“38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor
life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things
to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall
be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Coronavirus is causing people to be separated or
isolated from others, including loved ones. When we go through difficult times
such as this, we may wonder if we are separated from God’s love. “After all, if
God loves me during the Coronavirus, why do I feel so unloved?” Throughout
church history, Christians have asked, “How can a loving God allow so much
pain and suffering in the world?” Some believers have turned away from God
because they could not reconcile the thought of a God of love permitting so
much heartache in the world.
When we are discouraged or feeling hopeless, we may ask, “Who
shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (8:35a). Please understand that
the question is not, “Who shall separate us from our love for Christ?”
If you are like me, my love for Christ can fluctuate between hot and cold. My
salvation is not dependent upon my love for Christ. Thankfully, my salvation is
dependent upon Christ’s love for me. Again, Paul is asking, “Who shall
separate us from the love of Christ?” (8:35a). He answers this question in verses
He begins with, “Shall tribulation, or distress, or
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (8:35b). Hardships like “tribulation, or distress,
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” tempt us to
think that since God allows these things, He must not love us. But there is no
contradiction between God’s love for us and our suffering. Because God loves
us, He allows difficulties, like the Coronavirus, in our lives to make us more
like Jesus. God uses the good and the bad so we can “be conformed to the
image of His Son” (Romans 8:28-29). We can either allow the Coronavirus to
push us closer to the Lord and His love, or we can let it push us farther away
For example, even though we cannot get together with as many
people right now due to social distancing, we can still draw near to the Lord. God
is giving us a great opportunity to get to know Him better at this time by
simplifying our lives. If you have a family, this is also a great time to lead
your family in the worship of God and the study and application of His Word
Paul then writes, “Yet in all these things we are more
than conquerors through Him who loved us” (8:37). In the midst of all these
hardships, we are “more than conquerors” in the eyes of God through Jesus
“who loved us.” Jesus’ love enables us to rise above the pain, the problems,
and the perplexities so we can live a life that magnifies Him. In Christ,
you are God’s superhero! Take a moment and look in the mirror and say to
yourself, “I am God’s superhero.” How does it feel to hear this? Do you
believe it!?! It is true whether you believe it or not.
If you are still not convinced that God loves you during
this difficult time, Paul drives his point home in the last two verses. “38 For I am
persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor
powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor
depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love
of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:38-39).
First of all, Paul says “I am persuaded.” The word “persuaded” (pepeismai) means to be convinced, and is in the perfect tense. The Greek perfect tense refers to a completed action in the past which has continuing results to the present. Paul is saying he was convinced of God’s love in the past and he continues to be just as convinced of His love in the present. Can this be said of us? Or have we let circumstances or feelings diminish God’s love for us? Let’s break these two verses down now to see how impossible it is for a believer in Jesus Christ to be separated from God’s love.
– “Neither death nor life” can separate us from God’s love. The two things people fear the most right now – living or dying – cannot separate a Christian from God’s love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Life and death are no threat to our eternal life. Whether we live or die, Jesus will never let go of us (John 10:28-29). His grip on us is far greater than the Coronavirus. We have security in Christ Jesus that is a matter of life and death.
– “Nor angels nor principalities nor powers” are able to separate us from God’s love in Christ. Supernatural beings like God’s angels and Satan’s demons are far stronger than us, but even they cannot separate us from God’s love.
– “Nor things present nor things to come” in the future are able to remove God’s love from us. Nothing in our present experience, including the coronavirus and social distancing, can separate us from God’s love in Christ. Nor can anything in our future (no matter how frequent, intense, or painful) remove us from being the recipients of God’s love. Wow! He accepts me like I am and will never abandon me. He loves me and will never stop loving me.
– “Nor height nor depth” are capable of separating us from God’s love in Jesus. If we were to travel to the “highest” or “lowest” points in the universe, or anywhere in between, we would never arrive at a place where we could escape Christ’s love for us. No matter how “high” or “low” we may go, we cannot stop being loved by God through Jesus. Just as we can never cease being the children of our earthly parents once we are born, so we cannot cease being children of God once we are born into His family. The moment we believe in Christ alone for His gift of everlasting life, at that very moment, we become members of God‘s family forever (John 1:12; 3:16; 6:37).
– “Nor any other created thing” shall be able to stop God from loving us. Are you a created being? Yes, of course you are! So am I. There is nothing we can do to separate ourselves from God’s love in Christ. No amount of our sin, shame, or pride can keep God’s love away from us. He loves us in the deepest and darkest places of our hearts and He loves us in the highest and closest moments of our relationship with Him. Nothing that we or others might say, think, or do, can separate us from God’s love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Paul answers comprehensively and emphatically, “NO ONE AND NOTHING!!!” You may ask, “Why then, do I feel so alone and unloved?” While it is true that God is for us and always loves us, we don’t feel close to Him when we don’t pursue Him. When we listen to our feelings instead of God’s truth, we get into trouble.
Over the years, the Lord has taught me an important truth
about overcoming discouragement: “the
truth is just a choice away.” We feel what we focus upon. If I focus on
depressing thoughts, I feel depressed. If I focus on unloving thoughts, I feel
unloved. Take time today to reflect on these incredible truths about God’s love
for you. Read these verses out loud. Draw or find a picture that represents
these truths so you can download them into the limbic system of your brain.
Replace the lies that say God could never love you with the truth that says no
one and nothing can separate you from God’s love in Christ.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for revealing just how much you love me! No one and nothing, including the Coronavirus and social distancing, can separate me from Your love for me which is in Christ Jesus my Lord. Help me to stop trying to earn love from You or others. Please calm and quiet my soul in Your loving presence. Use me as a channel of Your love to those who are feeling alone and unloved. And for anyone who does not know for sure that they have everlasting life and a home in heaven, please persuade them right now that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life Who guarantees a future resurrection and never ending life to all who believe in Him (John 11:25-26). In Jesus’ name. Amen.