Is your life is filled with anxiety and trouble? Do you often wonder whether anyone loves you, much less God? Are you surrounded by hurt and broken relationships? Some of it you blame on others, but if you’ll admit it, you blame yourself for most of it. Where’s the love?
That’s the question that Paul closes this powerful chapter with, it’s the question of God’s love. In fact, the final verses of Romans 8 are made up of 5 questions, each progressing like stair steps up to the 5th and highest step, which is this question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” In Romans 8:31-39, the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome that they could rest in the fact that nothing could separate them from God’s love. We can rest in the fact that nothing can separate us from God’s love
Below is an automated transcript of this message:Good morning, church. Hey, we’re coming to the conclusion of chapter eight today, and we’ve been on this journey together, this wonderful journey together, in the second part of our journey through the book of Romans. Last Fall, we did the first four chapters, and now this Fall, we’ve been working on chapters five through eight and we’re concluding this portion.
We will be concluding today with a sermon entitled, “Resting in God’s Love.” I’ve been blessed to be on this journey together with you as we finish today. I just want to let you know we’re at the halfway mark. Eight chapters in with eight chapters to go. It is our desire, if the Lord delays His coming, that next Fall we’ll pick back up with chapter nine and will do part three. And then in 2021, two years from now, we’ll pick up the last four chapters. That’s four years going through the book of Romans every Fall. I think it’s been a wonderful journey, and I’m happy to be at the halfway mark with you today.
I’m thankful to the Lord that we could do this, and I’m all so thankful for you. It’s easy to be your pastor, by the way. It’s easy because you make it easy; you love God’s word and so it makes it very attractive and easy for me to study and preach it. You’ve been so encouraging. Many people have been coming up to me and saying things like, “I just don’t want this series to end. I’m just enjoying it so much.” Others are coming in saying, “I’m learning so much every week. I think I can’t learn another new thing and then I do. I learn something new from Romans.” I am thankful for your encouragement.
Speaking of encouragement, I am going to ask you to do something today a little different at the end of the service. Could everyone of you turn in a connection card, every single one of you? We always ask people to turn him in, but this week, if if every one of you would complete one. When you’re completing the card, think about what you been learning in Romans and how has it encouraged you and how we can pray for you to apply it more to your life. If that’s not the topic that you’re interested in, write something else. Make these buckets overflow this week, okay? That’s what we’re asking you to do; it would be very encouraging to to us and I think encouraging to you too. Respond today; let us hear from you today.
Now, speaking of encouragement and speaking of love, I want you to know something. I love you the love that Christ has given me. And this is a wonderful thing because I feel that same love being returned by you towards me. This is something that we have as a possession because we’re children of God and we serve a God who is love. Our God is love. And so we serve Him . And as his children, we love Him and we love each other. Church, we are loved by God, and we’re all His children; someday we will be in glory with Him.
Some of you here today and you would say, “I don’t feel the love.” Some of you are here today and you are filled, instead, with anxiety, sorrow or brokenness, whether it’s relational or physical or both. Some of you are like, “where’s the love?” Some of you might even question God’s love today; you are not sure God loves you and you’re asking those kind of questions. You’re in the right place because we’re going to be looking at the end of Romans, chapter eight,
In Romans, chapter eight, Paul is going to show us how we can rest in God’s love. The thing about Roman’s, chapter eight, is perhaps what I would say is the diamond of the book of Romans. Perhaps, it’s also the diamond of the whole Bible. Romans, chapter eight and these final verses 31 through 39; if Romans eight is the diamond, then perhaps these final verses are the gleam of the diamond, the Mount Everest, if you will, of this passage. I’m excited to share this with you. I can’t wait to dig in with this last passage in Romans, chapter eight. My desire, my prayer for each of us today is that you would leave here today knowing God’s love. That you can rest in God’s love.
