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Friday, November 21, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 72)

Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

Romans by the Book                                                                        Lesson 72

Romans chapter 8 is wonderful and meaningful in numerous ways, but Romans 8:31-39 could be the most comforting and encouraging passage in Scripture for the true Believer.

These few verses from our apostle Paul declare definitely that in Christ Jesus we are eternally secure.  Hence, no one can successfully condemn us because every Believer has been justified, which literally means – “just as if you never sinned.”

Furthermore, Jesus is at God’s right hand interceding for the saints continuously (Psalms 110:1).  Jesus understands how difficult it is to live in this world where God and His Word are not respected (rejected/hated).  He understands what we are suffering through because He endured the same treatment while He was living here (Hebrews 12:1-8).  He demonstrates compassion for us on a daily basis and we are to “follow suit” or do likewise. The definition of compassion is:  “a feeling of deep sympathy or sorrow for another who is stricken with misfortune, accompanied by the strong desire to alleviate the suffering” –acting on this strong desire.

It could be said the entire Bible is a book about COMPASSION.

Please open your Bible to Romans 8, at verse 37.  As we did previously, we’ll break these verses down to better understand Paul’s message.  I want you to know I haven’t spent years studying the Greek language but I do know my way around a Greek dictionary and you can learn to do this as well. 

Romans 8

37: But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Over the years I’ve instructed my classes when they encounter the word “but” in their Bible to consider the information that follows thusly:  But = Behold the Underlying Truth.

Paul’s expression, “in all these things” is an umbrella term that includes all those barriers (obstacles) he listed for the reader of Scripture from tribulation to sword. Paul says these things are not to bother a Believer.  Why?  The Believer is the victor over every enemy that would attempt to separate them from the love of Christ Jesus and this is their goal.

In fact, Paul goes on to affirm not only are we victors…we overwhelmingly conquer…
This is a translation of one Greek word, hupernikao(pronounced:  hoop-er-nik-ah’-o) and in our English language would be translated:  “hyper conquerors.”   The Greek word, “Nikao” means to subdue or overcome.  “Hyper” means:  above, beyond, or super.  You can see how it greatly intensifies the meaning of a verb.  We are conquerors in any terrible situation, in all these things, as Paul put it because God loves us.  It’s this love, this kind of Huper power; Paul believes to be in the cohesiveness of God’s love and nothing can “break you apart” from it!

A good illustration of this would be the black walnut.  I encountered these growing up in Indiana.  I used to see wooden baskets filled with these things sitting on people’s back porches.  The fruit ripens in October, usually, and is delicious but there is one problem.  The outer husk is quite firmly attached to the edible nut inside, making it incredibly difficult to crack open.  My siblings and I tried bashing them with large rocks but the rocks just bounced off the walnut hardly leaving a mark.  Some people have run over them with their cars or attacked them with hammers trying to get to the nut inside without success.  To be sure a determined individual can crack a black walnut in time and given the fact they have plenty of band-aids…but nothing can break you apart from God’s love!

Let’s look at the back section of the verse.

…we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Through is obviously a preposition.  In the Greek it is “dia.”  It means “by the means of” or “because of this reason.”  Paul means to say it’s all about Jesus Christ.  It’s all because of Jesus Christ too!  No one comes to the Father but through Jesus (John 14:6).  The verbal word “loved” Paul speaks of is a love that was completed in the past – on Calvary for sinners (Romans 5:8).  However, Jesus loves us in this same manner every minute of every day.  It wasn’t a “once” and done type thing.  God’s love never runs out on you (Hebrews 13:8).  Let’s proceed to the next verse.

Romans 8

38: For I am convinced (persuaded) that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

The verb “convinced” in the Greek is Peitho and means “to induce one by words to believe.”  The word convinced is a heart word.  For there’s a difference in knowing truth and being heart convinced of it.  It has been said that the majority of humanity will miss spending eternity with the God who loves them by about 12-inches.  That’s the distance between their heart and their brain. 

Paul was convinced in the past…and he stayed convinced!  This is what “standing in your faith” means (1 Corinthians 15:1).  It literally means I will not be moved from this position.  Paul didn’t persuade himself either.  He was convinced by Another.  Note the capital “A” in the word Another (Acts 9; Galatians 1:11-17; Acts 26:25-26).  And here he is persuaded in a Believer’s security in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:12).

