Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors [hupernikomen] through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Friday, February 26, 2016

Who are the Hypernikomen?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. - Romans 8.37

"More than conquerors" = Hypernikomen+

Calling all men to be victorious Hyperniko-men!

What does it mean to be one of the "Hypernikomen"? (Or "hupernikomen" depending how you prefer to transliterate your upsilon.) Hypernikomen  is the Greek word translated into English as "to be more than conquerors", or "to gain surpassing victory"* as in Romans 8:37, "But in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." This is the only place in all of the New Testament where hypernikomen appears. That, combined with its context in Romans chapter 8, make it worthy of serious reflection.

Hypernikomen combines two Greek words "hyper" (huper = above, beyond, more than) and "nikomen" (nikao = to conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory). 

While the Greek hypernikomen seems to include the word "men" (as in "guys"), that is just an interesting coincidence, and only reflects a particular verb-ending (present active subjunctive, plural) not a gender. However, we're taking advantage of that coincidence to apply the word hypernikomen to men as encouragement to excel as men victorious in Christ. The “plus sign” at the end of “Hypernikomen+” is not part of the Greek but is added here as a symbolic reminder to emphasize that we are ministers of Christ. (Christian clergy traditionally sign their names with a cross at the end to emphasize they are servants of Christ.)

To help us remember the meaning and the application of hypernikomen, let's consider the Greek meaning along with the English words "hyper" and "men", so that we might associate this word with a state of being in Christ, with a faith that is energized and over-the-top. That faith is based on the middle part, the "niko" part, which is victory. But it isn't just a common victory – it is a super victory that we share in the midst of “all these things.” More than that, the subjunctive verb indicates that it is a victory contingent on something or someone else. That someone is Christ. As noted above, hypernikomen refers to everyone who is victorious in Christ, not just men.  But, through the use of this play-on-words, we as men can be reminded to seize this super-abundant victory!

Men who are married would do well to recognize the challenge of being victorious in Christ, in relation to how we lead our families. Consider Ephesians 5.25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her . . ."  Victory for Christian men is courage and discipline through love, humility and self sacrifice. In other words, being like Jesus.

What are all these things in which we are victorious? The answer is found in Romans 8.18 where Paul wrote, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” [NIV]. We are frustrated and groaning along with all of creation because of the consequences of sin. [See Romans 3.23] Sin creates bondage, frustration, decay and groaning but God wants to adopt us out of that and provide freedom, which is victory through the love of Jesus. Therefore, we can be hyper-victorious Christian men through the love of Christ! Whatever sin might leads us into failure and subjugation, we know that in all those things we find abundant victory through Christ, because he loves us.

Paul wants to make sure we don't miss the point – he goes on to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” [Romans 8.31, NIV] If God went so far as to give up His only Son for our sake, what more could we ask for? There is no limit to what God will do to help us to be victorious over sin! Stop reading for a second and make sure that sinks in: God gave His one and only Son for you and me, so that we can experience victory!

Paul emphasizes further, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” [Romans 8.32-35, NIV]. “Who will separate us from the love of Christ” is a leading question with the anticipated answer, “no one will separate me from the love of Christ!” This is why we can confidently answer, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” who loved us to the point of suffering at the whipping post and dying on a cross. [See John 19.1, Luke 23.34]. That same person is saying, “I suffered all of that, so that you might have freedom.” [John 3.16, 10.10].

In fact, Jesus is interceding for you right now. He is hearing the accusations of Satan made against you [Rev. 12.10-12] and he is telling the court, “I've got that covered, because I love that guy and shed my blood for him.” The court replies, “The penalty has been paid.” And the charges are dropped!

Paul concludes this part of his letter by stating emphatically that not even the most powerful forces in heaven or on earth – not even death – can separate us from the love of Christ. That is how we can be conquerors in all things.

So what has you bound up, groaning with frustration and suffering? Turn to Jesus and become one of the Hypernikomen+ and experience victory.

*Interlinear Greek New Testament Bible" by Frederick H. A. Scrivener

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Worshipping with the Liturgy

"The Meaning and Symbols of Holy Eucharist" was written as an introduction to ancient liturgical worship.

Worship is not a performance, but the expression of hearts, mouths and actions of human beings directing themselves toward God for His glory.  
Here "liturgical worship" refers to a form of worship that frequently uses a prayer book or some other written worship that dates back to the earliest forms of worship in the ancient Christian Church.

As one who grew up in a fundamentalist denomination, the author understands the difficulties in understanding and relating to this form of worship. The book provides historical and scriptural background for liturgical worship, with an emphasis on improving devotions and drawing nearer to Christ.  The topics covered are instructive to those new to liturgical worship as well as those who have worshipped in this way for many years but are not sure of the significance of the many prayers, gestures and movements of the Liturgy. 
Here is a partial list of the topics discussed in the book:

Liturgy: The Work of the People
Seasons, Colors and Vestments
Saints and Martyrs
Common Symbols
Introduction to Holy Eucharist
Scriptural and Historical Background
The Real Presence
How to Receive Communion
An Instructed Eucharist
Preparation for Holy Communion
Prayers for Private Devotions
Private Prayers offered by the Celebrant
Anglican Identity
Frequently Asked Questions about Anglicanism
The Prayer of Hippolytus
Collects and Preface
Praying the Daily Office
Outline for Morning Prayer Rite II
Glossary of Terms

The book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Discipline: preaching in action.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9.24-27 (ESV)