to be controlled by one’s sinful nature and by the Spirit of God at the same time. The truth of the matter is, one is either controlled by the sinful nature or by the Spirit of God.
Specifically how does one end up being "controlled" by either the sinful nature or the Spirit of God? In vs. 5-8, the Apostle Paul says that one comes to be under the “control” of either of the two in three steps. Step 1 is a choosing stage: one chooses to go by either what one’s sinful nature desires, or what the Spirit desires. Step 2 is a setting stage: one sets his mind either on what one’s sinful nature desires or what the Spirit desires. Step 3 is a final stage, and it is the stage of one submitting himself or herself to the control of either one’s sinful nature or the Spirit of life.
In comparing these two categories of people - those who are controlled by the sinful nature versus those who are controlled by the Spirit of God - one might think that living according to the sinful nature might be a lot better than living in accordance with the desires of the Spirit. But this is a great misunderstanding. Because we might entertain second thoughts on this point, in verses 13 and 17 the Apostle Paul says that the life that is controlled by sinful nature is death, but the life that is controlled by the Spirit is life.
Romans 8:13 reads, "For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live," Romans 8:17 then reads, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
This passage says that the life that lives according to one's sinful nature and eventually gets controlled by it has no future. The life that follows the desires of the Spirit may come with lots of difficulties, but in the end it will result in glory. In verse 17, the terms "heirs of God" and "co-heirs with Christ" refer to the right to inherit the world to come, that is, a new heaven and new earth, the home of righteousness (2Pe 3:13).
This observation reminds us of the way the Lord God created us to live our lives. He gave each of us the free will to make a choice either to obey Him or to disobey Him. If we decide to obey Him, through His Spirit He works with us that we would have life to the full. He provides us with all the help we need for a fruitful life. Of all the help the Lord God comes up with, the provision of the Spirit of life is by far the greatest. The life that follows the desires of the Spirit of life is a joint venture or a partnership between God and man. Imagine a man working with God and God working with the man. Wouldn’t it be an awesome venture? This then tells us that daily we must be conscious of His divine presence through the indwelt Spirit of God who is with us working in and through us. Speaking of the importance of us working with the Spirit, the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” He also says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” Then in Ephesians 5:18, he says, “Be filled with the Spirit.” One of the best ways to be filled with God’s Spirit is to study God’s word (which is God-breathed), obey it, and then teach it to others.
Third, who hopes for what he has (18-30)?
Verses 18-25 describe the hope a believer (a saint) has in Jesus. Verses 26-27 depict the way the Spirit helps the saints as they wait for this hope to become a reality for them.
When we compare verses 18-27 with verses 28-30, we see that verses 18-27 describe the hope we have in the Lord, whereas verses 28-30 illustrate how the Lord helps us to fulfill this hope for us. The hope we have can be summed up with two redemptions: the redemption of our bodies and the redemption of our environment. In order for a perfected world to become truly perfect, these two components must be secured: both the person and the person's environment must be perfected. Suppose a man with leprosy wears a brand new tuxedo. Would he be happy? No. His tuxedo is really nice, but his body is not. The universe and everything in it including plants and animals, will all fulfill their true purpose only when we will have received a fully resurrected body made suitable for the enjoyment of the perfected world.
Whenever we think about the glorious hope we have in the Lord, the hope of the perfect life in the perfected kingdom, we are thrilled and overjoyed. But when we think about the reality which is yet to be overcome, our joy quickly wears thin and our excitement fizzles out. And even some doubt arises, so we might end up saying, "Well, it sounds too good to be true."
Practically then, how can we be sure that this hope will become a reality for those who believe in the Lord? In verses 22-29, the Apostle answers this question with expressions like, "We know" (22,28), "we do not know" (26), "[God] knows" (27), or "God foreknew" (29). These expressions sound confusing. But as we compare these passages two things become clear: first, our knowledge about many things, especially the life after death, is limited, but God's is not; and second in order to fill the gap, that is, the lack of our knowledge, the Lord God has sent the Spirit of God to intercede for us.
More amazing than this is the truth that it is not only the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us but also Jesus Christ. Let us read Romans 8:26-27. "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." And let us look at Romans 8:34, "Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
This passage shows that there is constant communication between this physical world and the spiritual world, between God the Father in a spiritual realm and us here still living in this physical world. While we are making a spiritual journey to his kingdom, the Spirit who resides in us keeps communicating with God the Father through Jesus. Then Jesus who is physically away from us, and is now staying with the Father seated at the right hand side of God, keeps communicating with the Father God on the behalf of every believer. And there is no misunderstanding among God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of God.
This is like a man traveling from one place to another by an airplane. As he travels, he is monitored by a satellite communication system covering the flight from point A to point B. Yesterday Dr. Joseph’s family left Melbourne Australia via Malaysia Airlines and arrived at LAX safe and sound. During the flight they might have even fallen asleep inside of the airplane. But I am sure that a lot of people including the engineers working at the control tower at the Melbourne airport, worked hard to communicate with the pilots in the cockpit, and the ground crews operating at LAX worked to ensure that the aircraft holding Dr. Joseph’s family would be guided to LA and land in LAX safely. In some airplanes if you push a certain channel you can hear the communications constantly being exchanged between ground crews and the pilots at the cockpit.