The word “death” in the Greek is Thanatos.  It usually refers to a physical death.

The word “life” in the Greek is Zoe.  It has become a proper name in the English language.  We get our word “zoo” from it.  This is where “living” animals are to be found.  Therefore, the word “zao” means every living soul. 

The words “angels” and “principalities” used here by Paul link us to the spirit world.

The “heavenlies” are peopled with spirit bodies.  These make up two classes:  good and evil.  They are classified as Seraphim, Cherubim, angels (good and bad), principalities, powers, age, rulers of darkness, wicked spirits, (Ephesians 6:12), thrones, dominions, (Colossians 1:16), fallen angels, (2 Peter 2:4), spirits in prison, (1 Peter 3:18-20), demons, and seducing spirits, (1 Timothy 4:1),

Angels in the Greek is Aggelos (pronounced:  ang’-el-os) meaning “an angel,” or “a messenger from God.”  

The angels are “innumerable in number” (Hebrews 12:22).  They are mighty in power but not almighty (2 Thessalonians 1:7).  They excel in strength.  One angel destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night for instance (2 Kings 19:35).  It was an angel who rolled the stone away from Jesus’ tomb.  It will be one angel who binds Satan and casts him into the “bottomless pit” (Revelation 20:1-3).  Angels are ministering spirits to them who are “heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:13-14) and executioners of God’s wrath on the wicked (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8). 

Principalities in the Greek is Arche (pronounced:  ar-khay’) meaning “origin,” or “of angels and demons.”  The phrase principalities and powers occur six times in the Bible, always in the KJV, NKJV, and the MKJV.  Other Bible versions translate it “rulers and authorities,” “forces, and authorities,” and “rulers and powers.”  The word “powers” in the Greek is Dunamis and means energy.  No matter where the phrase appears or in what fashion the context makes it clear that it refers to the vast array of evil and malicious spirits who make war against God’s children.  This word is used in Acts 8:10 concerning Simon the magician.  All kinds of bewitchment, meditation, mystic spells, necromancy (Ouija boards), and sorcery, would be included in this satanic activity.

Among the principalities and powers of the spirit world there are three great leaders:

Michael – mentioned 3 times in Daniel (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1) where he is referred to as a “prince” who stands for Daniel’s people (the Jews).  In Jude 9, he is called the Archangel.  In Revelation 12:7 Michael is seen in command of the “Angelic army of Heaven.”  His work seems to be to deliver God’s people, particularly the Jews, from the power of Satan, and finally to eradicate him and his angels from the heavenlies, casting them down to earth (Revelation 12:7-9). 

Gabriel is mentioned by name four times in Scripture in Daniel twice, and in Luke twice.  (Daniel 8:16, 9:21-27; Luke 1:19, 26, 27).  He seems to be associated with the redemptive work of God.  He appeared to Daniel to inform him as to the time of  Christ’s first coming and when the time had come he announced to Zacharias the birth of Christ’s forerunner – John the Baptist.  Later Gabriel appeared to Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus.  His position in heaven is lofty, for he said of himself to Zacharias, “I am Gabriel that stands in the presence of God.”

Last but not least is Satan.  He is the source of all the anarchy and rebellion in the universe.  Our apostle Paul warned us about the way he thinks and instructed us on how to defend ourselves against his schemes (Ephesians 6:1-18).  Job declared that the heavens are not clean in God’s sight (Job 15:15).  But God will “sweep” them clean.

Things present translates the Greek noun Enistemi which combines “en” and “histemi” = to stand in.  Paul’s speaking of:  things, events, circumstances that are in place right now, at hand, or imminent.  No matter the difficulty you are presently standing in the midst of, this present thing in no way can separate you from Christ’s love.  Although problems get in our face sometimes, and they can be a distraction, they are not so big and insurmountable that they can pry Believers lose from God’s loving arms. 

Things to come, in the Greek is Mellonta and is derived from the verb “melo” which means:  “to care” or “to have concern for” – this refers to issues so overbearing and important that you can think of nothing else.  These are concerns that cause you to fret or worry constantly about the end result.  You’re mind is never at rest, in other words.  The word “worry” should not be in a Believer’s vocabulary, per Scripture.  One pastor put it this way, “Worry is like a person sitting in a rocking chair, rocking all day.  It gave them something to do but it accomplished nothing.”   

