“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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 8:38-39
When we think of encouraging, amazing, dynamic verses Romans 8:38-39 have to be in the top ten. I know, a while back I wrote about these two verses but they really deserve to be thrust forward as often as possible in order to help us grasp the love of God.
One of the things in life that amazes me is how often people attack Christianity because they reason God is a moral monster who has only destruction and death to hurl upon the world. The same old questions come up time after time, if God is love then why do babies die? Why did God kill all those people in the Old Testament? What about natural disasters, why doesn’t God prevent them?
OK, I admit that these are difficult questions, but not unanswerable. It would take our studying into the origins of evil, the role of Satan, and some understanding of the fall of humanity and the wickedness that prevails throughout the world. We’ve talked about these in the past and will take up the subject, once again, later this fall.
But we must remember that the Bible doesn’t just present the justice of God in dealing with wickedness and sin. This is where texts like Romans 8:38-39 offset those preconceived ideas about God and begin to give us perspective on the character of God.
Paul says, “I am convinced.” He knows the Old Testament inside out, after all he was a Pharisee, and those controversial verses don’t come as a surprise to him. He knows all about the honest portrayal of God by the Old Testament Biblical writers. Yet, he is convinced that nothing can separate him from the love of God.
He is convinced that neither “death nor life” can break the bond with God. For Christians the afterlife holds no fear. We know that death is not the end of our lives. We have hope, assurance, and security that life on this planet isn’t just going through the motions nor meaningless. Remember that saying from a few years back, “you live then you die.” No, the basis of Christianity is that not only do we get to live now but our light isn’t extinguished with death.
Listen, say two men work in the same plant and on the same day at the same hour they both die. One man is a Christian and one isn’t. Now the Christian has a fifty/fifty chance of eternal life. If there is no God and he has lived his life as a Christian he still hasn’t lived in vain. He has lived a moral, good life, and even if there is no God he has lost nothing. If there is a God, however, wow, what an amazing adventure he is going to be on!
The second man has no fifty/fifty chance. If there is no God he simply dies, but if there is a God then things might get a bit dicey. Paul is 100% sure there is a God and that God loves Him because he has experienced the presence of Jesus Christ within his life.
Also, no demons can keep Paul from trusting and believing in the wonders of God’s love. They might try to discourage him, try to get him to believe God is a monster, or that God doesn’t exist or love him. But it is all foolishness to Paul because he is convinced otherwise. In fact, no powers, now or in the future can block his trust and love for the God that first loved him. In verse 39 he sums up everything he is thinking by simply stating that nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Here is the takeaway for us. You and I might drift from God or become discouraged and give up, but God never drifts away from us or gives up on us. No matter what we have done, what we have been, what we have said, or the actions we’ve carried out will ever keep God from loving us. Want proof? Paul looked to Jesus who gave everything including His life that we might have life and life more abundantly.
Take some time to sit down and contemplate verses 38-39. I know that when you’ve just lost a loved one, or you’ve just been through divorce, or diagnosed with an illness it is difficult to believe God loves you. But He does and if you could see the end from the beginning you would know that.
During the Second World War a young Jewish boy, who was a prisoner in one of the death camps, was hung for stealing a little food. As the other prisoners watched one man muttered just loud enough to be heard by the people around him, “where is God, where is God in all this?” No one answered as they were probably thinking the same thing. Then an old Rabbi responded, “God, He’s up there” pointing to the gallows.
Remember, God never promises to keep us from the storms of life but He does promise to walk through them with us. This is where the muscle called our faith is built up and expanded. Life is not easy, and many of you know that better than I do, but the wonder of faith is that we don’t walk life alone. We have a majestic partner who walks with us and loves us unconditionally. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all say with Paul, “I am convinced,” God loves us unconditionally? I know it in my heart.