Similarly, while we travel from this mundane world to God’s Kingdom, the Spirit of God who is inside of us constantly communicates with Jesus Christ who is seated next to God praying for all of us. Of course, we too offer prayers to God in the name of Jesus Christ. But often times we do not know what we ought to pray for. But the Spirit helps us in our weakness. The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
This teaches us that daily we must be conscious of his divine presence, so we would follow His guidance.
Fourth, No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (31-39).
In verses 31-39 Paul talks about the love of Christ and the love of God for us. Let us read this passage responsively. How do we know that God loves us and is for us? The surest way to know that He loves us is to take a look at what he did in sending Jesus Christ and how God demonstrated His love in the life of His Son Jesus Christ. Four gospels describe Jesus' acts of love for us. Of all the acts of love of God, the historical fact that God sacrificed His one and only Son Jesus Christ as an atoning sacrifice for our sins is by far the greatest evidence of His love.
Why then is this conviction of God's love important for us? Paul answers this question in verse 37. "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." This conviction of love keeps us safe and sound. It helps us to remain faithful to Him, and serving him willingly and joyfully despite hardships and temptations.
The Apostle Paul addressed the book of Romans to the Christians in Rome. The Romans conquered the world of Paul’s day. But in Paul’s view Christians conquered a lot more than the Romans. For example, the Roman Emperor Augustus conquered Rome. But thereafter he died. And he is still dead. He remains defeated. But Jesus is different. By rising from the dead, Jesus conquered death. The Lord God appointed Jesus as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Christians belong to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ so loved his bride, the body of believers, that he even died for their sins and then rose again for their justification. This Jesus sent the Holy Spirit who in turn works in all who believe in Him. In this way, God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit work to help Christians to live as more than conquerors.
This passage teaches us that God’s Spirit (also called the Spirit of Christ, or simply the Spirit (of life) works in the life of a believer to ensure that he or she will be fully saved into His presence, so that through this knowledge (of Him working in a believer’s life), each believer would work with the Spirit of God towards the completion of God’s redemptive purpose for each believer.
In verses 1-4, the Apostle Paul explains why there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. What does it mean to be “in” Christ Jesus? (John 14:20; 17:21-23; Eph 5:31-32) Why is it that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus?
** It refers to an intimate relationship between two parties, as in a marriage relationship in which two persons become “one”.
** Jesus took all the blows. He then covers us as we are in Him, covering us from any condemnation from anyone, including Satan.
Verses 5-17 presuppose that there are only two possibilities (or alternatives) in life: (1) the life that is controlled by sinful nature; and (2) the life that is controlled by the Spirit. Who decides to live either according to sinful nature or in accordance with the Spirit, you or someone else? How does one end up being “controlled” either by one’s sinful nature or by the Spirit? (5-8) What is the outcome of either of the two choices in life? (13, 17) What does this observation suggest to us about the way the Lord God created man in running one’s life? (Genesis 1:26-28)
** Each individual.
** First, one chooses to follow either their sinful nature or the Spirit.Second, one has one’s mind “set” on either of the two desires. Then third, one gets “controlled” by either of the two desires.
The word “lives”, “have…set on”, and “controlled” refers to either “digression” (inthe case of a man following the sinful nature) or “progression” (for those who follow what the Spirit desires).
** The life that follows one’s sinful nature is “condemnation” both in this world and in the world to come. This person is cut out of God’s divine presence, both here (while in a physical body) and now as well as there (in God’s perfected world in a risen body) in the future.
The life that follows the desires of the Holy Spirit is life to the full, which is to be revealed in a progressive manner, that is, first release from the power of sin and death, then the privilege to participate in his sufferings (while in this body), then receiving the resurrected body [at the time of Jesus’ second coming], and then becoming an heir and coheir with Christ [of the new world to come].
Verses 18-25 describe the hope a believer (a saint) has in Jesus, and verses 26-27 depict the way the Spirit helps the saints as they wait for this hope to become a reality for them. Compare verses 18-27 with verses 28-30. In verses 18-27 we see such expressions as, “we know” (22, 28), “we do not know” (26), or “God foreknew” (29). What do we know? What don’t we know? Whom did God know in advance?
** 1) We know how we lost God’s perfect paradise and yet how God came to restore this hope for us.
2) We also know that despite our weaknesses God will lead us to the desired haven, that is, His presence.
** We do not know what to “really” pray for.
** .A saint (i.e., each believer). Note: the word “know” or “foreknew” refers to the intimate knowledge one gains as in a marriage relationship.
In verses 31-39 Paul talks about the love of Christ and the love of God. How do we know that God loves us and therefore is for us? Why is this conviction of God’s love important for us who believe in His love?
** Through the historical fact that He sacrificed His one and only Son Jesus Christ as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
** It makes safe, sound, and secure in our journey to His kingdom, and thereby we
can complete our journey bravely and manfully, despite hardships/challenges/obstacles that might be found along the way.