Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril…
I. THE CHRISTIAN IS "CONQUEROR." The battle consists of a moral conflict, with inward and outward enemies all leagued in terrible force against the soul. To this is added — what, indeed, was most peculiar to the early Church — a war of external suffering, of penury, persecution, and martyrdom. Now the way Christ provides for the holy warrior's passage through this fiery contest is not by shunning, but by facing the foe. The Captain of their salvation might have withdrawn His people from the field and conducted them to heaven without the hazard of a conflict. But not so. He will lead them to glory, but it shall be by the path of glory. They shall carve their way to the crown by the achievements of the sword. But in what sense are we conquerors? Just in that sense in which the Holy Ghost obtains the victory. It is not the believer himself who conquers; it is the Divine Spirit within. No movement is seen, no tactics are observed, no war-cry is heard, and yet there is passing within the soul a more important battle, and there is secured a more brilliant victory, than ever the pen of the historian recorded. There is the conquest of —
1. Faith (Hebrews 11:1; John 5:4). Faith in the truth of God's word, in the veracity of God's character, in the might, and skill, and wisdom of our Commander; faith, eyeing the prize, gives the victory to the Christian combatant, and secures the glory to the Captain of his salvation.
2. Patience (Hebrews 6:12, 15). Is it no real victory when beneath the pressure of great affliction the Christian is enabled to say, "Though He slay me yet will I trust in Him"?
3. Joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6; James 1:2; John 16:20). And who but Jesus can turn our sorrow into joy? — not only assuaging our griefs and tempering the flame, but actually making our sorrows the occasion of thanksgiving. Confide your grief to Jesus, and He will cause it sweetly to sing (Psalm 30:11, 12; 2 Corinthians 7:4).
II. HE IS MORE THAN A CONQUEROR. The same word as "a far more and exceeding and eternal weight of glory." So we are "far more exceeding conquerors." It is more than a mere victory which the believer gains. A battle may be won at a great loss to the conqueror. A great leader may fall at the head of his troops. The flower of an army may be destroyed, and the best blood of a nation's pride may be shed. But the Christian conquers with no such loss. Nothing whatever essential to his well-being is perilled. His armour, riveted upon his soul by the Holy Spirit, he cannot lose. His life, hid with Christ in God, cannot be endangered. There is not a grace in his soul but shall come out purer and brighter for the conflict. Losing nothing, he gains everything! All his resources are augmented by the result. His armour is brighter, his sword is keener, his courage is more dauntless, for the conflict. Faith is strengthened — love is expanded — experience is deepened — knowledge is increased.
III. "THROUGH HIM THAT LOVED US." Here is the great secret of our victory, the source of our triumph. "Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Through the conquest which He Himself obtained, through the grace which He imparts, through the strength which Be inspires, through the intercession which He presents, in all our "tribulation, distress, persecution," etc., we are "more than conquerors." Fear not, then, the darkest cloud, nor the proudest waves, nor the deepest wants — in these very things you shall, through Christ, prove triumphant. Nor shrink from the battle with the "last enemy." He stands at your side a crownless king, and waving a broken sceptre.
(O. Winslow, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?