January 3, 2024 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Romans 8:37-38 (NET)
No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You will inevitably have success at some point in an aspect of your life. Those successes should be held in the right perspective in light of Christ’s accomplishment once for all. Also, inevitably a real failure of some sort will occur. No matter how deeply real the failure is, or the lingering effects, they cannot overshadow that there is a courtroom where all your failures are paid for.
What are you certain of? Many are convinced that 80% of things that never happen will happen; this is demonstrated by the worry associated with it. But what about the things that will happen? How convinced are you of what is to come? If you knew that no matter what might happen everything is going to be all right, what would your outlook on life be? What would your plans for the year look like?
The sum of eight chapters in the letter to the Romans is a detailed explanation—repeated in different ways—of what Christ means for born Jews and Gentiles who trust in Jesus as Lord. With the feel of a courtroom Paul explains the indictment that all, Jew or Gentile, regardless of their background, don’t live according to God’s righteousness (1:32). The law makes us all aware that we are sinful (3:20). And in God’s impartial judicial administration, judicial peace for all, Jew or Gentile, is not obtained through perfect law-keeping, but by trusting that Jesus Christ is more than adequate for all who believe (3:22-23; 5:1-5). There is no condemnation for those who trust in Jesus.
What does no condemnation mean for your life’s outlook? The end of Romans 8 gives us two answers to this question. The first is that we have complete victory in Christ Jesus in the metaphorical spiritual courtroom where sin tells us “keep the law perfectly” and then simultaneously mocks us when we don’t—or the literal world that keeps record of perceived, implied, or actual wrong. Paul reminded all that those who trust that Jesus is more than adequate; we know that we are more than conquerors in him. He took our court case and assumed the guilt so that those who trust him walk out free, living worthy of that calling.
This is a great reminder, but what does this mean for life’s outlook? It adds scale to successes and failures for you and others. It gives perspective to your outlook. You will inevitably have success at some point in an aspect of your life. Those successes should be held in the right perspective in light of Christ’s accomplishment once for all. Also, inevitably a real failure of some sort will occur. No matter how deeply real the failure is, or the lingering effects, they cannot overshadow that there is a courtroom where all your failures are paid for. What is true for you in your confession is also true for every other disciple of Christ also. Like Paul, you are empowered to encourage others with the very thing you are experiencing also.
Come what may, the unexpected turns in the story, the carefully thought-out decisions or horribly carried out plans for you and for all who have called upon the name of the Lord, there is at least one victory that no one can remove.
What are ways to respond to God’s victory?
How does victory impact how we should engage with the world (with believers, unbelievers, and creation)?
Take some time and read Romans 8 in its entirety. Pause at each section and consider how God demonstrates his love and what that should mean for how you engage with others. Whether suffering now or glory later, good moments now or extraordinary glory to come, ask God how to respond to all things.
God, thank you for giving the better victory to all my successes. And for all-inclusive conquering for every failure for the past and the future. And thank you that this is not just for me, but for everyone who calls on you. Help me to see the same victory for them that I’m convinced of for myself. Amen.
Banner image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Nothing Can Come Between Us and the Love of God (Romans 8:31-39).
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DeLano J. Sheffield is the Business Resource Specialist for Goodwill of MoKan where he connects to people on the fringes, training them to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work; he also is on the frontlines of the advances of the fourth industrial revolution and coaches leaders on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. He began his career as an architectural engineer then went on to attend seminary. In every part of his life he finds ways to infuse theology into vocation, and strengthen practical connections of faith and daily activity. DeLano lives in Kansas City, Missouri.