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By: Sean Williams

Copyright 2012

Hello and thank you for picking up a copy of this wondering study on Romans 8:28-37. This lesson is entitled More Than Conquerors which comes directly out of the study passage you will be reading. At the time this book is published I will be completing my undergraduate degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Pastoral Ministry. It has always been my desire to write a work and publish it as a simple aide to those who are seeking to go deeper into their faith and grow in their walk with God. It is my hope that if you do not know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior that you will allow this study to open your eyes and ears to the great wonders that God has in store for you. Of the many works that I hope to publish this is my first which has evolved from studies in Biblical Literature in the book of Romans. In January I had traveled with the school to Italy where we made a stop in Rome and to the tomb of St. Paul, the author of the Letter to the Roman Church. At this point the Rome of Paul is no longer the same as it is now the headquarters for

the Roman Catholic Church which is the dominate church in the country. The benefit however is that you are studying this out of an onsite study of Rome and the culture of the time in which Paul would have written this letter. In Rome there are a countless number of ruins which lay beneath the city. Many of these ruins are pagan temples which I briefly cover in this work and how the Jewish Christians upon their return to Rome were likely in utter shock of the culture they had once been a part of. Certainly the totality of this experience can never be explained, and ultimately must be experienced to fully grasp the seriousness of the culture to which Paul was in and the church he wrote this letter to. I pray a blessing upon you as you endure in your faith walk and that this study may benefit you in all that you do for Him that died for us and empowers us to walk in His truth and light.

Lesson Contents
Introduction Gods Mission (8:28-29) What Can Separate Us? (8:31-35) Through the Storm (8:36-37) Closing Remarks Application Study

MORE THAN CONQUERORS Romans 8:28-37 Introduction Romans offers us a lot of information on the aspects of life, maybe even more so the Christian life. Of the entire book of Romans, Romans 8:28-37 offers us a glimpse just as to the might and power which is within the capability of every Christian who seeks to be in the center of Gods will and purpose for the world. Dr. David Jeremiah makes this point pretty clear in his study of Romans Lots of people believe everything happens for a reason, but only Christians can know for sure. Rather than trusting in fate, believers live by faith in a loving God who causes all of lifes puzzle-pieces to fit together to form a beautiful, complete picture.1

In A Turtle on a Fencepost, Allan Emery tells of accompanying businessman Ken Hansen to visit a hospitalized employee. The patient lay still, his eyes conveying anguish. His operation had taken eight hours, and recovery was long and uncertain. Alex, said Ken quietly, you know I have had a number of serious operations. I know the pain of trying to talk. I think I know what questions youre

asking. There are two verses I want to give you Genesis 42:36 and Romans 8:28. We have the option of these two attitudes. We need the perspective of the latter. Hansen turned to the passages, read them, then prayed and left. The young man, Alex Balc, took the message to heart. He later enjoyed full recovery. Every day we choose one of these attitudes amid lifes difficultiesto be beat-up, or to be up-beat. To say with Jacob in Genesis 42:36: All these things are against me. Or to say with Paul in Romans 8:28: All these things are working together for good to those who love the Lord2 This of course is the exact picture we need to keep in our perspective for this lesson. Too often we are living as if God does not love us, we do not have a purpose, or how am I ever going to get through this. This was likely not too far off from what the Christians at Rome had been facing in the first century when Paul had written this letter. In AD 49 the emperor Claudius had issued an edict that drove out all Jews from Rome due to disputes and chaos over someone called Chrestus likely being confused for Christos meaning Christ. The Jewish Christian is likely returned to quite a

different Roman church than they had remembered as they were now a minority facing not only a majority of Gentile Christians, but also an influx of pagan religions in the community, which could make anyone very uncomfortable when their home is no longer recognizable to them.3 It is only fitting that Paul is writing verses 2837 in chapter 8 to remind the Christian community that God loves them, that He has a purpose, that His children have a role in this mission, and that the one who began a good work in them would continue to do so and would empower them through hard times.

Gods Mission (8:28-29) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified Romans 8:28-30 ESV

It is no mistake here that Paul uses the word love right next to God followed by the term good. We know from scripture that God is love. It is this love which is to be characterized by the Christian and which is made clear in verse 29 by the fact that we are called to embody the image of Christ in our day to day lives. What does this mean? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? It might be argued that what it means for us to embody Christ image is to embody Trinity itself, to be in the image of God, as laid out in the creation narrative and made clear in John 1. It is through the triune God that we are made holy with Gods passion for justice and an ability to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbor as ourselves. By this we are revealing Gods eternality and His existence before creation.4 Because of the very nature that God is love and God is good we know that everything that happens to us is placed perfectly in His plan and we are called to take part in that mission. That mission of course is to work for the redemption of all creation and share the good news with all. God works with our free will and extends grace

