May 16, 2020 By V. Gonzales
Romans 8: 38-39
- The Book of Romans
- Authored by the Apostle Paul
- Audience: Followers of Jesus; Originally written to Christians in Rome.
- Written about A.D 57
- Setting: Paul wrote from Corinth regarding his pending visit to Rome via Jerusalem
“The Christians in Rome had not yet met Paul, and he was excited about meeting them soon. But before he went to see them, he sent them this letter, perhaps his most straightforward theological essay in print. Starting with the sinfulness of humans and the wrath of God against sin, he moves on to tell of God’s grace in salvation, which comes to us through God-given faith and not our works. He then tells of the future glory of the believer and gives some principles for God-centered living. This is the book to read and study to understand what God has given us freely through Christ. Whether you’ve not yet read through the whole Bible or you’ve studied it for years, the basics in this book are worth dwelling on. God’s gift of salvation is extraordinary, and so is the new life we have begun.” (REF: New Women’s Devotional Bible (NIV))
For Context read Romans 8 in its entirety: Focus on Verses 38-39
- 10 things that cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord:
- “For I am convinced that neither (1) death, nor (2) life, nor (3) angels, nor (4) principalities, nor (5) things present, nor (6) things to come, nor (7) powers, 39 nor (8) height, nor (9) depth, nor any (10) other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The point of this whole passage is your/my/our security. God wants his people to experience deep, unshakeable confidence that they are secure in his love.
And the reason He, (God) through Paul, must stress these truths is because in real life we can be so insecure. To use the words of verse 36, “We are being put to death all day long [not like the NIV says, “we face death all day long”], we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” This is always true for Christians some places in the world (but in today’s climate coming to a town near you, if it has not already arrived). And when it is true, we can feel very insecure and separated from God. Just like we may feel now in these uncertain times. This will also be true for you throughout your lifetime. It is a fact. Things will happen that make you feel that you are separated from God. God, in His infinite wisdom, knows our struggles. He used Paul, a mighty man of God, to communicate His desire and plan for us: His children.
Let’s look at His promises more carefully: These scriptures should strengthen our heart, clear our mind and feed our soul. God’s powerful and encouraging Word should give “God’s elect” great security: “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? (Romans 8:33) This is not the security of everybody. He is very specific. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, he has chosen you, you are his, you belong to Him. Romans 8:28 says that ALL things turn to good if you love him and are called according to his purpose. This is his purpose – everlasting security. Romans 8:29 says that you are foreknown, that is, recognized with favor, loved before time, you are predestined to be like Christ, and you are called from death to life, and you are justified once for all – counted righteous in Christ – and you are glorified. (*sigh*) These promises of inseparability are God’s declaration that he will save his people and nothing can destroy them. You have these promises if you will have Jesus as your Lord and Savior and Treasure.
Neither Death nor Life Can Separate Us from the Love of God. To live is Christ…to die is gain. (Phil. 1:21)
Romans 8:38: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God.” Death is the first in the list. Why? Two reasons, at least: Because Paul has just said in verse 36, “We are being put to death all day long.” And because death separates us from so much of what we know on earth: our families, our diversions, our friends and everything that is familiar and tangible to us. This is an important passage as we are facing the unprecedented fear of of death.
Death is the most urgent threat to an unbeliever and yet it is inescapable no matter how man tries to tell us that they will keep us safe. It is not withing their power to do so. But God says, “Death cannot separate us from God’s love.” In fact, death does just the opposite. It increases nearness and fellowship with Christ. Philippians 1:23, “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Death means “to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). It is not separation; it’s homecoming. The inevitability of death should excite a believer’s heart. The pangs of physical death should be cast out by the great expectation and promise to be with the Lord for eternity. Our intended final destination is to be with Him.