In this passage, Paul anticipates our questions. In fact, he gives five questions that are like stair steps going up to a peak. The fifth question is the most important question; it’s the question that all of us want to know the answer. Where is God’s love? Who can separate us from God’s love? That’s the top tier; that’s the fifth question, the fifth stair step that he will bring us to. In this passage , the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome about this fact that they could rest in knowing that nothing could separate them from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. I believe today we can know, we can rest in that same reality that nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is found in Christ Jesus. As we look at the text today, we’re looking at four reasons why this is so, why nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Are you ready? Let’s dig in.
Romans 8:31-39 (ESV) “31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 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? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 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. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded 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 sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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.” This is God’s word. Amen.
We’re talking about four reasons we can rest in God’s love. Let’s look at Verse 31, this first question. “What then shall we say to these things?” This is one of the five questions we’re going to address. This is really the way that Paul, at least four previous times in Romans, has said he is going to summarize or anticipate your questions with either some new information or to remind you of something. So it’s kind of a way that is his pattern here. “What shall we say to these things?” He’s used this before at least four other times in Romans.
What are these things that he’s referring to? Well, surely he’s summarizing all of chapter eight. He definitely must be doing that. But I would say he’s also summarizing everything from chapter one, verse one all the way up to here. He’s taking kind of a time out for a second. He’s catching his breath because he’s just hit the peak of Mount Everest. Here, he’s come to the very top and he wants to just say, “What shall we say to these things?” You know what it’s all about; it’s about God’s love and His purpose for you. He loves you so much that he’s wanting to redeem you and buy you out of sin and make you like Jesus. That’s His ultimate purpose. He wants to make you like Jesus.
Four reasons we can rest in God’s love:
(1) We can be confident in His purpose. That’s the first reason we can know that God loves us. He has a purpose for us that He’s going to work out. What shall we say about these things? In chapters one through three, he said that we’re all sinners and we need a savior. And He’s provided Jesus for us. In chapters three through five, he said. He’s decided to count us, justified by faith without works, if we place our faith in Jesus. So, even though we’re not righteous, if we take on Christ’s righteousness and we accept it by faith, He will count us righteous. Then, in chapters five through eight, he starts talking about not only am I going to count you righteous, which is called justification, but I’m, in fact, gonna make you righteous like Jesus, which is called sanctification. He’s been working this out.
What shall we say about all of that? That’s what Paul’s saying. What shall we say about all of that? And then perhaps even more in view is what he has said in chapter eight, because in verse 15 he says, we’ve been adopted into God’s family. In chapter eight, verse 15 and chapter eight, verse 17, we’ve received the spirit as a guarantee we’re coheirs with Christ. The spirit prays for us in verse 26. Then there’s that golden chain of verbs that we talked about last week that culminates with this word “glorified.” In other words, he’s making us glorified like Jesus. His ultimate purpose is to make you like Jesus. What’s God up to? He’s making us like Jesus. So rest in His love. Why? Because He has a purpose for you. He’s making you like Christ Jesus. What then shall we say about these things?
He asked his first question in verse 31, “What shall we say about these things?” Now he’s going to make the first logical result, and he doesn’t even answer the question. It’s kind of a rhetorical question that answers itself. “If God is for us, who could be against us.” Try to answer that because he’s already answered it for us. Another way of looking at this is to look at it like this: the “if” is not really if. It’s not really if it’s more like since; since God is for us. How do we know He is for us? In verse 29 and 30 of the previous verses here, where it says He knew us before we were even created. He predestined us to be like Jesus, conformed to the image of His Son, which is His purpose for us. He’s called us because He loves us. He’s justifying, and in his mind he’s already glorified. In a sense, all that’s true since so the if is more like since Since God is for us, who in the world, or in the whole cosmos, can be against us? It kind of answers itself. No one can stand against God’s purpose for you. No one can separate you from His love.
Sometimes we feel that we’re going through a season that God doesn’t love us. Maybe it’s because our plans aren’t working out. Or maybe we’re going through a season of suffering and we doubt His purpose. As a result of doubting His purpose and plan, we also doubt His love. He says to the prophet, Jeremiah and to Israel, when Israel had lost everything and they were being carried off into exile to Babylon. Here is the word that God gave Jeremiah to say to them, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” Right in the midst of their trial, right in the midst of their trouble, he says, I want to remind you of something. I have good plans for you, and I have a future hope for you. So know this; no matter what you’re going through right now, know that I love you and I have good plans for you.
