Dr. Mark Scott wrote this treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson. Scott teaches preaching and New Testament at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri. This lesson treatment is published in the July 31 issue of The Lookout magazine, and is also available online at www.lookoutmag.com.
By Mark Scott
We have a grandson who can be hyper. Guess what? God is hyper, and so are we. Twice in our text the word for “hyper” appears (as a preposition in verse 31 and as a prefix to a verb in verse 37). God is hyper for (or on behalf of) us, and we are hyper conquerors because of God’s love.
In Romans 6–8 Paul answered the issue of how Christians should handle sin after their justification by faith. He essentially gave three responses: Remember your baptism (Romans 6). Remember that you are still in the flesh (Romans 7). Remember that you are to walk in the Spirit (Romans 8). Remembering these things will help us be more than conquerors, and Paul gave three reasons for why that is true:
Because God Works for Our Good | Romans 8:28-30
Paul makes a great declaration: God works for the good. Our circumstances might cause us to think otherwise. The all things of verse 28 refer back to the sufferings mentioned earlier in the chapter. But even in those sufferings God works for the good of those who are continuing to love him. People who love God have responded positively to God’s call and want to live their lives according to his purpose.
Next are the most theologically challenging verses in our text. All Christians agree that God works for our good when it comes to his role in our salvation. The question is, do we play any role at all? Do we have a vote in our salvation? Many Evangelicals say no. God predestined it all and does it all. Others suggest that God is so sovereign that he can build free will into salvation if he wants to.
At any rate, God is not lacking when it comes to knowledge. He foreknew everything so he predestined (saw it before the horizon) a group of people to be like Jesus (conformed to the image of his Son). Note the predestination is corporate—not individual. Jesus has an exalted position (firstborn), and so do his people who have been called, justified, and glorified.
Because Jesus Was Not Spared | Romans 8:31-36
Another reason we are more than conquerors is because God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all. God is for (hyper) us. He demonstrated that by the gift of Jesus. To emphasize that point Paul asked seven rhetorical questions. The answers are obvious: “Nothing, No one, He will, No one, No one, No one, No.”
God sent Jesus so that we could be graced. No one can condemn us since Jesus’ resurrection ensures that we are reconciled (Romans 5:10). Jesus continues to be for us in his ministry on our behalf in Heaven. He sits at God’s right hand, a place given him by being firstborn and by having made purification for our sins (Hebrews 1:3). This allows him to intercede (petition) for us. This is ministry he shares with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26).
The cross is a historical fact. If we have any doubts about God’s care for us, we can throw them at the foot of that objective reality. Therefore nothing can separate (the normal word for divorce; it appears twice in our text) us from the love of Christ (his love for us). Just as Paul earlier asked seven questions, now he posed seven things that could potentially separate us from Christ. Troubles in a fallen world or persecution from people who would harm believers are no match for the love of God. Sometimes we might feel as if we are being slaughtered (quote from Psalm 44:22), but we are more than conquerors through Christ’s love.
Because God’s Love Is for Us | Romans 8:37-39
This theme of God’s love is now given full press. It is as if Paul challenged anything out there in the universe to try to separate him from the love of God. If we didn’t understand Paul’s implied answers to his previous seven questions, he gives a strong start to verse 37: No. It is actually through all of the challenges of life that we realize we are hyper conquerors. Paul gave four contrasts (death/life, angels/demons, present/future, height/depth) and two generic items (powers; anything else in all creation) to emphasize that God’s love is for us.
It can be a challenge when children are hyper. But to have a hyper God helps us be more than conquerors.
*Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.
|HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS|
|August 1: Psalm 12|
|August 2: Ezekiel 39:25–29|
|August 3: Proverbs 28:18–20, 26, 27|
|August 4: 2 Thessalonians 3:1–5|
|August 5: 1 John 5:13, 18–21|
|August 6: 1 John 4:7–16|
|August 7: Romans 8:28–39|