‘‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’’ Rom. 8:35
Additional reading: Jn. 15:9; 2Cor. 5:14; 1Jn. 3:16
As God is loving, so is Jesus. In Romans Chapter Eight verse Seventeen, Paul said that we are all partakers of the inheritance in Christ; as we share in His pains here on earth, so shall we share in His glory in the new world to come: ‘‘And if we are children, we have a right to a part in the heritage; a part in the things of God, together with Christ; so that if we have a part in his pain, we will in the same way have a part in his glory.’’ (BBE). But he did not fail to point out in the next verse that our sufferings here today are nothing compared to the future glory, which we shall be sharing with Christ: ‘‘I am of the opinion that there is no comparison between the pain of this present time and the glory which we will see in the future.’’
We must pause at this point to ask this question: why would Jesus Christ be so desirous to share His heavenly glory and His entire heritage with mere man? The answer is so simple when viewed against the backdrop of Paul’s presentation in this chapter. Jesus is compelled by His love for us to share His entire glory and heritage with man. From verse 28 down to 30, it is clear that God from time had a redemptive purpose — a plan to make man to conform to the image — glory — of His dear Son. And this divine plan remains God’s driving force, which He must complete in time to come.
It is therefore, not surprising that the next two verses say this: ‘‘In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things?’’ In view of what things? In view of God’s divine purpose — plan to conform man to the image of Christ; a plan, which God Himself cannot alter, no one, then, can alter it! As it is said, If God is for us — working in support of His plan and purpose for mankind, who is it that can be against it? Now, take a close note of Paul’s exclamation: ‘‘Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things?’’ You see, if God did not withhold His only Son from death on account of man, what then or who can stop God from completing His cycle of redemptive plan for man? All these should be seen against the backdrop of God’s love as manifest in Christ.
Imbedded in these verses (31 – 39) are some fundamental questions that should give assurance or spiritual security to God’s children that what God has promised, He shall fulfil no matter the cost:
1. ‘‘What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us?’’
2. ‘‘Who will accuse those whom God has chosen? God has approved of them. ‘’
3. ‘‘Who will condemn them? Christ has died, and more importantly, he was brought back to life. Christ has the highest position in heaven. Christ also intercedes for us.’’
4. ‘‘What will separate us from the love Christ has for us?
5. ‘‘Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love?’’ (GW).
The issue is very simple: if God did not withhold His own Son but allowed Him to suffer death on the cross; what will He not do for you or anyone? We all must be encouraged through this assurance of spiritual security as put forward by Paul.
What I will emphasize is in verse 35, which says: ‘‘Who shall separate [chorizo: to place room between, i.e. part; reflexive to go away: – depart, put asunder, separate] us from the love [agape: love, i.e. affection or benevolence] of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’’ Let me put it plainly: No one or anything can come between God and His children because of His irreversible affection towards them. ‘‘Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sin listed in Scripture…’’ (MSG).
The love of Christ towards man is so strong that the Bible makes it clear that not even the worst sin listed in Scripture can separate us from the love of Christ as this is the very reason He came. And as Paul rounded up this matter, I also say that, ‘‘I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love with Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or anything else in creation.’’ (Vv. 38 – 39 GW).
Meditation: So there is just nothing on earth and in heaven that can come between God and I!
Prayer: As the love of Christ ties me eternally to You, let that same love see me through all challenges I might face in this life.
Question: (1) Make a list of 5 items that may separate you from the love of Christ. (2) Why do you think so strongly that at least one of these items may separate you from the love of Christ?