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“It intrigues me that as I consider the early church, and even as we observe the suffering church today, Satan has never done a good job of destroying the church through persecution. In fact, the church usually becomes stronger and grows under persecution. The devil’s most effective weapon is joining the church to bring in compromise, prompting the church to make ungodly concessions in order to gain the world’s favor. But can persecution separate you from God’s love?

And what about famine or nakedness or peril or sword? What about horrendous natural disasters, homelessness, mortal danger or war? Surely those things have the power to send God’s love scurrying away from you! For even Paul says, ‘As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter”‘ (Romans 8:36). What about that?

As you might expect, Paul has an answer for you: ‘Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’ (v. 37). That’s quite a phrase, ‘more than conquerors.’ What does it mean to be more than a conqueror? We all know what it is to be a conqueror. You go in, you fight the battle, and you win. You are a conqueror. So what is it to be more than a conqueror?

That’s to go into the battle victorious. It is to have the victory even in the midst of battle. While bullets still zip around your head — while the outcome still seems very uncertain — nevertheless, you already have the glorious victory and the glad rejoicing that comes with it. That’s what it means to be ‘more than a conqueror.’ So as you go into the battle against forces of darkness, against the powers of evil, you go in as a victor. You go in the victory of Jesus Christ. You have already conquered in the middle of the fight. You have victory already in the midst of the conflict. So you can rejoice even in the heat of battle, for you already know the outcome. If God is for you, who can be against you? You know who wins. And thus you are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you.

However, Paul isn’t done yet. Not even close! For he goes on, ‘For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers…shall be able to separate us from the love of God’ (Romans 8:38-39). Principalities and powers seem to be rankings of angelic beings. In Ephesians 1:20-21, Paul tells how Christ is even now seated in heavenly places, far above all ‘principalities and powers.’ And in Colossians 2:15, Paul tells us how Jesus, through the cross, triumphed over the ‘principalities and powers’ that opposed us. He even made an open display of His victory. These principalities and powers have no ability to separate you from the love of God in Christ. ‘But what about unforeseen things?’ someone asks. ‘What about something that comes totally out of the blue?’ Once again, Paul has an answer for you.

Nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

God’s love is simply inseparable from you. He will not let you go. He’ll hold on to you tight with every ounce of strength in His omnipotent hands. Nothing can separate you from His love. Through your faith in Christ, you’re His child. He has chosen you. He’s called you. He’s justified you. He’s glorified you, even though you’ll still be waiting a little while to see the final result. But it’s already done in His mind, and thus, it is an accomplished fact. He has firm control over your life and over all the circumstances of your life. He makes all things work together for good because you love Him and you’ve been called according to His purposes (see Romans 8:28).

Remember what God said to Jeremiah: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations’ (Jeremiah 1:5). Even before Jeremiah’s conception, God had his life all planned out. He knew him completely before he was even a fertilized egg. And that’s true not only of Jeremiah; it’s true of you, too! Before you were ever conceived, God knew you. While your body took shape in your mother’s womb, God had His plans for your life. Do you have that kind of confidence in God’s love? It’s wonderful to know that God is in control, but it’s just as important that you yield to God in order that He might fulfill His purposes in and through your life.

If that describes you, then you are a happy, peaceful man or woman.”

~ Pastor Chuck Smith

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