I’ve mentioned this to you before in previous weeks; there is something about going through the book of Romans that causes me to open up to you about my stories of how God has affected me. And I hope as you’ve been going through Romans, it’s been causing you to open up, It’s really causing me to examine my heart. The verse, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans for welfare, not for evil to give you a future;” I didn’t always believe that. Here’s what my view of God was when I was young. My father died when I was eight years old. I believed that God was real but I also believed he was angry. The reason I thought he was angry was because when we prayed and asked God to heal my father, God didn’t heal him. He took him. He allowed him to pass away at age 39, leaving behind a wife and young children. I didn’t doubt God; I could have, but that’s not what my little eight year old brain did. It didn’t doubt God, but here is what happened. I had a view of God that God was angry and out to hurt me, and I needed to believe in Him so I could spend eternity away from a place called hell but in heaven. My view of God was “let’s keep Him happy, but don’t trust Him with the details.” I don’t think I thought it through that clearly. If I had, I probably would have seen the fallacy of that I was thinking. I was in high school and someone that was older than me, a high school friend who was a couple of years older than me and really committed to the Lord, brought it to my attention that my “walk didn’t match my talk.” I was living one way at church and another way everywhere else. I wasn’t really living out my faith. At the heart of it, I didn’t trust God’s plans for me. I didn’t trust Him with my dating life. I didn’t trust Him with with my desires to be popular or to be a great athlete or whatever kind of dreams I had for myself. I kind of had this view. If you trust God with something, He’s probably going to take it away from you. If you really love something, He’s probably going to take it away from you. I came face to face with that wrong thinking. When I finally realized that God loved me more than I loved myself, I finally was able to trust Him with everything. Before, I wouldn’t give Him everything because I didn’t trust His purpose. I hope that helps someone today because that was a breakthrough in my life. That really changed the trajectory of my whole life.
You see, we can be confident that God’s love is steadfast and this purpose is sure. The psalmist says this in Psalm 138:8 (ESV), “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Don’t give up on me, Lord. Keep working on me. I like that word, “steadfast.” That’s a translation of the Hebrew; it means covenantal love. It’s kind of the Old Testament equivalent to the New Testament word of God. It’s God’s kind of love. He never quits. His love never quits and his love is connected to his purpose. For you.
What’s His purpose for you? Well, you don’t have to guess; just flip back a couple of verses. There He is, making you his destination that he has for you, to conform you to the image of His son Jesus. We learned earlier that no matter how things are going, maybe a little rough from time to time, even sometimes you’ve caused them to happen to yourself, Romans 8:28 says this, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God. To those who are called according to His purpose.” Some of the worst things that have happened to most of us are things that are self inflicted. Yet, if we will give those things, all things, to the Lord and trust Him, trust his plans and trust His love, He will even cause those things that brought us shame, to weave together to make us like Christ. We can be confident, we can rest in God’s love, knowing that He has a purpose for us that he’s working out. So the first reason has to do with God’s purpose. His love is the motivation for His purpose.
The second reason we can rest in God’s love is:
(1) We can be certain of His provision.
I like these p words in this particular sermon. I hope it helps you remember it. Purpose, and then Provision. He provides. We are at the second question; it’s in verse 32. We’ve dealt with the verse, “If God is for us, who could be against us.” Now, he has a new question. It’s the second of five; “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.” This is about what He will give. This is about what He will provide. This is about God’s love; being connected to God’s provision.
Will he provide for us? It’s an argument that some would notice is called an argument from greater to lesser. If He would give you a million dollars, why wouldn’t He also give you a penny if you asked for it? If He would give you this mansion, why wouldn’t He also give you a shed?
Here’s what He says, if he would give you Jesus, why wouldn’t he give you all things? Because Jesus is the greatest of all. He’s the greatest of all, and He has not withheld Him from us. (32) “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?”
