Peninsula Community Church
Are You a Victim or a Victor?
August 14, 2016
Romans 8:31-39 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The passage before us today is a powerful passage of grace and comfort. As we look at this passage the question I ask of you is this, Are you a victim or are you a victor? How do you live your life? I ask this because how you live your life will determine if you live as a victim or as a victor. The fact is we all feel sorry for ourselves at times. We all get down in the dumps but the difference is that we should not stay down. A problem arises when we get beaten up by the world and the circumstances we face over and over. Too often the result is that we begin to experience a victim mentality.
A victim mentality is realized when one blames others for their problems or they make excuses for the issues they face. Victims focus on the past. You know one is a victim when they are always looking back to what was rather than what is. They are looking back at what people have done to them. Victims focus on the hurts and the wounds they have experienced. The world around them is not fair and they feel they are always getting the raw end of the deal. Victims tend to never be happy or content. They would rather blame others and their circumstances than take responsibility for themselves and their actions. The result is they believe they are helpless and they feel they have no control over anything. Victims are also great manipulators as they use their victim mentality to control others and get what they want. How sad? How defeating that is?
When we look at our society we see a world that is filled with people who exhibit a victim mentality. They look back and blame others for their problems. By blaming others they do not take responsibility for their own actions and too often they justify their bad actions by what has happened to them. We see this act in the race issues of our day. We see this in the lives of so many who have committed the heinous act of mass murder. Too often because they were picked on by others they took their anger out on others. So many believe they are victims and then use that belief as an excuse to sin and do wrong. They justify their sin because they are “victims.”
But that is not the story of true Christianity. That is not the story of a passionate follower of Christ. Why? It is because of passages like this that give us hope and give us the power to move from living under the thumb of victimization to become a victor over the issues of life. It was never God’s intent for us to live as victims but it was His desire for us to live as victors and overcome whatever the world throws at us. The fact is life is not fair but being defeated by the circumstances of life has never been a part of God’s plan. If so, Christ would have never come to earth as a human to suffer the shame He did. He would not have proclaimed that “It is Finished” on the cross. He would have never proclaimed “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Paul would have never stated that “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.”
So what does this passage offer us. First, we find that God is for us. What an amazing thought. The God of all creation; the God that formed the heavens and the earth is for me. He is on my side. He cares for me. Here is the larger message that is presented. Because God is for us I do not have to live a life of rejection which causes me to feel victimized. I can be free and live a liberated life without the entanglements of past sin or actions done to me. I can walk in Christ’s forgiveness and His loving touch on my life. Paul said “If God is for me who can be against me.”
That is why David, the little runt of the family, was able to confront the giant, Goliath. He had confidence in the fact that God was with him. David made this proclamation. “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head” (1 Samuel 17:37, 45-46). Why did He have this confidence and subsequent success. It is because He knew God was with him. So today whatever giant you are facing know that God is with you. He is for you and He is fighting on your behalf.
Secondly, we cannot be charged with any sin that has already been forgiven. In our legal system there is legal defense called double jeopardy. Double jeopardy is a procedural defense that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges in the same case following a legitimate acquittal or conviction. In the spiritual realm, we have been forgiven and the debt of sin has been removed and yet the enemy of our soul loves to accuse us and fight us on the basis of past sin that has already been removed by way of forgiveness. This act of the enemy comes by way of intimidation. You see one with a victim mentality is easily intimidated and offended. They are filled will the guilt of past wrongs and hurts. But that is not the life of the victor.
Thirdly, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. Think about that for a moment. There is not one thing on earth or in heaven that can remove us from His love. This means that we do not have to live in fear. Victims are controlled by fear. Fear causes them to reject faith and reject the hope that is in Christ. One of the greatest fears we have is to believe we are unloved and unwanted. But here Paul assures us that there is nothing that can separate us from His love. You see His gift of love is not contingent on our actions or the actions of others in our life. It is not contingent on our circumstances. His love for us is based in the one giving the love and God loved us before we knew Him or had ever received Him through the Holy Spirit.
Paul asks Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Tribulation equates to the everyday problems of life. This is interpreted as pressure and represents the pressures of life. The second word is distress which means the constriction we feel when we are under pressure. The word persecution is just that. It is the idea of being persecuted for the bad we do and for that matter for the good. Paul continues to define the kinds of issues that cause us to become unsettled. They are famine, nakedness, danger, and the sword. Paul is saying that none of these things will cause God to stop loving us because His love never fails.
Notice too that in this passage Paul assures us of the love of God two different times. One of the principles of understanding Scripture is that when something is stated more than once it is important and we should take notice of the subject presented. Notice how God showed us His love. He loved us so much that He willingly chose to send His son as a gift to remove sin from our lives. He sacrificed Himself for us. Paul then poses this thought. If God is willing to give us His son is there anything that He is not willing to give us. You see this gift is the very essence of His love. Remember John 3:16. “For god so loved the world that He gave His only son.” God loves us and has sealed that love through the gift of His son.
Fourthly, Paul states that we are more than conquerors. Think about this for a moment, we do not have to live as a victim but we are victors. But notice the wording here. Paul states that we are more than conquerors. Think about it. Do you get it? We don’t just survive. We don’t just get by. We go beyond just conquering and we live victoriously. You see this means that we don’t simply exist. We don’t just do the minimum and expect success. We move beyond the status quo and the issue of being controlled by others and our circumstances to now live as conquerors. Listen to the words of Jesus on our behalf. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” We are victorious because of the work of Christ in us and when we receive Him and live out His will and His word we will be victors in a victim’s world.
As believers we are only as good as the one we serve and follow. In this case, we are only as good as the god we serve. We can serve the gods of intimidation, fear, and victimization or we can choose to serve the God of love and dependability. Joshua of the Old Testament said it best. Choose you this day who you will serve. If you are going to serve Baal or the gods of this world then serve Baal. But if you serve God then serve Him with all of your heart, your mind, and your soul. Move from being victimized and enter a world of freedom and power that exists only as one follows whole heartedly after God.
Are you with me? Are you ready to live a life full of victory and power? I am and I commit myself today to do just that.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom