What does it really mean that “we are more than conquerors through Christ”?
When you look at all the challenges in the world right now, along with whatever problems you may be dealing with in your own life, sometimes it’s easy to think that things are just getting worse all the time. When is all the violence, the hatred, the wars, the racism, going to end? When is greed and disrespect for individuals in governments, organizations, and even churches going to stop?
But what about the personal challenges you may be facing right now? Have you ever wondered where God is in all this chaos? I’ve certainly felt that way at times and I know many very faithful followers of Christ who have wondered the same thing. Romans 8:37 promises that we are more than conquerors through Christ.
Well, last week I found a word of encouragement from someone in one of my Bible studies at the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution. I’ve been conducting these Bible studies since 2008 and it’s been a wonderful source of inspiration over the years, not just because of the prayer and study I put into preparing for these Bible classes, but largely because of the insights that the people in the classes have shared with me over the years.
We are more than conquerors through Christ
Last Thursday, a woman shared a Bible verse that had been very helpful to her in dealing with the fact that she was in prison and having to face up to all the challenges that caused in her life. She had found comfort and encouragement in this passage from Romans, Chapter 8:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35, 37-39 KJV
The phrase that stood out to her, and was of the most comfort, was from verse 37, “we are more than conquerors.”
The more she talked about what that meant to her and how it had helped her put all her problems and challenges in perspective was really inspiring.
She kept coming back to the idea that usually we just want to conquer our problems and get the victory over whatever challenge we may have. But then she kept asking the question, “What does it mean to be more than a conqueror?”
The whole class talked about this for 10-15 minutes before we got to the Bible study I had prepared to share with them.
More than conquerors
So, I’ve been thinking about our conversation and the implications of what it means to be “more than conquerors.”
Usually when we have a problem or a challenge, we focus on finding a solution or resolution of some sort. And we’re grateful when we have a healing, a blessing, or a victory.
When a challenge is met and a victory won, we think of ourselves as the conquerors, so to speak, over the problem. But then we go on to solve the next problem, jump the next hurdle, win the next victory.
What if there’s more to our victory than just overcoming a problem? What does it really mean to be more than a conqueror?
Lewis was a “conqueror”
I know a fellow, Lewis, who worked really hard to achieve a business goal a few years back. And I mean, he really did work hard at it. He achieved his goal and was even more successful than he had hoped. He won some awards and got a lot of recognition. And his business grew by leaps and bounds.
And by the way, this was not just some six week project. He worked on it for more than a year.
How would you feel if you had been in his shoes and had those kind of results from all your hard work and efforts over such a long period of time? Pretty good, right?
He was elated. He had conquered his fears and beliefs of inadequacy. He overcame limitations, and surpassed his goal. It was an amazing experience.
1. Achievement by itself often has no lasting satisfaction
But the funny thing was that in just a day or so, that victory seemed far away and he had lost his sense of having accomplished anything, even though all he had done was still right there.
The same thing happened several times until he finally realized he had to quit identifying himself as someone who could only find fulfillment and purpose by meeting a business goal. In effect, he had to realize he was more than a goal achiever, or in the context of this podcast episode, he was more than a conqueror. He was a child of God before, during, and after a goal was met.
He had thought his sense of self-worth would come from achieving great things in his business. But when he achieved those things, the feeling of accomplishment didn’t last.
Think of all the times God has met a need in your life, solved a problem, or healed you in one way or another. It’s so important to remember those situations and be grateful for God’s love and protection.
What happens after a “victory”?
But what happens after you’ve been healed? What happens after a problem is solved? What happens after God gives you a victory over a challenge?
Coming back to that passage from Romans, Chapter 8, Paul is saying that whatever challenges may come our way, we are so much more than just someone who, with God’s help of course, has overcome a problem.
And by the way, Paul is not just talking about little everyday problems like a plumbing leak, or dropping a gallon of milk on the floor and it spilling everywhere. Although, we do have to deal with that sort of thing sometimes.
He’s talking about things on a more cosmic scale, if you will. He’s talking about the struggle between good and evil forces in the world and how those affect your life.
Just look at some of the things Paul mentions here that come knocking at our doors: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, even a sword. You may have faced some of these things on a personal level, but more often these situations come collectively to a large segment society.
The bigger picture
But all this is in the context of Paul’s ultimate declaration that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ or the love of God.
And Paul gets pretty bold here. He says that death and not even life can separate us from divine love.
Well, that has been pretty comforting to people over the centuries, that death cannot separate us from God’s love. But Paul says even life can’t separate us from God’s love. It finally hit me one day what Paul might be thinking about.
Have you ever felt like you would not fully experience God’s love for you until after you die and go to heaven? This can be a very subtle denial of the fullness of God’s love for you right now, here on earth.
Paul is saying that, being alive here on earth cannot separate you from the infinite and eternal love of God. All God’s love is here now and you are not separated from it, no matter what has happened, no matter what you have done, no matter what anyone else has done, under whatever circumstance. Neither death nor life can separate you from God’s love.
This goes along with what Jesus constantly preached, that
…the kingdom of God is at hand. Matthew 4:17 KJV
Since God’s kingdom is hand, all God’s love is also at hand, here and now.