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to us in that free will by calling us unto salvation. With all hearing that good news of salvation He knows that some will come to know forgiveness and follow God and some will reject it all together. Those who accept the good news and allow it to become a part of them are thus predetermined by God to take part in the redeeming work of Christ and share that same good news with others and embody the same image of holiness as all believers are to take part in. The purpose for this is that we might show to the world and the Christian community, that we are a people that care deeply about what we believe and the good of our fellow man in the world. God has called us all unto Himself and in so doing He has placed us in a state of right being with Him because of Christ sacrifice on the cross which we call justification. Because God has justified us, He has also promised to us a body of resurrection from a life of grave tending to one that is adventurously expectant for the next best thing God has in place for our lives. We are promised that at the second coming this will be complete when those who are dead in Christ will rise and meet with the Lord in the air.

What Can Separate Us? (8:31-35) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against Gods elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who diedmore than that, who was raisedwho is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Romans 8:31-35 ESV It appears that Paul is using a form of writing called diatribe in writing these verses. This is where a person anticipates questions the audience might ask and attempts to answer them. The question of course which Paul is anticipating is one that the Christians are likely struggling with: How can any of this be true? Are you not aware of what has happened to us, our home, and our church? How are we to go on? Where do we find purpose or meaning now? The list could

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be endless, but are these questions so off from what we still hear in many churches today? By using rhetorical questions Paul is driving home a reminder to us that all is not lost, that God has not forgotten us and that He is still on the throne and when He speaks from it we know that everything is alright. As the Scriptures tell us, God did not even spare Jesus the cross and gave Him up for us and that same God will grant us all things that are necessary for us. God sees when we are hurting and when our lives are in chaos. He is the one who justifies and the one who condemns and it is no one elses place to exercise this power. It is Christ who sits at the right hand of God and intercedes for us and demonstrates His love for us in this act. Furthermore, in verse 35 we see a very good summation of Pauls point for us by asking what can separate us from the love of Christ. Is it possible that in all our hardship that God will stop loving us? Can those who persecute us for our faith take away Gods love from us? Can our impoverished state drive God from being the one

who dwells within us? No! We experience life on two levels as illustrated in this account in the life of Corrie Ten Boom. Corrie Ten Boom was at the Nazi death camp Ravensbruck where roll call came at 4:30 every morning. Most mornings were cold, and sometimes the women would be forced to stand without moving for hours in the bone-chilling predawn darkness. Nearby were the punishment barracks where all day and far into the night would come the sounds of cruelty: blows landing in regular rhythm and screams keeping pace. But Corrie and her sister Betsie has a Bible, and at every opportunity they would gather the women together like orphans around a blazing fire, and read Romans 8: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Corrie later said: I would look about us as Betsie read, watching the light leap from face to face. More than conquerors. It was not a wish. It was a fact. We knew it, we experienced it minute by minute in an ever widening circle of help and hope. Life at Ravensbruck took place on two separate levels. One, the observable, external life, grew every day more horrible. The other, the life we loved with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory.5

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So, while it seems that the world around you is falling apart and ever shifting remember that God is always with you and is carrying you through the tough times in life. He will always provide you a way to persevere through the storm and pull you out of the water. Keep your eyes of Jesus and you will find that your trial is nothing compared to your God and His power.

Through the Storm (8:36-37) For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:36-37 ESV Obviously verse 36 is one of those passages that strikes you out of nowhere and seems misplaced or mistranslated, but it is in its rightful place. Greathouse refers back to Psalm 44:22 in this verse which is understood to be a reference to Israels suffering at the hands of her enemies and notes that rabbis would later on apply this passage to the martyrs of the faith during the Maccabean wars.6 For

the Jewish audience that Paul had with this letter this phrase would be understood by them as a means of comparison, that suffering was a normal; inescapable, and expected part of the Christian life. Paul is indicating to us that despite the hardships we face in life that the onward movement of the message of Christ is needed and it will have sacrifice and hardship with it, but this does not separate us from Gods love nor can it. We should understand suffering then as a means to share in Christ sufferings and for occasions to allow Gods strength to be embodied in us despite our weakness and to draw us ever more dependent on Him and His grace and strength. We can take comfort in also remembering that it is God who has the power over life and death and will raise us to glory as we learned about in verse 30. Just because we suffer in this life does not mean that God is mad at us, but it allows His power and majesty to speak to the world of the God we serve. As we come to a close with verse 37 Paul reaffirms his whole point in this passage and our study on it. It is in all the things we face in this life that God is seen. Despite our loss and pain, God is still