But it is separation from family and friends and the body and all earth’s pleasures that keep us chained and in bondage to the world. That is why we may not see or understand the love of God. God loves us before death and he loves us in the act of dying and he loves us after death. Remember Jesus experienced it for us and He, as the Son of the Most High was not spared, but He took it all upon Himself for us. All of our losses here are part of being loved by God. Hard as it feels, Paul wants us to know and experience the fact that death – and all it takes from us – is not a lapse in the love of God. Easy to say and hard to understand, but then our ways are not God’s ways. Remember dear brothers and sisters, He will do whatever it takes to get us to draw nearer to Him. Seems cruel at times, but that is His mercy. Surrender it all and you will find that His comfort and promise will fill the void of doubt, pain and suffering.
When Christ died he secured his own people in death and in life. Nothing in life and nothing in death will undo the triumph he achieved in the cross and the resurrection. So Paul says in Romans 14:9, “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” His lordship over life and death is invincible. So life and death cannot separate us from the love of God. What a relief. I am truly free to live and die knowing that He is with me always and in everything.
No Cosmic, Supernatural Powers Can Separate Us from the Love of God
In the next passage, Romans 8:38, is “angels and principalities.” And then a few words later he mentions “powers.” Neither angels nor principalities nor powers will separate us from the love of God. These three names are probably designations of angelic or demonic beings since “angels” are mentioned first in the group. So Paul’s point is: there are no cosmic, supernatural powers that can separate us from the love of God. These powers were decisively defeated at the cross. Colossians 2:15 “[God] disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him [or “in it” = the cross].” When Christ rose, Ephesians 1:21 says, he was exalted “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion.” So, even though these evil powers are on the loose, they cannot do ultimate harm to God’s elect.
Nothing in Time and Space Can Separate Us from the Love of God
In Roman 8:38-39, are Paul’s way of saying that nothing in time and space can separate us from the love of God. The first is time: “. . . nor things present, nor things to come . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God.” And then space: “nor height, nor depth . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God.” You can’t get more specific than this: Paul makes sure to cover every possible base. God knows us so well that He, through Paul, made sure to communicate to us (His children) there are no loop holes. The word NOTHING should be read NO-THING.
Nothing in the Present nor Future Can Separate Us from the Love of God
This scripture should help us understand that though we have moments of trial and suffering in the present the future will hold its own challenges. We wonder if we will be able to stand it. Or we might fear that the present is so bad that we will not make it to any future. Totally true to the times we are living in. Don’t beat yourself up if you are battling with these thoughts. God knows. that is why He inspired Paul to write these Words for the Christians in Rome and for us today. Paul’s response: It will never be so bad now or any time in the future that you or I will be separated from the love of God. Circumstances will never surprise God so that he must go back on this promise. The future is absolutely His and He knows it and runs it. Trust Him. If he says it won’t separate us, it won’t. That is called faith.
Nothing High nor Low Can Separate Us from the Love of God
Romans 8:39, covers our fear (worry) that there may be a lurking in some distant place far, far away, some menacing power that would surprise us and destroy our faith and separate us from the love of God. Paul says, No. No matter how high you go up or how deep you go down, you will never find a power that can nullify God’s power and promise. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:7-8) . Nothing in highest heaven and nothing in deepest hell can separate us from the love of Christ.
No Created Thing Can Separate Us from the Love of God
At the end of verse 39, Paul adds one all-inclusive encouragement to make sure he hasn’t missed anything: “. . . [no] other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That covers everything that is not God. No thing and no person…not even ourselves or anything, in all the universe, can separate us from the love of God. What a sure promise we have from our Father God. He is and will always be our Protector, Savior, Husband, Lover of our soul, Friend – our everything.
“Those whom he justified he glorified” – that is the radical assurance of the elect. Just to clarify, the assurance is not that you can forsake the faith and live in sin and go to heaven. The promise is: God keeps his elect from final apostasy and unbelief. The new covenant promise for all God’s people is this: “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me” (Jeremiah 32:40). There may be many stumblings and wanderings, but if you are His, you will be brought back: trust Him, surrender to Him, and know that He is good and faithful to complete everything He starts.
So nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate God’s elect from him. The result is massive security for merciful service to God in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit through many sufferings.
Be encouraged and rest assured as His elect, His child, His chosen one and draw near to Him: now more than ever hold tight to the Truth of His Word.
God Bless you all. Love in Christ, V. Gonzales