Summary: Are we conquerors or endurers?
Jars of Clay
Glasses enable me to see things differently. I either see in focus … or out of focus. I either have a headache or I don’t.
Depending on which glasses I wear, determines what I see
We have doctrinal glasses too. Depending on which doctrines are our pet ones, will determine what we get out of the Bible.
This is a problem, ‘cos reading the Bible this way often means that the verses don’t tie up.
The Bible is meant to ‘tie up’ … there are not meant to be any contradictions.
Let me show you a verse to illustrate.
1. Ro 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
a. This is one of those verses that give me a headache.
ii. ‘cos often I am not a conqueror
iii. If I am wearing my doctrinal glasses that tell me that I am always meant to be a winner, then I get an interpretation to the phrase “more than conquerors’ that doesn’t line up with life or the rest of the Bible.
b. So, what does ‘more than a conqueror’ mean?
i. It could mean that I have conquered something more
ii. I am not just the fastest 100m sprinter in my school, but I am the fastest in my province! I could be the fastest in my country.
iii. With this logic an Ryk Neethling would be more than a great swimmer. He is a world champ.
iv. If this is the meaning of the verse then the goal of the Christian is to conquer.
1. that’s where the headache comes in, ‘cos this week we buried two prayer warriors who didn’t conquer
2. so what does it mean to be ‘more than a conqueror’?
v. Perhaps it means this:
1. My dog Hero is more than a dog
a. He’s a husky – that means he’s an escape artist.
2. I am more than a Christian
a. I’m a preacher
3. I am more than a preacher
a. I’m a father and a husband
4. What is the point of me becoming the greatest preacher and losing my family in the process? I am more than a preacher!
If I don’t preach, I am still Andy
If I don’t conquer … I am still God’s child, ‘cos I am more than a conqueror.
vi. Read the verse in context and see if the passage speaks about victorious Christian living or enduring Christian living.
Ro 8:28-38 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
vii. these things will happen to us, but they won’t be able to separate us from God’s love.
viii. The goalposts have now shifted. My goal is not to win, but to make God look good whether I win or lose.
2. Let’s check this out in another passage of scripture (2 Cor 4:6-10)
a. 2 Co 4:6-10 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.