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God and is the ruling, reigning king over all the earth with the power to raise the dead back to life and to meet the financial, political, economic, or cultural problems facing you today. In the NASB translation of the Bible it translates this verse very nicely when it say that We overwhelmingly conquer we conquer our problems and calamities in this life through Christ act of love towards us on the cross, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Closing Remarks God has called us to take a part in this ever adventurous drama that tells of His mighty work of grace at Calvary. It is not easy to live the Christian life and we are going to mess up and come up against hardships, but we must remember that we can overcome these in the power of the cross. God has not however left us to do this alone, for not only is He with us and empowering us with His Spirit, but He has given us a great deal of tools to help us carry on. Our first tool of course is prayer. Prayer is our number one source of strength and power as a Christian. It helps to think of it as one of those little red phones you see in the movies that always are a

direct line to someone in power like the President or a commanding General, for the Christian prayer is our little red phone, our direct line to God twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, threehundred sixty-five days a year (366 on leap year) whenever we need Him or have a desire to just talk about what is on our mind. In this we can ask God for anything Jesus makes it clear to us that we have not the power or provision that we need because we do not ask (see Matthew 7:7-11). We are a part of a mission with a Father, who seeks to give to us the world, but we so often do not ask and we therefore do not have it, and thus we give up hope and faith in God instead of trusting Him that He does hear us and is coming through for us. It isnt always easy to wait on His provision, but He will always come through and provide you a way. Another tool which God has provided us is His Word, the Bible. The Bible is our one stop shop for all the necessary information we need to live the Christian life and to learn how to witness to the good news. History is such a powerful tool when it comes to the Bible because we read story after story of how our God

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has come through for the saints of old and has promised to continue this for us. Gods Word for us is our life-force that nurtures us in the way we must go and holds the answers to the problems we face, and when we cant seem to find it then God has also created for us those cool things called a concordance that list all the verses in the Bible that talk about a word, phrase, or idea that is discussed in the Bible. And probably the one that brings many hope and joy is the Christian community. While it is probably the most flawed out of all our tools because it is a group of imperfect people who hurt us and try our patience, but it is also the best group because it is full of the people who love us most. In this group we find hope and encouragement when we cant seem to find it on our own. We come across folks who have struggled through hard times similar to our own and have come through and can testify to Gods power and plan for us that He will pull us through in one way or another. This group will pray for you, care for you, and carry you through your time of trial and you will always be grateful for it in the end.

Certainly these are only some of the tools we have at our disposal as a believer, but they are the best ones out of the box. Tools so simple, yet we often take them for little more than a mere occurrence in our life from time to time and yet is still the one thing when it is all said and done that we can always fall back on because they are tried and true. Allow yourself to be a light to the dark world in which you live by performing to the best of Gods ability in you and surrendering your all to Him. Do the work of an evangelist being ready in season and out of season to give an account for your faith that you have in Christ Jesus. Go into the world and perform good deeds on account of your faith so that those who are of the world might see them and give God the praise and glory for you extending His blessing to them so that they too might share in the same power and mission you have entered into with God and the whole of Christianity.

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1. Read Ezra 8:22-23 a. Why were they afraid to ask the king?

b. What is the hand of God for?

c. Who is eligible to receive Gods goodness?

d. Against whom is Gods wrath? Why?

e. What did the people do to seek Gods favor and what was the result?

2. Read 1 Corinthians 7:17 a. What type of life should a person live?

b.What sort of life has God called us to? (Hint: See Romans 8:14-15 in The Message)

c. To whom does this rule apply?

3. Read Galatians 1:15-16 a. What did God do to Paul? When?

b. How did God call Paul?

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c. What did God show to Paul?

d. What was the purpose for showing Paul what he did?

e. Why do you think Paul didnt consult with anyone? Was this right of him to do?

4. Read 1 Corinthians 6:11 a. In your own words, what does it mean to be washed, sanctified, and justified?

b. By who was these works performed?

5. Read 1 Corinthians 15:57. a. What does God give us through Jesus?

6. Read Ephesians 5:2 a. How are we to walk? Why?

b. What did Christ do for us?

c. What are the characteristics of the sacrifice?

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Notations
1. Jeremiah, David. Romans: The Sons of God and the Spirit of God. Vol. 3. San Diego: Turning Point, 2000. Print. Living By Faith., 77 2. Morgan, Robert J. Nelson's Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes. Nashville: T. Nelson, 2000. Print., 743 3. Greathouse, William M., and George Lyons. Romans 1-8. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill of Kansas City, 2008. Print., 25 4. Williams, Sean T. "The Redemptive Christ." 2010. Sermon. 5. Morgan, Robert J. , 668 6. Greathouse, William M., and George Lyons., 28586