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We have been going through a study of the book of Romans with the youth group, and this week I am preparing to teach on one of my favorite passages in the entire bible, Romans 8:31-39. Have you ever felt far from God, or felt like your sin, shame, and guilt have separated you from his love? In this passage, Paul illustrates for us the great victory that we have in Christ and the reality that nothing can separate us. The climax of this passage is in vs. 37 when he declares “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” This powerful verse is an answer to the question in vs. 35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

 In this verse, Paul lists off a number of things that, in the eyes of the world, could very well be things that could cut you off from the love of a holy God. Tribulation, distress, and persecution have to do with pressure and suffering as a believer in this world. Suffering can be very difficult and when we go through hard times, it can lead us to question God and make us wonder if he even cares about what we are going through. Famine and nakedness have to do with the lack of necessary items. When you don’t have what you need-what is your attitude towards God? Does that mean he is not working? Nakedness could also mean a spiritual nakedness such as shame or guilt, feeling exposed and vulnerable. When you experience a deep sense of shame, does that mean God is not with you? Danger and sword have to do with the risk of death, or even death itself. If God is truly a God of love, why does he allow you to face danger? Does dying separate you from God’s love?

 The answer to all of these questions is a valiant NO! These things do not separate you, rather In all these things you are more than a conqueror. The phrase “more than conquers” is the Greek word “hupernikao”, which means “super-conqueror.” To be just a general conqueror is an incredible reality in itself, but Paul goes beyond that and says we are not just regular conquerors but we are more than conquerors! How is this possible? Through Christ who loved us! Because Jesus Christ prevailed on the cross, no power of hell can ever defeat us. As one author wrote, Christ proved his love for us by His sufferings so that our sufferings cannot possibly separate us from his love! Jesus has a super-conquering hold on your life, and because of that we can have complete confidence in our salvation and trust that nothing will ever come between us and His love. Paul was convinced of this, and he finished the passage by declaring in vs’s 38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 I want to encourage you with two truths for this week. First, when you are battling sin and temptation, know that you can experience victory over that sin because Jesus was victorious on the cross. You don’t have to keep losing the battle, because you are more than a conqueror and victory is yours in Jesus Christ. Second, when you are experiencing suffering, know that your salvation is secure and these momentary troubles will not cut you off from God’s love. The promise of this passage is not that God will necessarily take suffering away from us, but that while we are in the midst of suffering we can trust in God’s plan and dwell on our eternal victory in Christ. You are more than a conqueror!