This brings into view that which he asked Abraham to do. He told Abraham to take his one and only son, his only begotten son and take him up the Hill called Mount Mariah. He wanted him to sacrifice him to prove his faith and love for God. Abraham saw this vision; he heard from the Lord. The next morning, he got up early and headed out in obedience, and he took his son. I think it’s son was probably a teenager. By then, he was big enough to make the journey. He’s big enough to help his father get up the hill and his son turns to ask his father, you know, we’ve gone on sacrifices together before, but usually we have a little lamb with us. I see that we have fire. I see that we have wood, but we don’t have a lamb. Abraham says, don’t worry, son. God will provide the lamb. They go up to the top of the hill and right when he begins to offer his son, Isaac, who apparently, as the story goes, willingly laid down and allowed his father to do this. The angel prevented him from taking Isaac’s life. He looked and saw that there was a ram with its horns caught in a thicket, and he offered the ram in its place.
God provides a lamb; His name is Jesus. He who did not spare His only son. He spared Abraham’s son and He spared me. And He’s sparing you if you’ll let him. Here’s the thing. He didn’t spare his son. He turned Him over. He gave Him over to us to do with as we will. John the Baptist. When he saw Jesus come to the River Jordan,said, “behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” This Jesus is the lamb of God. He has given him over. He did not spare him, but gave him up for us all. This idea means he took his hands off and just offered him to us to do with him as we will. He offered him to the Sanhedren. He offered him to Pilot. He offered him to the Roman soldiers and we know what they did with him. He offers him today to you. What will you do with him? What will you do? He gave him up for us. He surely did. He gave. What have you done with Jesus? It’s the greatest gift. He is the greatest gift in all the universe.
If He gave Jesus to you, won’t He give you all things that are needed to provide for you? He’ll graciously do it. He’ll graciously give you all things. And He offered Jesus; when He gave him over, Jesus went willingly. It says in Ephesians 5:2 (ESV) “… Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” So He came willingly and He gave himself over to us like a lamb led to the slaughter. He spoke not a word, but allowed Himself to be taken. As the old hymn said, “He could have called 10,000 angels to destroy the world and set him free. He could have called 10,000 angels, but he died alone. For you and me.” He could have, but he didn’t because he came willingly and he gave himself up for all for us all. And so if he would do this if he would offer himself, if the Lord God, the Father would offer his greatest, his son, why wouldn’t he meet your needs? Why wouldn’t he graciously give all things?
D.L. Moody, the great evangelist, told this story: What if you got invited to the most exclusive jewelry store in New York City and as you came in and you presented your identification, everybody said to you that the owner is waiting for you. You are ushered into a back room. And as the curtain is pulled back, the owner would say to you, “Oh, my goodness, are you Gary? Are you the one we’ve been waiting for ? You reply, “Yes, sir; I guess I am.” The owner has said to you that someone has paid for the most beautiful, expensive diamond in all of the world. It belongs to you. We’ve been told to roll out the red carpet and give it to you; all you have to do is receive it. The owner gives you the diamond and the owner then balks at your suggestion of, “Could I have a box to put it in and a bag to carry it out in?” The owner replies, “Oh, no, I’m sorry. We don’t give out free bags and boxes. You’ll have to pay for that.” Would this really happen? If he would give you the most expensive diamond, he would surely give you anything else in the jewelry store. This is the argument from greater to lesser. If you’ve received Jesus, you’ve received all because He has all authority and all things are His. All things were made by Him and all things were made for Him.
It says in Colossians, chapter one, that you are co-heirs with Christ. He will not withhold anything from you, having given His Son. In John 3:16, you know this one, “For God so loved the world that he gave…” That’s the kind of love He has. That’s His steadfast love, Chesed love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth…” Whosoever surely includes you. “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God gave him over. What have you done with Jesus? Some think when you get to heaven that God will say, “Were you good? Did your good works outweigh your bad works? How many times did you go to church? He’s not going to ask any of those questions. The only question you’ll have to answer is “What you do with my Jesus?” I gave you Jesus; you don’t have to worry about anything else. He’ll surely give you whatever else you need. His provisions are loving. The Father provides all of our needs.
