"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."
Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
As we get to the end of this series on Romans 8, there have been a lot of questions. We have seen Paul pose seven big questions about God’s sovereignty, power, provision and love (verses 31-39). There are seasons, times in our life where we will question God’s goodness. For Paul, he had faced the worst of the worst on behalf of his faith, yet in all, he was convinced, secure in the love of Christ. For his churches it was imperative and his prayer that they too would be secure and convinced. In verses 35-36, Paul gave a list of worldly hardships that may cause us to doubt God’s care or love. In our time people can struggle to find answers as there are so many differing opinions. So, Paul answers these questions and boils it down to simplicity for us.
Paul says “for I am convinced” which challenged the church in Rome and us today about their/our convictions. In Romans 4:21 he wrote that your righteousness is not because of your spiritual heritage but based upon Jesus. In Romans 14:5 &14 he wrote ‘each should be fully convinced’ of the things that are not core to the gospel. You should know your personal preferences and have opinions but there’s no need to share them or try to convince others of them. Don’t mix these two things up the way the Romans had been doing as it will break your community apart.
Paul is convinced of several things:
- Convinced of the goodness in others (Romans 15:14);
- That nothing is unclean of itself because in Christ you can live above preferences and not judge each other (Romans 14:14); and
- That nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38).
Let your core conviction be rooted in God’s love for you, then you are sound in your salvation and free not to judge others. When we are secure in God’s love, our community doesn’t need to divide itself -we are united as God’s family.
Are you convinced about God’s love for you? Paul introduces the concept of “neither/nor” and lists all the things that interrupt our knowledge of God’s love for us:
- Neither death (the fear of death, of finality), nor life (the pressures of life, our failures);
- Neither angels nor demons: spiritual forces! Don’t over-emphasize them (good ones or bad) because God is higher, greater and more powerful than them all;
- Neither bad news in the present, nor anxiety about the future;
- Neither “powers” – Paul says ANY powers be they relational, social, political;
- Neither height nor depth (our victories, our losses);
And just to make sure he has covered it all, Paul adds “anything else”.
It’s simple: Nothing can separate us from the love of God! This language [to separate] also tells us that God’s love is not only real but close. What a difference it would make in our lives if we regularly paused to meditate on God’s love for us.
He will never abandon us (Hebrews 13:5).
He is love (1 John 4:16).
He initiated, it is not performance based (1 John 4:9-11 & Romans 5:8).
It is forever (Isaiah 54:10), unconditional and sacrificial (John 15:13).
It takes the power of God to give you a revelation of His love but once He comes to live in you, it changes everything. We know He loves us because we have seen His love in the giving of His own life (Romans 8:32), we experience this love because He has poured it out through His Spirit (Romans 5:5) and there is nothing, that will separate us from this love and the promise of what is to come for those who trust in Him.
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
- What are some of the things that shake your conviction that God loves you?
- What are some of the ways we can hold to our conviction in these challenging times?
- Here Mark has listed some verses on God’s love. Maybe set yourself a reminder to read them and meditate on God’s love this week. Are there any verses you would add?
- How does Romans 8 help us to talk to those who are convinced that God doesn’t love them because of their unfortunate circumstances?