35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:35-39
Today, we conclude our study of Romans 8 where we have been learning of how the Holy Spirit factors in on our sanctification. Today's passage places the spotlight on the concept that gives us the greatest amount of confidence in a world that is stacked against us: the love of God.
This chapter began with the idea that the believer in Christ need not fear any "condemnation" from God, and, it ends with the idea that we need not fear any "separation" from the love of God that is given through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In v.35-36 of today's passage we read, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'"
There are days in our relationship with God that all hell seems to be invaded our existence. In those moments when it appears that the truth that we have long been convinced of is threatened by our circumstances, we need a vantage point to rise to in order to maintain the security that the truth provides us. it is a biblical understanding of God's love that inflates our perspective to the point that we realize we waste time when we doubt God's commitment to us.
In our moments of doubt, we learn what is truly substantive in our lives. In context here, the Apostle asks a series of question, questions that threaten our assurance that God really is committed to us in those most difficult moments of life. These questions are oh so important because they present to us the contrast that we need to be even more convinced of the veracity of the truthfulness and faithfulness of God. And, without the contrast, we do not see more clearly that which is most important.
That which we focus on the most is that which will define us. Perhaps you noticed the accentuation of the word "love" in today's passage. Used three times here, God's love is the anchor that we need that keeps us from capsizing in this world of torrential waters. It is the love of God that provides the buoy that our troubled souls need, and, God has clearly provided it through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no truth in the whole Bible that impacts us as much as the love of God. In 1 John 3 we read, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us or lavished on us." The word "behold" is such a key word here because in order for us to be defined by something, we must be preoccupied with it. the drilling down of our understanding of the love of God in Christ is essential for the maturation of our heart's ability to see God. In this case, when the love of God truly captures our attention and begins to define us, we will be the most secure people on this planet.
God's love is so amazing, because He is Holy. And, since He is Holy, God is unapproachable. This is why our only door to enter God's presence is the Lord Jesus Christ. While on His cross the Lord Jesus paid for our entry way into God's presence. While at Mount Sinai, the children of Israel could not come near God's presence, otherwise they would have died. They would have died because their sin had not been atoned for.
In God's holiness, He is unapproachable. But in His love, He is approachable. When the Lord Jesus came into this world, He said, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." At His first coming, the Lord Jesus showed up as God incarnate, as if to say, "Now, you can approach God." The Lord Jesus never met anyone He didn't love. He loved the worst of sinners. And He loved the best of saints. And He loves everyone in between.
In v.37-39 of today's passage we read, "37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Now, in these verses, Paul is picturing us surrounded by all of our enemies. But we still come out on top as the winners, because we are more than conquerors through Christ. That phrase, "more than conquerors" is one word in the original Greek language. It means that through Christ's merit, authority and will, we are super conquerors.
Not even our arch enemy death can separate us from the love of God. In fact, death will unite us to God one day. It will unite us into His immediate glory, because death's sting was taken away at the cross and the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we have a victory in death. Remember what David wrote, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." David didn't write, "the valley of death." No, he wrote "the shadow of death." This means that all of our trials present the possibility of defeat, but we can rest assured that we will even more than win in the end, just wait and see.
At the end of the book of his epistle, Jude wrote, "Keep yourselves in the love of God." This means that we must be diligent to keep ourselves in the place where we are mindful of God's love for us. The only place this is done is at the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our sin would try to convince us that we can out sin God's love but this is impossible. God's love sought us when we had nothing to give Him in return. His love is humanly irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with our intrinsic qualities. His love is a decision on His part to favor us, the undeserved. An accurate understanding of this results in our ability to love Him in return.