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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Conqueror Plus One

by Aaron Ireland

Rom 8:31-39

" all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us..."

More than a conqueror

No matter how great the conquest, the greatest title given to the victor is "conqueror". To conqueror implies that the war is over, and the enemy is defeated. In other words, successive "battles" are won until there emerges a final victor who is known as the "conqueror".

When the conqueror emerges from the war there is no more fighting to be done. There is nothing more to be added to the conquest. To attain greater conquest, would mean starting the war again, which would mean that we cease being the conqueror until the war is won again, at which point we go back to being the conqueror.

In other words, the only way for us to taste something "more" would be to taste defeat. Then we would cease to be the conqueror (ie, become "less" than a conqueror). In warfare, there will always be a winner and a loser ("conqueror" and "conquered"), at the end. The only exception would be in the event that diplomatic resolution leaves both sides equally victorious, in which case there is neither "conqueror" nor "conquered".

Victory through Christ's defeat

So what could it mean to add to conquest? Could it possibly be "conquest through defeat"? Although this seems contradictory, consider the cross, where Christ is "conquered" by the ruling religious and secular leaders of his day, and based on his 'defeatedness', he obtains Victory over sin and death.

In the same way that Caiphas, Herod, and Pilate (and all that they represented) were enemies of Christ, so too are we. We would have been crying out for his crucifixion also, as Jesus had displayed a blatant disregard of human morality (Matt 26:63-65; Mark 14:61-64; Luke 22:67-71; John 18:19-23; religion), democratic choice (John 19:10-11; politics) and curious enquiry (Luke 23:89; science). These attitudes are among the chief causes of indignation when they are directed at us, as they imply that we are corrupt and incompetent, while denying analysis of the evidence, in order to the "de-vilify" our reputation.

Not only that, but Christ's words, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" rub salt in the wounds of his "taunts", as they not only confirm our wrong doing and ignorance but imply that he is both smarter and holier than us. "How dare he claim this? Doesn't he know that 'all men are created equal'?" we cry from every pore of our consciousness. "Even though I'm not perfect, no one is greater than I!!!" This is the war cry of selfishness and it is implied when we object to having of faults revealed. Selfishness is our crime. And this selfishness is what we are charged of and because of this "selfish nature" we share in the guilty of Christ's murder, as accessories. It's charge that shares equal responsibility with the one whose hand took the life of the victim, for without us; there would be no reason for Christ to have died.

Our Conqueror becomes our Advocate

Consider now the contradiction between Christ being both our "condemner" and "intercessor" (v34) in our murder trial where he is also the "victim". Literally, Christ is both "prosecutor" and "defence" in this trial. How can he be both "for" and "against" us at the same time? Wouldn't this create a conflict of interest? Verses 35-37 give us a clue by presenting a woeful situation of us being counted as "lambs for the slaughter, killed all the day long for (His) sake", and then while looking at this lamentable situation, declaring us to be "more than conquerors" with the qualification of this being that we are "in all these things", and all this in response to the question of "Who can separate us from the love Christ?" Even this "answer" raises enough questions to drive one to the brink of insanity. This perplexity shows that are yet to realise the "mind of Christ" that has been "freely given" to us (1 Cor 2:16).

We have to realise that true victory is attained through our own defeat. Christ "condemns" our "selfish nature". Christ also "intercedes" in order to liberate us from that same "selfish nature". Essentially we are being liberated from our own selves. When we begin to grasp this, we can see how "neither death, nor life"...etc can "separate us from the love of God", because all these are God's salvific agents in delivering us from ourselves. In this we can see that it is we who are conquered in Christ's victory, which he has bestowed upon us as a gift. In other words the basis of our victory is in that we have been in our "defeatedness".


To summarise, when my enemy is myself, my defeat becomes my victory, and I am "more than a conqueror" but when self wins, my victory becomes my defeat and I become "more than vanquished".

Mat 16:24-25 "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

©2006 Aaron Ireland - Non-commercial (free) distribution is both permitted and encouraged provided this notice appears.

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