Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Romans 8:35)
Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, sin has caused all of us to experience separation, both vertically from God and horizontally from each other, as well as separation from the created world around us. But Jesus came to end that separation; when we are in Christ, by grace through faith, we are un-separated, because there is nothing in the universe that can come between our Lord and His people.
In our passage today, Paul was writing to a church that was about to undergo intense persecution, and he offered his readers cosmic comfort, reminding them that they had been un-separated from their Savior, regardless of what storms they encountered:
- Not trouble . . .
- Not hardship . . .
- Not persecution . . .
- Not famine . . .
- Not nakedness . . .
- Not danger or sword could separate them from the love of Christ.
Let’s take a moment to marinate on the verse immediately following this list of the difficulties that were facing God’s people, a verse which Paul had quoted from Psalm 44:22 — “As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are condemned as sheep to be slaughtered'” (Romans 8:35).
The Bible makes it crystal clear that Christians are not exempted from trials, hardships, even physical death. Yet far too many in the church today hear nothing about this biblical truth; instead they hear messages about receiving a crown, but not carrying a cross. And so when the storm winds begin to blow, they tend to fall away from their faith, grumbling that “I didn’t sigh up for this!” But, beloved, this is exactly what we signed up for. Jesus said, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. . . . In this world you will have trouble” (John 15:20, 16:33). Storms, suffering, and sorrow have been promised to use, but so has being un-separated.
How have you been dealing with your struggles lately? How have the storm winds blowing through your life been affecting you? How are you bearing up? Remember, regardless of what you are up against, you are not facing it alone. Your Savior is right there with you, every step of the way.
Let me close with a word of encouragement from the great Bible commentator Matthew Henry:
Christ has his book of life, a register, and roll of all who shall inherit eternal life . . . Christ will not blot the names of his chosen and faithful ones out of this book of life . . . Christ will produce this book of life, and confess the names of the faithful who stand there, before God, and all the angels, he will do this as their Judge, when the books shall be opened; he will do this as their captain and head, leading them with him triumphantly to heaven, presenting them to the Father.”
If I may presume to add to Mr. Henry’s thought, I would simply say that Christ will not only present us to God as our captain, but as our Bridegroom. We are not only un-separated from our Savior, but we will be united to Him in His love for all eternity. How glorious!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!