Romans, Lesson 17: Christ is Our Super-Conqueror

Christ, the ConquerorStill on the topic of suffering in this world, Paul points us to the new world to come.  From the past into the future, God keeps us in His care: He foreknew, predestined, called, justifies, and will glorify us in splendor on the Last Day.


How then do we respond?

Read Romans 8:31

  • What are “these things”?


  • What does Paul imply with the last part of vs. 31?


Read Romans 8:32-34

“spare”: Paul’s wording echoes Genesis 22:16, where the angel praised Abraham for being prepared “not to spare” (LXX: ouk epheiso; Romans 8:32: ouk epheisato) his own beloved son, Isaac.  What God did not, in the end, require of Abraham, He did out of for us love of us: giving up His Son, Jesus.

  • In the context of Paul’s though, when will God give us “all things”?


  • Why?


“God’s elect”: This expression picks up the language of the Septuagint to describe the people of God, whom He chose as His own (see Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 33:12, 47:4).  Here, Paul drops another “grace bomb,” showing the Jewish Christians at Rome that Gentiles are also “elect,” even if not circumcised.

  • What imagery does this passage use to describe why the Christian will receive his salvation on the Last Day?


  • Instead of Jesus condemning, what is He doing for Christians?


Paul uses legal language, which contrasts condemnation and justification.  Because God justifies (makes us righteous), no one can condemn; justification then is the opposite of condemnation.  It is a legal category: no one can bring any “charge” against those whom God has chosen because God is “for us.”  No condemnation can be presented and survive in God’s courtroom of justification.  God pronounces and so makes us righteous, realized in full on the Last Day.  No one can pronounce us guilty.


No Separation from God’s Love in Christ Jesus

In this section, Paul puts together lists of external trials to afflict the Christian: the first, earthly; the second, trails from within the spiritual realm.

Read Romans 8:35

  • On what basis is the Christian’s salvation secure?


  • Of the sufferings listed in vs 35, what trait do they have in common?


  • What does this say about that which is internal within us?


Read Romans 8:36

In this passage, Paul quotes Psalm 44:22 from the Septuagint verbatim.  In the psalm, “we” applied to Israel, who was being put to death and counted as sheep for the slaughter because of their faith in Yahweh.  With Paul, “we” refers to those who are enduring affliction and persecution because of their faith in Christ.  Faith in Yahweh is also faith in the Messiah, Christ.

Why does Paul choose to quote from the Old Testament?  By using such a depiction from the Old Testament, he shows such suffering is foreseen by God, which He will turn and use (as He did in Christ’s death) for our eternal good.

Life-threatening experiences (“we are being killed all the day long”) can result because of faith in Christ (“for your sake”).  Just as Jesus died for us, so can our present sufferings be “on account of him” because we live by faith in the crucified and risen Christ.  The pattern of the dying and rising Lord is part of our Christian identity.

“Regarded” and “sheep to be slaughtered” echoes Prophet Isaiah’s foretelling of Jesus, the suffering Servant.  We find “we regarded him” in Isaiah 53:4 and “as sheep to be slaughtered” in Isaiah 53:7.  Once more, suffering joins the experience of Jesus and His followers.

“Regarded” is also a verb Paul uses much in Romans.  He spoke of several “regardings” relating to people and God (Romans 2:3, 26; 3:28; 4:4-6, 23-24; 6:11).  Contrasting Christians, who are “regarded as sheep to be slaughtered,” Paul began this section by affirming, “For I consider (the same verb for regard) the suffering of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (8:18).

Read Romans 8:37

  • What are “these things”?


  • In relation to external, physical suffering, “through him (Christ),” what are Christians?


Read Romans 8:38-39

  • What afflictions does Paul now describe?


  • What is the result?


“more than conquerors”: Greek, hupernikomen, “super-conquerors.”  This is not simply enduring or surviving or even conquering, but “super conquering” through Christ.  Christ “super conquers” for us; attached to Him, we have what He achieves.


What Then of Israel?

Romans now enters a new phase.  Chapters 1-4 showed that God justifies all who believe, which will stand firm at the judgment of God (chapters 5-8).  So, Gentiles have access to God, not only the Jews.  The blessings of salvation God promised to His people in the Old Covenant are available to all in Christ.

“Then what advantage has the Jew?” (Romans 3:1).  What about God’s promises to Israel in the Old Covenant?  Is the Gospel of Christ Jesus consistent with the Old-Covenant promises to Israel?  Did God abandoned his first chosen people or will He keep His word to Israel?  Paul now looks into this issue.

The rhetorical techniques Paul uses shows us he used much thought to deal with this topic.  Such though also shows us how serious Paul considered the problem of work-righteousness for the Jewish Christian.  We find Paul using:

  • rhetorical questions (9:14, 21; 10.8, 14-15, 18, 19; 11:1, 7, 11),
  • arguments with imaginary opponents (9.14-21),
  • protestations with passion and sincerity (9.1-4, 10.1, 11.1),
  • direct appeals to the hearers (11.13, 25),
  • antithesis and parallelism (11.15-16),
  • an illustrative parable (11.16-21),
  • and extensive citations of authorities, which the Christians Jews recognized. This section is the most Old-Testament-saturated in the entire letter, some 28 citations or partial citations in all.


What of Israel: Intro

Read Romans 9:1-3

  • With much sorrow, what does Paul reveal about the state of those still living in the Old Covenant?


Read Romans 9:4-5

Through Paul’s use of “to them,” he separates what God gave to Israel into three categories.


They are Israelites.
To them belong: To them belong: To them belong
  • The adoption: The “adoption” we have and in which we hope (8:15, 23).  Here, this the adoption Israel enjoys as God’s “firstborn son” (Exod. 4:22), the son whom God called out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1).
  • The Law: The Law God gave at Sinai.  This recalls Paul’s earlier remark that the Jewish people “were entrusted with the oracles of God” (3:2).


  • The patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all of whom will play a prominent role in the next unit (9:6, 13).  Paul will show the continuity between Israel’s faith and the Gospel he preaches.


  • The glory: The “glory” refers to God’s glory, which was manifested to Israel throughout its history, especially at the Red Sea, at Sinai, and in the temple of Jerusalem.


  • The worship: A part of this Law was the pattern God gave to Moses, which enabled Israel to worship God and experience the divine glory (Exodus 25-31), first in the tent of meeting, then in the Jerusalem Temple.


  • The Messiah: the content of Paul’s gospel, is the true Israelite, a human descendant of the patriarchs and the fulfillment of the promises of God.


  • The covenants: The covenants that God made with Abraham and later with Israel at Sinai.  God also made covenants made with Noah, the other patriarchs, and David.


  • The promises: These are “the promises” that God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  These promises predate the other items but by listing them last, they provide a transition to the second list.



  • What is the greatest result that God brought about through His people of Israel?


  • Based on the way Paul structured the categories, the last category is missing the last entry. What does this imply if one does not have the Messiah?


Romans 9.6-29 is an intact unit in Paul’s thought.  So, we stop here, respecting his organizational structure of Romans.


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