The truth that Christians will suffer for the sake of Christ and for the sake of righteousness is found in Romans 8 in its undiluted and potent form. This truth is not watered down or hidden from our sight but is put on brilliant display and stunning clarity in this chapter. It is here that we see in high definition that the devil and the world are against us seeking to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have recently considered together the truth that there are people and problems that are against us wishing to cause us to compromise or apostatize. There are those who would bring charges of ungodliness against us and condemn us to hell if it were in their power (Romans 8:33-34). These same people will cause us problems with all the means at their disposal that they have in this world (Romans 8:35).
As Christians we are foolish to believe that because we have been saved by God and are proclaiming His Gospel of forgiveness through Jesus Christ that we are going to be loved by the world rather than hated by the world. The truth that the world will hate us came from the lips of our Lord and is printed in many places in many ways in the Bible. We have been told from the pages of Scripture what to expect so that we will not stumble and fall away when what is supposed to be happening to Christians actually happens.
With all the suffering that Christians must endure for the sake of Christ it would be easy to lose heart and give up if it weren’t for the wonderful truth found in this chapter that God is causing all this to work for us and not against us because He is for us and not against us. This makes all the difference in why we endure suffering and do not throw away our confidence in God. “If God is for us, who is against us” (Romans 8:31)?
In Romans 8:36-39 we find the wonderful truth that nothing can defeat us because God is for us – we are super-conquerors through faith in Christ.
The certainty of our suffering – “Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered’” (Romans 8:36). No Christian is exempt from suffering for the sake of Christ. There is none who will ever reach some super-saint status that exempts him from suffering for Christ. The ones that don’t suffer for Christ but are loved for their version of Christianity aren’t true Christians but are false according to the words of our Lord Himself – “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way” (Luke 6:26).
It is written that we shall suffer for the sake of Christ. Paul quoted Psalm 44:22 to show that this doctrine of suffering that he was teaching was and is Biblical. Faith in God doesn’t exempt us from suffering but guarantees it. What does that say about all the health, wealth, and prosperity preaching going on today?
Our suffering for the sake of Christ is certain – it is as sure and certain as Scripture because it is declared in Scripture. True Christianity always has and always will be hated by the devil and his counterfeits.
The certainty of our success – “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). The suffering that we must endure for the sake of Christ will not and cannot destroy us because God will not let it. He is for us and not against us and He causes us to overwhelmingly conquer all our suffering through our immovable trust in Him who loved us.
Only the true believer perseveres in the face of trials and tribulations, not because he is strong in himself but because he stands in the strength of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit and in the strength of the might of His loving Lord (see Ephesians 6:10). Those who fail to persevere demonstrate their lack of genuine trust in the love, power, and wisdom of God.
The true believer overcomes and super-conquers all the suffering and sorrows thrown his way through Him who loved us. The phrase, “overwhelmingly conquer” means to super-conquer or to conquer with success to spare. We don’t just barely make it through our trials and tribulations, we come out with stronger faith, stronger love, and a stronger stand for Him who loved us and brought us through. We sing the victory song of the saints and declare with the Psalmist in Psalm 3 – “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, ‘There is no help for him in God.’ But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of His holy hill. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about. Arise O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou has smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people.”
Our success is certain and we are super-conquerors through Jesus our Lord who is our shield and defender.
The certainty of our security – “For I am convinced that neither death, or life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). The security of the believer and his full and final salvation is certain because there is nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus our Lord. Nothing can cause us to compromise and nothing can cause us to apostatize because God is for us and not against us.
Our suffering is certain; our success is certain; and our security is certain! What a mighty God we serve!