Most Christians know the verse that assures us we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37), but we forget that we first had to be conquered in order to be conquerors! Before God could make us conquerors, He had to conquer the dominion of darkness that resided in our hearts—the dominion of sin, death, and the devil. He had to remove these from the throne of our lives in order to take His rightful place . . . and He had to conquer us to do it.
What a beautiful picture the Gospel paints of both the conquered and the Conqueror in the life of the Christian! We see the very first picture of God conquering the sinful heart in the Garden of Eden after the fall. When Adam and Eve sinned, they knew it. How do we know that they knew? They ran and hid from the presence of the One they were created to love and live for because they felt naked and ashamed. God tells of His commitment to conquer the dominion of darkness that resided in their hearts:
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:6-15, emphasis added)
When God said to the devil “I will put enmity between you and the woman,” He was making it clear to Adam and Eve that He was going to conquer the newfound affections of their sinful hearts. In order for Adam, Eve, and their offspring to return to their “First Love” the sinful affections of their hearts needed to be conquered. God graciously conquered the hearts of the first two sinners in order to make them and their offspring more than conquerors. This is truly a dust-to-glory story!
But after we have been given our dose of Gospel-conquering, which reorients and recalibrates the affections of our hearts, we are made to be “more than conquerors” for our new King. And what is the most important thing we have been called to conquer? It is our unbelief. We simply find it hard to believe that God is not angry with us anymore! We see God’s unconditional love and continual forgiveness as unbelievable. We know Jesus saved us, but our unbelief causes us to live like it’s all up to us to stay saved. We are adopted children of the King living like orphans on the street.
Church historian Richard Lovelace wrote:
Many Christians, below the surface of their lives, are guilt-ridden and insecure . . . and draw the assurance of their acceptance with God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience.
Why? In a word, they have not allowed the power of the Gospel to conquer their unbelief. And that is why the Gospel is for sinners—both those who are saved and those who are lost and needing to be saved.
To be “more than conquerors” we need to marinate in the truths of the Gospel daily so that the cross begins to cast a longer and stronger shadow over our unbelief.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!