We’re never separated from God’s loveJan 27, 2023 10:14AM ● By Pastor John Vieths
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble, or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?’” - Romans 8:35
In order to open our eyes and help us see God’s love, Paul gives us two lists. We might call the first one “Love’s Skeptics.”
So often our personal experience seems to contradict the idea that God loves us. Because if God really loves us, why are our lives full of trouble and hardship?
In Paul’s Greek, “trouble” literally has the sense of “pressure,” like the weight of our responsibilities crushing us.
“Hardship” puts us in a narrow place, a tight spot. The walls are closing in. The options are running out. We are cornered and trapped.
Why, if he loves me, does God let me be persecuted? How come I can’t just fit in and be accepted by everyone else? Why should they be making jokes because I try to live my faith? Why should my job, my reputation, my safety be threatened because of what I believe?
If I am God’s child and he loves me, then why should I be struggling to make ends meet? Doesn’t God promise our daily bread? Has he stopped loving me?
No. In fact, Romans 8:37 says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Notice that Paul doesn’t deny these things happen to Christians. But in all these things, we are still the conquerors. God still loves us just the same. Faith learns to trust that God’s promises are more real and more certain than all we see or experience, because nothing stands between us and Christ’s love.
In support of that assertion, Paul brings his second list. Here are the leading candidates for getting between us and God’s love for us. Every one of them is destined to fail.
“I am convinced that neither death nor life…”
Death can’t do it. Although death was at one time the penalty for sin that cut us off from God, now it is the gateway to life. It actually brings us into the direct presence of God and his love, not farther away.
Life can’t do it, either. Many people fear the things that life can throw at us. But the worst that life has to offer is just temporary, and God promises to love us through it all.
“Neither angels nor demons…”
Spiritual powers, whether good or evil, cannot do it. Their powers greatly exceed our own but they are no match for God and his love.
“Neither the present nor the future nor any powers…”
Nothing in time can do it. We may not like the times in which we live. We may fear the future with all its unknowns even more. But present or future, from now until the day Jesus returns, we will be the objects of God’s love, every minute, every moment until time comes to an end.
“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.”
Build a space probe and travel to the farthest edges of the universe. Dig a hole until you come out in China. God’s love for you is bigger and more powerful than anything else that exists.
Nourish your faith in between Sundays by reading more of John Vieths’ writings at BitsOfBread.org.