Here’s what Paul wrote to the Philippians; he said in Philippians 4:19 (ESV) “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Christ owns everything; He can provide any need you have. Why are you worried today that God doesn’t love you? He’s given you Jesus. He will not withhold any other thing that is needed for you to follow Jesus.
Some of you may be here this morning; you have a sense of calling on your life. God has told you to do this; He’s told you to do that. You feel like you need to do it but you need this, this and this; you need these three things before you can get there. I don’t have enough money, or I don’t have enough talent or I don’t have enough education. You’re in some sort of limbo. You’re waiting. You can’t do what God’s call you to do yet because you haven’t been provided for yet. Well, if God’s calling you, He’s already given you Jesus, and He’s already given you enough to answer His call today. Why are you worried about answering His call tomorrow? Do it today with what’s in your hand. He asked Moses, when Moses was saying, “ I don’t feel qualified to go lead God’s people. “ He says, “Moses, what’s in your hand? What’s that in your hand? Use that.” It was just a shepherd’s staff but try that for size. Use that; start with that. What’s in your hand? God is your provider. If you’ll take the first step and you will answer the call that He has on your life, He’ll give you what you need. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Use what He’s given you today. He’ll provide tomorrow. He gave you Jesus. He won’t withhold any good thing from you in order to be what He’s made you to be. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He’s giving you Jesus. You can be certain of His provisions and His purpose for you. Number three, the third reason that we can rest in God’s love:
(3) We can be secure in His protection.
Did I tell you about the P words? I got P words for you today. Purpose, provision and, now, , protection. We’re gonna take the next two questions together. There are five questions. The next two questions are really kind of in a courtroom setting; they are kind of legal questions. So I’m taking them together because God protects us from charges and condemnation.
Let’s look at the two questions. Verses 33-34, 33 “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 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.” He answers this one; he doesn’t leave it rhetorical like he did the previous two questions. It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? The answer is that Christ Jesus is the one who died. Let’s just look at these two questions together. It has to do with being charged, which is a legal thing. You’ve been charged with this crime, and it has to do with being condemned, which means somebody’s already decided the case before they even charge you; you’re already condemned. Okay, so what do you do about these two things? This charge, which, in other word, would be accusation. You’ve been accused of the following crimes. What do you do? How do you face that? How do you live in this world, believing that God loves you, if you’ve been charged and accused.
Imagine a courtroom and God, the Father’s behind the podium. He’s the judge. The father is He’s got on His robe. Over at the defense table is Jesus because it says that He’s the one making intercession for you. Can you see this ? Verse 34, “Who is at the right hand of God, who is indeed interceding for us.” He’s the intercessor. He’s the defense attorney. Coming in a little bit late and dropping his papers because he’s got a whole stack of files, is the devil. He’s coming into the courtroom. You know what the devil means, right? It’s a Hebrew word that means “accuser;” it means adversary. So he’s the prosecutor. You can see that all the way back in the book of Job; Job is a good, righteous man and he has protection around him. The devil removes the protection to see how righteous he is. Satan is the accuser. He accuses and he says, “Well, sure, You know, I know you can ID this person righteous, but look at this and look at this and look at this other thing. He comes in and he’s bringing all of this because he’s got files on us, right? He plops them down on the prosecutor’s table and they kind of spillover in the floor. You’re sitting over there with Jesus and you look over there; you owe money and you have a big case. Then you look at Jesus; He has this little skinny file with Him. Before Satan can even open his mouth, God says this, “Hey, wait a minute.” He has tried this case already; it will be double jeopardy for him to try it again. He tried it and and the punishment was already given on Jesus. Jesus already paid it. He already paid it in full. He excuses the case. He throws the case out . He says you have no case and he throws it out. Here goes to the devil; he has to carry everything out. He gets thrown out of court. The devil tries to appeal and God refuses his appeal. The Supreme Court does this all the time. They refuse appeals; they are not gonna cover a case. It’s not worthy. God is the Supreme Court. I’m glad He’s over our Supreme court. He’s over every president and every king. He’s already counted you justified and righteous. It would be double jeopardy for Him to accept any accusation. He says, I’ve justified this one; the accusation is thrown out. But you know who’s an even better accuser? It is ourselves. Sometimes we slip out from behind the defense table and we go over and sit in the accusation process, and we accuse ourselves. We’re better at it than the devil in many ways . We tell ourselves, “Man, you’re such a loser. If you were smart, maybe you could do something.” We talk to ourselves.
