By Dan King
One can picture in his mind a victorious Roman general returning to his beloved capitol to present the symbols of his battlefield glories before his Emperor and his people. He rides atop a white stallion, followed by his armies, cheered by the crowds, adored by all who behold his approach. He is a Conqueror.
This image provides the background for a key text in the book of Revelation. Thus John portrays the Christ in the Apocalypse (19:11-14):
“And I saw the heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon called Faithful and True; and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. And his eyes are a flame of fire, and upon his head are many diadems; and he hath a name written which no one knoweth but he himself. And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and pure.”
At that moment in time it must have been most difficult for those suffering Christians of Asia Minor tohave imagined their Christ marching in such grand royal splendor. All about them suggested otherwise. The church was considered an illegal entity. Christians were oppressed and persecuted. Their possessions were being confiscated, their careers ruined, their businesses wrecked. Some of them were even tried on unfair charges and put to death. Things looked pretty dismal.
Yet John’s book of prophecy suggested that this was only what things appeared to be on the surface. In reality things were quite different. For one to get this deeper perspective, the “heavens must be opened,” as they were for the Apostle John when he received his Revelation from God. Through the eyes of divine disclosure, the church was viewed as a mighty army “upon white horses” being led on to ultimate victory by their Savior and King.
Similarly, Paul puts even the severest of life’s trials (“. . . we are killed all the day long, we are ac-counted as sheep for the slaughter”) in their proper perspective, that is, through heaven’s eyes, and describes faithful Christians as “Conquerors”:
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:37-39).
More Than Conquerors. Not only are we conquerors, says Paul, we are “more than conquerors.” Here the apostle uses the Greek term hupernikomen, translated by the Latin authors Tertullian and Cyprian as supervincimus. It means we are “supremely victorious” through him that loved us. This is a magnificent piece of spiritual eloquence! There is no victory like our victory. No one wins like we win. No earthly triumph can compare to our heavenly one.
2.No Power In Heaven Or Earth, Time Or Eternity, Can Separate Us From The Love Of God. What, or rather, who gives us this decisive victory? Paul answers, “Him that loved us.” And there is no thing, anytime or anywhere, that can separate us from him who grants to us the victory.
3. The Love Of God Is In Christ Jesus Our Lord. So declares the apostle. But what does he mean when he says the love of God is “in Christ Jesus our Lord”? From the remainder of Scripture (and that is how we ought always to interpret Scripture, i.e. in the light of the fullness of its teachings), we discover at least three senses in which this is meant.
First, the love of God is manifest toward us in that we are a part of the church, the spiritual body of Christ. Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it (Eph. 5:25). This is so because the church is that body of believers who have accepted him as Messiah and Lord both in word and deed: “… having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:5-6).
Second, the love of God is shown in his providential care and spiritual guidance of those who are his children. No passage in the New Testament gives more consolation to a suffering Christian than the words of Romans 8:28-32: “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called. and whom lie called, them he also justified: and whom he just if led, the,,, he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? if God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, ho iv shall lie not also with him freely give us all things?’
Third, God’s great love is extended to those who remain faithful in Christ’s service, Jesus pointed this out in his private moments with the disciples: 1-fe that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loved me: and he that love/h me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him Judas (not Iscariot.) saith unto him, Lord, what is come to pass that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, if a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will Come unto him, and make our abode with bin,” (in. 14:21-23). God loves those who love him back. He also withdraws his love from those who pull away from him.
But all of this — and I cannot emphasize this strongly enough — is regardless of circumstances- Outward appearances do not reveal the true spiritual situation. Early Christians were embraced in the bosom of God’s love as they saw life as they knew it destroyed, as they gave up all their earthly possessions, and even as they were dying at the hands of Jewish or Roman persecutors. Even while they suffered they were ”more than Conquerors”’
If we can only keep this in our hearts, we also can weather even the most difficult of life’s challenges and maintain our faith to the very end.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 5, p. 1
March 4, 1993