Everyone “faces” hardships even Believers.  Perhaps there’s a loved one in a hospital bed with a negative doctor’s report.  Maybe you just received a “pink slip” from work, or while cleaning your son’s bedroom you came across an assortment of prescription drugs and none of them are his.   Maybe it’s the end of the month, you hold three unpaid bills in your hand and there’s only enough money to pay one of these. 

Hardships and trials can keep you awake nights if you “fret” about the “end result.”  But Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28).  And our apostle Paul gives us this command from the risen Lord, “Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  (Philippians 4:6). 

Rest your mind; be at peace.  Give your concerns to God and let go and don’t play tug-a-war with Him.  In other words, you give your cares to God today but tomorrow you start worrying about them again.  Stop that.  Trust God.

Let’s move on to the last verse in Romans 8.

39: nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is (where) in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The word height in the Greek is Hupsoma (pronounced:  hoop’-so-mah) and means anything elevated or lofty (lifted up).  But in the first century Greek usage the words height and depth were terms used by astronomers.  They refer to stars or heavenly bodies.  In Paul’s day, the pagans (gentiles) believed that the “stars” drastically influenced (controlled) one’s life. 

Look around you – we’re not so distant from that mentality today.
Have you ever used this pick-up line in a social setting, “What sign are you?”
Do you check the morning horoscope before heading out the door in the morning? 

Millions of people still look to the stars and planets for daily guidance.
They check their horoscope to see if they should be avoiding strangers, should they get married, should I sign that contract, what are my lotto numbers, is it a bad day to start that new job, etc.  Here’s some truth:  God gave us the stars and planets to measure time and the seasons (Genesis 1:14). 

But in Paul’s day the members of this Roman congregation haven’t “let go” of all their bad habits and Paul understands this.  He knows they once believed that if a star (planet today) was at its highest point in the heavens it meant one thing…and if at its lowest point in the skies it meant something else.  Here Paul states it does NOT matter where the stars are, if you are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ – you are in God’s family forever!  The moon, the sun, and all the “stars” combined can’t undo that!

The words created thing (creature in the KJV) in the Greek is Ktisis (pronounced:  ktis’-is) and means establishing, building, and the act of creating.  But here Paul says, “any other created thing…”  The adjective “other” translates the Greek word Heteros and means:  another of a different kind.  In Paul’s day the pagans believed in fantastic fictional creatures such as the Harpy, the Griffin, Medusa, the Phoenix, the Satyr, the Siren, the Bull, the Basilisk, etc.  Paul wants the reader of Scripture to know there isn’t any other created thing that can harm the Believer.

will be able is a form of Dunamis (as a verb) meaning energy.  They just CANNOT do anything to separate a child of God from the love of His heavenly Father.

Separate is (again) in the Greek Chorizo and means to make room, to create space between two objects.  Nothing can even cause a crack to appear between you and God’s love for you.  Think back to the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden and their act of disobedience for example.

the love of God as used by Paul here means God’s love for us – a love that never fails!
God has poured out His love within our hearts through the Holy Spirit and sealed us with the promise (Romans 5:5).

which is in Christ Jesus our Lord – it’s all because of Jesus.  Paul has made this point quite clear, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved (Christ Jesus).

To sum up, in Romans 8:31 we have the phrase God for us, who against us?
In the Greek the word for is Huper (Hyper in English) and means “in behalf of” or “for the sake of.”  When Jesus gave up His life on Calvary He literally died for you and for me.  He took our place on that Roman cross.  So now, if anyone (including Satan) has anything against you or me they must take the issue up with Jesus.  Who is at this very moment still FOR us! 

Permit me to build on this.  In verse 33, the question is right out of the courtroom.
It has legal implications.  The word bring in the Greek is Egkaleo (pronounced:  eng-kal-eh’-o) and means – to accuse, or to bring charges against.  Put this all together and you have someone taking you to court with the intent on doing you harm.  But our verse says that since the Judge (God Himself) has already justified you, who can bring any accusation against you?   God says, “You’re not guilty!”

In verse 34, the verb condemns is from two Greek words fused together Katakrino meaning to judge:  Krino = down and kata – on someone.  Who can “come down on you” when your Lord and Savior, who is presently at God’s right hand acting as your Advocate, is interceding for you continuously (1 John 2:1)? 

No one or nothing can successfully condemn or separate those who are in Christ Jesus? 

(To be continued)

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