If you ever would be in my garage when I’m working on something that I probably shouldn’t be working on and probably should have taken it to an expert, but I’m in a hurry. I’ll be working on something and take it apart and then find out I didn’t have to take it apart; I could have just done this. But now I’ve taken it apart and I can’t figure out how to put it back together again. I will talk out loud to myself; “If you had a brain….” I’m sinning against myself, I’m accusing myself. God is saying, “I have counted you righteous.” We often say, God, “ I’ve wasted my life. I’m this age now. How could I come to you now after I’ve lived for myself all these years…” God is saying to us, “If you would just receive the gift, I will count you just and throw the case out. No one can accuse you; not only that, no one can condemn you.”
Remember that little, skinny file that Jesus had over there on the defense table? It’s got four pieces of paper; it has four reasons why no one not only cant’ accuse you, but they can’t condemn you. Who is to condemn Christ? (1) Jesus is the one who died. He died in your place. He paid the price of your sin. More than that, number two. (2) He’s the one who was raised for your righteousness, and He defeated death. So, therefore, you are raised with Christ. Number three (3) He’s at the right hand of the Father, which means all authority in heaven and earth and all provisions, everything, is given to Him. He’s over all things. Then finally, if that’s not enough,(4) He’s the one who is interceding for us. That’s what was in that little skinny file. But that file was better than everything the devil rolled up in there in his wagon. I mean, it’s all better. It’s superior. No one can condemn us.
The way Paul started Romans eight is the way he’s beginning to conclude Romans 8. Remember how Romans 8:1 started? “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Are you in Christ, Jesus? If you are in Christ Jesus, He has taken your condemnation. There’s no condemnation left over for you. It is God who protects us.
Peter says in 1 Peter 1:5 (NLT) “And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” We’re saved by faith and we’re kept by faith. He loves us. He loves us. He loves us. And he keeps his children safe.
Many of you have heard me talk about my son, Jonathan. He is our middle child. He was a runner. Do you have runners at your house? Do you have kids? We had a couple of them that we could get out of the car and they would stay with us. But not Jonathan. You let him out of his car seat prematurely and he was running across the parking lot, scaring you to death. So, he was the last one we would let out of the car seat, and when we did, we would get a hold of him somehow. If we were going to Food Lion, Walmart or wherever, we were going to get him out last and hang on to him while he’s trying to pull away. Even as we were walking, he was running next to us , trying to pull away. That was Jonathan.
I remember back several years ago at Food Lion. We got him out of the buggy prematurely as Robin and I were paying. We heard the doors open and there went Jonathan. This is when you have to run and catch. Man, I used to snatch him by the ear, snatch him by the hair, anything I get my hands on. You might think, “man, that sounds abusive.” But it’s better than letting him be hit by a car, because I love him. I love him. I love him . I’m aggravated, aggravated, aggravated at him, but I love him. He was a runner, but a good father takes hold and doesn’t let him get killed. He keeps him safe; a good father recognizes he’s a runner and hangs onto him. Peter says that He will protect you. He will not allow any accusation to come against you because He’s justified you. He will not allow you to be condemned because Christ has already paid in your place and He continually intercedes for you. He has you in the palm of his hand.
John, chapter 10, says that no one can snatch you from Christ’s hand and my Father, who is greater than all, says that no one can snatch you from His hand. He’s the gate. He’s the lock on the gate and the Father is the deadbolt. No one can snatch it from His hand. He loves you.
