Who Will Separate Us From The Love Of Christ?

Many Christians love the last portion of Romans 8, starting with verse 28. There just seem to be so many quotables in that passage.

Verse 28 itself is one of the all-time favorites, though too many people misquote it or misunderstand it. At one point the prevailing notion was, “All things work for good for people who love God.”

What the verse actually says is, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” In other words, there might be some “not very good things” that God causes to work together for good to those called by Him, chosen by Him, committed to Him, obedient to Him.

I think of big things like a death in the family, a disability, an unrighteous or unfair action by those in authority or anyone else who has power over us. Like Joseph experienced when his brothers ganged up on him and sold him into slavery. His conclusion: “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good to bring about this present result . . .” (Gen. 50:20)

Back to Romans 8, other verses in the passage may also be misunderstood or taken out of context, but most people familiar with this section of scripture get the intent of verse 35 and following, when Paul writes, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

The magnificent crescendo of the passage is that no, none of that, or any thing else we might imagine can divide us from the love of God in Christ:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (vv 38-39)

It’s a wonderful, comforting conclusion. Heartwarming.

But the Bible is much more than a book of feel-good statements or tee shirt slogans or greeting card text. The Bible is intended to reveal who God is and how He has, does, and will work throughout history.

Paul was convinced that a comprehensive NOTHING could stand between us and God’s love, and believers today give a hearty amen!

Suddenly, amid the routine of life—the fairly comfortable and trouble free routine of life most of us in western society seem to enjoy—true disruption inserts itself in the form of a pandemic. People are dying, losing their jobs. People have succumbed to fear, maybe even a little panic. Maybe some frustration, and now boredom.

But have we been separated from the love of Christ?

I’ve heard some oft repeated phrases meant to encourage people, things like, we’re all in this together or this will all pass or we’ve got this. One phrase I haven’t heard is, this virus can’t separate you from God’s love in Christ Jesus.

That’s really the only thing that matters. We might be in distress because a loved one is on a ventilator. We might be in peril because of the spate of tornadoes bearing down on our community or the earthquake that jolts the very ground under our feet.

God’s love reaches through all those temporal events. His love reaches past the discouragement or doubt Satan and his forces try to bring to bear on our lives.

Of course, it’s easy to say or read these verses. But putting our faith in God’s love is a lot harder when we can’t see the end of a trial or the good that can come out of it. Yet maybe, just maybe we should be thinking about trials as sign posts of God’s love, saying in essence, This thing is just one more thing that cannot separate you from God’s love.

Why is this hard? Because we are so dependent upon ourselves and our senses. If what we see is financial distress, fear, danger, illness, and death, we can’t see the way God is working all that stuff out for our good. We think of good as healthy, comfortable, at ease, surrounded by those who love us and who we love.

God has a higher standard for good. He tells us in v 29 that He’s working things together to conform us to the image of His Son. His ultimate plan is to fit us for an eternity with Him. That’s a kind of good we may have a hard time imagining.

But here is where faith comes into the equation: God has told us in His word that nothing separates us from His love. Do we believe it? Do we live in light of the love He pours on us or do we live in the fear, the uncertainty, the disappointment of the moment?

If God’s word is only providing heartwarming memes to post on Facebook or Instagram, the reality of His love will not actually be a comfort, I don’t think. But if we use His word to preach the truth to ourselves every day, maybe all through the day, then God’s word will be life changing.

Because the truth is, nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Published in: on April 22, 2020 at 5:14 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for this clear statement. I was taught at a young age to read an entire verse to understand what God was talking about. Romans is so meaty during hard times isn’t it?
    Be strong and courageous in our dear Lord.

    Searching

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I was blessed to have a pastor when I was first out of college who made the Bible come alive, in part because he taught the context of the passages we were studying. And without a doubt, Romans is rich. Hard in some places, too, but wow! Well worth the work to dig out what God is saying through Paul. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

      Becky

      Like

  2. Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “The Bible is intended to reveal who God is and how He has, does, and will work throughout history.”

    Dead right Becky “throughout history” not the future, times have changed. More people are educated today regarding how the world really works but there are many who have no education at all or even any intelligence beyond that of my middle finger.

    I say this after seeing the gun toteing Trump supporters in Michigan threatening the law obviously with the suggestion of violence by wanting an end to the lock down, but I guess you will have seen that on the news, and does this not scare you Becky?

    If that happened in Australia the military would round them up and everyone would have all their weapons confiscated then charged with firearms offences and jailed.

    “God’s love reaches through all those temporal events. His love reaches past the discouragement or doubt Satan and his forces try to bring to bear on our lives.”

    I have an issue about this comment. Is it not extremely far fetched to think that God is good and Satan is evil. I mean these kind of good and evil beliefs originated with the first humans. In the 6th and 4th centuries BCE cultures with Buddhist spiritual influence perceived both good and evil as an antagonistic duality well before Christianity was founded.

    Man now understands far better the problems associated with the mind and the primitive ideology of Satan taking over a human mind and body, but this is now proven by modern medicine to be a mental disease, even though the Catholics have not yet worked it out and provide exorcist classes for priests.

    By the way this Pope Francis has said atheists may go to heaven if they are good on Earth. Not that I would consider this deluded mans ravings about ancient bronze age myth to have any credibility.

    Like

  4. Romans 8 is my favorite chapter of the New Testament. Yes, God’s “good” is conforming us to the mage of Christ, and that can be painful (“painful” as in being crucified with Christ).
    God bless you, Becky.

    Liked by 1 person


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