Now on to verses 36 and and 37 in Romans 8:
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Paul pulls a saying from Psalm 44:
Psalm 44: 21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart. 22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. 23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever. 24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. 26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.
This is an example of why I love the Psalms…they are very honest in expressing the emotions and struggles that humans face, and the way believers call out to God amidst those struggles. Don’t forget, Paul had just given a litany of bad things that cannot separate us from the love of Christ. Here, he is pointing out that we, by being believers, by standing for God and things that are right, we will be persecuted by the world.
This brings up an interesting apologetics point. Many non-believers would have people think that religion, esp. Christianity, was formed so that men could have power over other men; that preaching about faith and love is all about control. Along with this is the idea that it was all self-serving. I always laugh at that, because what did faith gain the earliest Christians in this worldly life? Torture, ridicule, prison sentences, death, dismemberment, being persecuted by their own cultural group, etc… Oh, yes, these men of God were greedy, power-mad individuals for sure. They were indeed counted as sheep for the slaughter…and in many countries of the world, my fellow brothers and sisters still are in a very real sense.
Also, this should make those preachers teaching that life as a Christian is a bed of roses stop and take note. We are going to face rough times, there’s no doubt about it, but these tough issues and events cannot separate us from the love of Christ.
What does verse 37 tell us? Not only will we eventually conquer all of those previously mentioned circumstances, but we are more than mere conquerors. The Greek term here is hupernikao, which my Strong’s tells me means, “to gain a surpassing victory.” What an interesting thought connected to the image of us being slaughtered sheep. Precisely how did Christ Himself conquer? Through death on the cross, and He conquered death itself by rising three days later. We have the same victory that surpasses mere conquering only through Christ as verse 37 clearly points out.
We gain the victory through Christ, we become conquerors through Him, then go on to eternal life with Him that loves us so dearly and bought us by His death. We can only wind up at that point by acknowledging what Christ has done and having faith on Him. Don’t expect the going to be easy, it isn’t, but the end result is all worth it, and the journey is too. I’ll continue on with the rest of the verse in my next installment.