Finally, number four.
(4) We can be assured of this promise.
We’re in verses 35 through 39 . We have the last question. Now, remember, it’s the fifth step; it’s the highest question. It’s really the question that all of Romans has been leading up to, because this is what we really want to know. Verses 35-39, “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded 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 sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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.” Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Is there anyone that can do that? Can anyone come between us or is there something I can do that would cause Him to stop loving me?
There are people in this world, if you do certain things, they have conditional love. They’ll stop loving you. Even spouses will say, “I no longer love the other.” But is there anything that would cause Him to say that? Is there anything? Here’s what I want to know. God, you told me eight chapters of information. Here’s what I really, really, really want to know. Do you love me? Is there anything that would come between us? Is there any way that I could mess that up? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Here’s the pinnacle, the Mount Everest, of all questions: “Who can separate us?”
And so he begins to give situations. He gives seven kinds of present situations that could happen, situations in this world that could happen. He says, okay, what about tribulation? What about if you feel confined and pressed down, like, anxious? Would that separate you? Make you feel like you know that you’re not loved? What about distress, which is kind of an outward sense of feeling confined or boxed in? What about persecution? Would that make me feel like I’m separated from God’s love? Persecution is literally, in the Greek, being pursued like an animal, to be persecuted for your faith. Have you ever felt persecuted on how you look or the color of your skin, or what part of town or the country you’re from? Have you ever felt like God must not love me because of that? How about famine? How does famine apply to me? There are children in our city that are food insecure, and we actually have a ministry here of several of their members who deliver food to homes of children that are food insecure to get them through the weekend. If they go to public school, they get food during the week, but weekends they might not know how they’re going to get the next meal. There’s food insecurity in our city. Do you feel like God doesn’t love you because of your hunger or nakedness due to homelessness or lack of clothing?
I’ve had people say to me, “I’d love to visit your church sometime, but I just don’t have church clothes.” I look at them and say, “You’re wearing church clothes right now. Come as you are. Come as you are. I’ll be wearing blue jeans on Sunday.” I’m wearing a jacket right now because I’m preaching in Romans. Yeah, you see the jacket? Watch out. I just felt like I needed a jacket for Romans. Or danger that could be from hurricanes or weather? Or somebody broke in your house? Or sword, which is violent death? Paul just kind of runs out of breath.
Then he throws in an odd verse, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ…” What about these seven things? Would any of these things separate us? I’m waiting for the answer; come on, Paul. Give us the answer, and then he gives us, “As it is written…” Okay, this is gonna be encouraging. His apparent medical statement here in the middle of everything kind of muddies the water. That’s how it looked when I was studying earlier this week. But then I read it Psalms 44: 22. Paul quotes Psalm 44:22 to remind the saints that hardship has always been present for God’s people. If you go and read this, you will find out that it’s always been this way for God’s people, that we are always being killed and and regarded as his sheep to be slaughtered by people who who are against faith. They are against you and against believing in God.
We live in a country where we have freedom and we’re thankful for that. But not everyone has that; I’ve read recently that there are more Christian martyrs in the world today than in any other time in human history. And so there are people being killed for their faith. And so it’s always been this way, so don’t feel that it’s odd.
Check. Swindal writes in his commentary on Romans, “After having a medical procedure, I always appreciate the physician telling me what I can expect to feel in the days to follow. ‘You may experience sharp pains around the affected area. Don’t worry. That’s normal.’ Then, when the pain comes, I know not to call the doctor or run to the hospital. Paul reassured the believers in Rome, saying, in effect, “ You may experience hardship from the world or even persecution from nonbelievers. Don’t worry. That’s normal.” I kind of appreciate that myself. The doctor is going to do surgery on you and you wonder what’s it gonna be like afterwards? You’re gonna have this pain, and you’re going to have dry mouth or whatever you’re gonna have, and then you’ll feel this and this and it doesn’t sound particularly good. But he says, If you have these pains, after you’ve had this surgical procedure, don’t be worried. That’s normal. This kind of helps you because then when the pains come, I don’t need to call the doctor. I don’t need to run to the emergency room right now because he said I would feel this. Then, he might say, Now, if you feel some other thing, call me. But otherwise it’s normal. And so it’s kind of what Paul is doing here. He’s kind of being a good physician. He assuring that it’s always been this way. There’s trouble in this world , so don’t think God doesn’t love you because there’s trouble.
