Romans 8:35-39. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“For I am sure.”
There’s really not much in this life that we can be sure of is there? Once we get past the laws of nature like gravity, or entropy, or motion, or the sun rising in the east, we aren’t left with much that we can bet on.
In Ecclesiastes the Teacher lists some things we can be sure of: it rains when clouds are full; trees that fall in the woods are left there; and everyone dies.
Ben Franklin’s list of things he was sure of was death and taxes.
What are you positive of? What would you bet your life on? What are you 100% sure is real? Is it God’s love? Is it that you will never, ever, ever be without God’s love for you?
You might be thinking, “well there must be something that proves God has stopped loving me.” But there’s not. Look at Paul’s two lists in Romans 8:35-39. There’s the list of earthly things – tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword. So even your worst day can’t take God’s love away. And having God’s love does not mean there won’t be really bad days. Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword happen. For Paul they happened all the time. A really hard day (or life) is not the proof that God has stopped loving you.
Roma. It’s a beautiful story of loving the “unlovely.” Of love that risks everything to go into the ocean after us. Of familial love that becomes a sure thing. Also it should have won the Oscar.
Paul’s second list is his cosmic list – death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth. These are the things beyond the physical. It’s a pretty far out list, literally.
death and life – besides God, the greatest force there is, death itself, cannot keep us from God’s love. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, ever since our co-resurrection with Christ.
angels – good or bad, none of them can keep you from God’s love.
rulers – according to Ephesians there is some sort of realm of “principalities” out there in the universe. But don’t worry, not even these cosmic forces can keep you from God’s love.
things present of things to come – the present sufferings you are enduring and the future trial that awaits you, wherever you are in time, nothing can keep God’s love from holding you fast.
powers – your guess is as good as mine. Maybe Paul means the gods of the Greeks. Or maybe they’re just anything that opposes God. Either way, you’re still safe in God’s love.
height nor depth – wherever you are in space, or wherever you are in the earth, God’s love is still there.
There’s nothing you can do, nowhere you can go, no dimension of time or space, no trial or tribulation, no cosmic or earthly kingdom, no dying or living, nothing in all creation, that can change the fact that God loves you because he loves you. He loves you for who you are, not for what you do or don’t do. He can never love you more and never love you less.
But how? How does God never ever stop loving us? Because he loves Christ. And this is the love of God IN Christ Jesus our Lord.
“To live is Christ” means there’s no way God cannot love you. The Father loves the Son. And he loves all that are in the Son. Forever.
In your greatest failure, in your greatest sorrow, this is when you must fight to embrace the most real thing in all of the universe – God’s great love for Christ and therefore his great love for you. We don’t make resolutions and try to do better next time. We throw ourselves on the love of God. We trust that just as God will never stop loving Jesus, he will never stop loving us. Of this we can be sure.