“For in ALL THESE THINGS we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37 NASB. Bold emphasis mine)
What does St. Paul mean by “all these things”? I would offer that it applies to matters addressed throughout the entire chapter – as much if not more than what is mentioned in verse 35 – tribulation, distress, persecution, nakedness, peril, and sword specifically.
This idea about the meaning of “All these things” gains even more depth with even a casual glance at what’s listed from the beginning: obligation to the flesh (verse 12), sufferings (verse 18), weaknesses such as the inability to pray (verse 26), the charges and condemnations of the accuser (verse 33), and even being regarded as sheep for the slaughter (verse 36). For example, today it is popular to use the derogatory term “sheeple” to describe people of Christian faith, and sometimes humanity in general in the current anti-Christian and anarchist milieu.
Other things overwhelmingly conquered also are described beyond our focus verse 37 to include (in 38 and 39) death, life, angels, principalities, current events, the future, powers, height, depth, or any create thing.
The list throughout the chapter is very inclusive, and the reader is encouraged to meditate on this prayerfully and to thus gain insight into personal applications.
Ordinarily when one hears a teaching or sermon on our focus verse, it is related to the conditions immediately preceding it. They are perilous matters to be sure. However –
If we take the entire chapter as one continuous sublime Pauline idea, “all these things” are part and parcel of what is also inwardly overcome as spiritual challenges within the person, not just in the outer world’s circumstances. Had I not decided to peruse the entirety of this chapter in my musings this, I’d have been short changed in my understandings, and I would not be sharing these insights.
Often we think of “conquering” or “overcoming” in terms of beating the external and often hard challenges of life – largely matters outside of us. Yet Paul begins with the challenges most often ignored by religion by discussing the internal conditions of believers – that of the Kingdom of Heaven within. Right out of the gate the apostle reveals what it means to be more than conquerors in putting to death the deeds of the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit.
At the first light of conversion, we realize that we’re no longer under obligation to the flesh (verse 12) to live according to its dictates. When the Holy Spirit enters the inner terrain of the Kingdom – rightfully belonging to the Lord, but has been held in the captivity of darkness – often the first realization is that we’re no longer under enslavement to the natural-born sin within! Its programs and constructs are being demolished. As the Light of Christ enters the innermost being, by the Holy Spirit, the desire to live in or be bound by sin bows down, backs off, and must ultimately relinquish the inner territory. This is often a dynamic and life changing moral liberation.
The Blood of the Lamb Christ Jesus already “sealed the deal” on Calvary and dictates the terms of surrender. He ransomed us. We’re His! It must be absolute. Some obligations to former “landlords” disappear immediately and unconditionally at this moment of rebirth. Some strongholds surrender and succumb with struggle and with the passage of time.
Conversion may better be called formation, as it represents a lifelong, little by little advance by the Light of the Holy Spirit upon the inner darkness which it always dispels (dis-spells!). It can be likened also to the sun as it rises over a landscape, eventually routing out all the darkness of night until it is no more.
The point is that, for anyone who actually is led by the Spirit of God, victory is ultimately guaranteed, if we are not under some false belief system that defines grace in its own terms. Forgiveness is not only pardon, but it also implies the application of the all powerful love of God, with a mindset of full surrender in its recipient to Christ. Once its freedom from obligation to the flesh is experienced, ongoing conversion becomes quite desirable, compelling, and the highlight of life. Full surrender does not mean the blind following of sheep, but that of someone who has experienced the Lord’s transforming spiritual inner work – that of being set free from bondage to sin.
We are created by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and set apart to live out our life led by the Holy Spirit. As this new modus operandi is put into place, we become sons of God.
No way around it – the “flesh” is the problem. It cannot produce any works “for” God, as it has its own ideas about righteousness, although many religious people are told that they must do work for God without being led of the Spirit – as if God needs anything from our flesh!
It is more about what God offers us. Evil and the evil one must be evicted from the premises of our being. It takes divine intervention through the Holy Spirit to do that – something the flesh and the un-surrendered will want nothing to do with! Yet this is the only way to sonship: full surrender to our pardon and a new life outside the cosmic jail.
Thus Jesus admonishes His disciples in every age to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (the italicized part often gets left out in pop religion). Then “all these things” shall be added unto you.
Is it not curious that St. Paul uses that same phrase – all these things – and relates to us that we are more than conquerors, not by being obligated to the dictates of the flesh, or the siren song of the world system, but by the Holy Spirit of the Lord? “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord!
Our seeking is not after success in all these things, but after the Lord, after the kingdom, and especially after His righteousness! Then all these things follow and flow as a byproduct of terms of surrender to Him.
This has always been and still is the problem with much organized religion: other paths are offered which actually encourage souls to remain under obligation to the flesh, without the life imparting work of the Holy Spirit. Real conversion, repentance, and full surrender to the Holy Spirit – leading to the formation of Christ in us – is not only not taught; it is not understood by many a preacher, priest, or pope! Instead, everything from ritual and observance of days to “easy believe-ism”, are offered as substitute salvation to the unsuspecting pew sitter.
Let these pseudo church systems die! Let these Luciferian constructs, which cost men their souls, suffer “mass extinction”, as souls awaken by the power of the Holy Spirit, in essence walking away in a “mass exodus” out of spiritual Egypt. For has He not said, “Out of Egypt I have called My son”? Let the Holy Spirit come mightily upon church goers, and let them walk out of Psycho Babble-On, out of spiritual captivity into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
Let that religious whore spirit, who tantalizes with false formulas and false grace, be starved to death as men turn away from her, no longer under her spell. Let her be evicted from the Earth, as is the intent of the Lord Who created Earth and humanity to inhabit and reign in love in it, without the deceits of these intruders.
Let every heart who has been led astray by her charms, pomp, and pageantry be set free by the Holy spirit into the glorious liberty of the sons of God!
Let every damning force, driven by the darkness, which through treachery and deceit cunningly lures souls into its pit, suffer what it has foisted upon mankind and coerced him to become from the beginning – the rightful harvest of every deceitful seed it has ever planted!
Let the sons of God – all who are led by the Spirit of God – now come forth in the freedom for which Christ Jesus set us free, arising in His power and might, and let us be more than conquerors – in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ Who redeemed us to be His own and to live and reign in and with Him forever. Amen.
Let us call out to receive the Holy Spirit. The Father will not give a stone when His children ask Him for bread…