But then He finally gives you the answer. After giving you this kind of ‘we gotta go read psalms first before I’ll give you the answer.’ In verse 37, “No, in all of these things….” What things? Seven things: tribulation, distress…. those seven. “In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved…” We are more than conquerors. What? Maybe another way of saying this is we’re completely victorious over these things because of Christ. It doesn’t say we won’t go through them, because we will. We might not go through all of them, but we’ll go through some of them. And when we do, we will come out the other side and it’ll be Christ’s love that sustains us. We are more than conquerors.
The Greek word is ( ), where we get the word hyper or super. That’s translated , ( ) where we get the name of that favorite sneaker that we pay extra money for Nike. It means victorious, conqueror overcomer, except her it’s even more than that. And so he’s saying, you’re facing that stuff but Christ’s love is gonna bring you through it even better than when you started.
Verse 38 says I’m certain of something. He’s already given the list of seven things in this world that we can be guaranteed, we’re going to experience some, if not all, of it sometime in their life. But then he gives a list of cosmic things, things that maybe you could imagine could happen. Well, what about this or what about that? That could separate me from the love of God. So he names some of them. He says , I’m sure that neither death nor life can separate you from the love of Christ.
Last week in my Community Group, we had this question, “Well, what’s our existence as believers, when we die?” For one thing, nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. Someone in my group said, “I’m not sure of the details, but I know this; I trust Jesus. I trust that He’s got me.” The Bible says, “Absent from the body present with the Lord.” Close your eyes in this world, and I believe you will open your eyes in the next to the face of Jesus. He’s got you. He’s good, He’s not gonna lose His grip. Neither death nor life is going to separate us.
What about angels or rulers? That’s pretty cosmic. What about righteous angelic beings or unrighteous fallen beings? Rulers tends to be that. No, that can’t separate you. What about time, present or things to come? What about past or present? Future or some amount of time? No, that can’t do it . What about space? Neither height nor depth. What about space? Could I be so far to the east or the west or the north of the south or something? No, He will find you. He’s got you. What about powers? No, no powers. And then, in case you thought of one that Paul didn’t think of, he’s got this extra at the end where, he says, nor anything else in all creation. That’s in case you thought of something he didn’t. There’s nothing. Nothing cosmic. Nothing beyond that is able to separate us.The Greek word ( ) is where we get the word dynamite, dynamic or explosive power. There’s no power great enough to separate you from the love of Jesus. No power, no person. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus
First John says this, 1 John 4:15-17 (ESV) 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment… You have confidence in His love. He is love and He promises, “Never will I leave you never will I forsake you.” We can rest in God’s love.
Paul gives at least four reasons here. He says. (1) He’s got a purpose for you that he’s going to complete. (2) He’s going to provide everything you need in order to answer His calling. (3) He’s going to protect you from any charge or accusation, and (4) He’s going to keep His promise for you that He will never, ever, ever stop loving you and there is nothing that can separate you from that.
I don’t know if you’re here today and you feel unloved by God. You don’t have to leave that way. You may have come in that way; we’re glad you’re here, but you don’t have to leave that way. God loves you.
I’m 61 years old. I’ve gone to seminary. I’ve studied in the original biblical languages in Greek and Hebrew. I’ve taken systematic theology. Some of you might be like, “Well, Gary, what have you learned?” I suppose my deepest learning is what I started with on my mother’s knee. It seems to summarize everything I’ve learned since. This is what she taught me: “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes. Jesus loves me. Yes. Jesus loves me. Yes. Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.” That’s what I’ve learned. That’s how Paul finishes up. Perhaps the greatest chapter in the whole Bible. Jesus loves me.