What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?….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 powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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. – Romans 8:31, 32, 37-39
The kids in my junior church class don’t always agree with my philosophy that not every child should receive a prize in class every week. Only those who truly earn a reward – say, for winning a Bible drill or for being exceptionally well-behaved – get to paw through our prize box and choose a toy.
This past Sunday, one cute and smart little five-year-old batted her eyelashes at me and said, “But I would really, really like to get a prize this week.”
Fortunately, I’ve dealt with many skillful young manipulators.
She did not get a prize.
But, I did promise her that Shae and I would come up with more ways for some of the younger students to earn prizes, such as Scripture memory. We haven’t offered that in some time, as bus kids often have a tough time studying during the week, and retaining the verse for the following Sunday.
It will be interesting to see if that little girl decides to work for a prize. She is certainly capable!
Romans 8 speaks of a hard-won prize which, in contrast to all other prizes, we do not need to earn: salvation. In fact, we cannot earn it. Through his crucifixion and resurrection, Christ did all the work necessary to provide the prize of salvation. We need not add any of our own good works, which, in any case, Scripture describes as “filthy rags” (see Isaiah 64:6).
If we receive the prize of salvation, we may be described as “more than conquerors” (see Romans 8:32 above). We aren’t just simply first-place winners, but grand-prize winners! In addition to forgiveness of our sins and an eternal afterlife in heaven, we receive the incomparable award of God’s unconditional love, from which nothing may separate us.
What a comfort to know that even my own foolish, unfaithful heart cannot separate me from God’s love!
Have you ever considered why we are called not merely conquerors, but more than conquerors? I welcome your comments!