Paul goes on to talk about all the other things that cannot separate you from God’s love, powers in heaven or powers in the earth, the past, or the future. Bible scholars say the height and depth Paul mentioned refer to the position of the stars. Astrology, the belief that the changing position of the stars and planets, and their proximity to each other, had power over your life, was very prevalent in Bible times, just as it is today. Paul is saying that the planets and stars cannot separate us from God’s loving control in our lives.
2. Nothing can separate you from God’s love
How often do you feel like something is separating you from God, that something is keeping you from having a victory over evil in your life?
Paul has declared this great truth that in all these challenges, we are “more than conquerors.” Now, you can either accept or reject this truth, but it remains true whether you believe it or not. If you go outside on a sunny day, the sun is still shining, whether you open your eyes or shut them.
So let’s come back to this idea of being more than a conqueror over all these things Paul has mentioned. What does it really mean for us to be more than conquerors?
In thinking about this I looked up this phrase in the original Greek to see if I could get any insights. What I found was interesting.
It’s a VERB
In many Bible translations, the passage is translated in a way that conquerors is a noun. But in the original Greek text, it is actually a verb, which means to gain a surpassing victory, to do much more than conquer. A more accurate translation could be: “we more than conquer [these problems] through him that loved us.”
This verb, “to more than conquer” is in the present tense and active voice. That means it’s not just sometime way off in the future, but that we are more than conquering things right now. And Paul makes it clear that if you feel you have more than conquered in the past, you cannot be fooled into thinking you’re no longer able to so.
It’s present tense; it’s now. You are more than a conqueror now.
I think there are two aspects to being more than a conqueror. It can mean when you overcome a specific challenge you’re facing. But in a larger sense, it refers to the final victory over all evil.
More than conquerors through Christ in daily life
Let’s talk about when you overcome a particular challenge in your life. Maybe it’s a problem at work that was resolved. Maybe it’s an addiction of some sort you found freedom from, a chronic disease that God has healed, or a recurring sin in your life that you’ve overcome.
These are holy victories, holy moments of gratitude and praise to God. But once the problem is solved, once the healing has come, once the sin has been washed away, who are you? Are you just a former sinner, sick person, or victim of a bad work environment?
No, you are so much more than that. You are so much more than someone who has overcome a problem. You’re discovering step by step who you really are as a child of God.
In fact Paul has already established the fact – your identity as a child of God – earlier in the same chapter. If you’re ever having an identity crisis and trying to figure out who you are, dig deep into Chapter 8 of Romans.
More than conquerors because we are the children of God
Paul gets very specific and to the point in
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14-17 NIV
You are so much more than a conqueror of sin or a challenging situation. You are an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ.
Every time you have a victory over a challenge, whatever it is, however big or small it is, you are more than just a survivor or a victor over the problem. You are a child of God with all the divine inheritance that goes with it.
Jesus teaches his disciples they are more than conquerors
Jesus explains this very thing to his disciples when they come back from a preaching and healing mission he sent them on. They had healed and done all kinds of wonders in Jesus’s name and were pretty impressed with their success.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Luke 10:17 NIV
But Jesus invited them to look at things from a broader, more spiritual perspective. He said,
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:19, 20 NIV
Jesus is basically telling his followers they are more than just conquerors over evil spirits, they are children of God, whose names are written in heaven. I did an episode way back in 2020 on what it means that your name written in heaven. It’s Episode 61: Your Name Is Written in Heaven.
3. One crucial detail…only through Christ
Now I just want to point out one more crucial detail that cannot be overlooked. Paul says we are more than conquerors, that we more than conquer the challenges that come our way, but it is only “through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
You cannot solve any problem, conquer any challenge, on your own. It is only through Christ, who loved us. It was only through Christ’s name, Christ’s nature and authority, that the disciples were able to cast out evil spirits.
It is only through Christ’s nature and authority that you can truly be a conqueror over any challenge, big or small.
Every time we have a victory over evil, even a small one, we get a taste of the ultimate victory over all evil, where, according to the book of Revelation,
[God] will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4 NIV
In this new heaven and new earth, there is nothing left to conquer.
Our spiritual identity: Much more than conquerors through Christ
You are the beloved child of the Most High God and nothing less, and there’s nothing greater you could be.
Paul says this is what is true about you right now. It’s not only way off in the future. It’s not just in the past and no longer possible now. It is true now and forever.
You are more than a conqueror. You are the beloved child of God and co-heir with Christ. This is your spiritual identity. Give yourself permission to be what God has created you to be. It’s actually who you already are. You have inherited all the love and blessings God can give. You have inherited His kingdom, with and through Christ. Accept your spiritual inheritance, right now, as an heir of God, and live your life from that perspective.
James Early, the Jesus Mindset Coach, is a Bible teacher, speaker, and podcaster. He conducts Bible workshops online and in person. His focus is on getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus by embracing the mindset of Christ in daily life. Contact him here.
Romans 8:35, 37-39 KJV
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Matthew 4:17 KJV
17 … the kingdom of God is at hand
Romans 8:14-17 NIV
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Luke 10:17 NIV
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
Luke 10:19, 20 NIV
19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
Revelation 21:4 NIV
4 [God] will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.