“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 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.” (Romans 8:35 – 39)
Love soothes the troubled soul as the promise of its presence calms the fear of its absence. As persecution and suffering abound, Paul directs our attention to how we should think and what should be said about the Christian life in the trenches. Though we are pressured from all sides, Paul applies the Gospel salve of God’s presence and work for us to our struggles and concerns. If He is for us, who can be against us? (v. 31) If God didn’t spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us, how will He not give us all things? (v. 32) Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? God who justifies. (v. 33) Who is he who condemns? The crucified, risen, and reigning Christ who intercedes for us. (v. 34)
This is the wonderful context which verses 35 – 39 springboard from in giving us more glorious comfort as they press home the everlasting, inseparable love of God towards us in Christ. In these verses, Paul has shifted from teaching us the legal aspects of our salvation to focus on the relational. In these verses, he teaches us about his great conclusion that challenges every influence that might thwart our confidence of our present preservation and future glory.
There are many challenges, many influences, and much opposition that may try to thwart the Christian’s assurance. There is much that would try to convince us that somehow, some way, we can be separated from Christ’s love. However, we know that such opposition, that suffering, as we take up our cross daily, isn’t unexpected. (Philippians 1:29, 2 Timothy 3:12) Paul experienced such personally. Yet, when Paul was whipped, and beaten, and imprisoned, and stoned, did Christ ever love Paul less? No, Christ’s love and work in Paul were evident all the more. Remember when Paul was brought before Nero no one stood with him, all forsook him. However, the Lord was with him and strengthened him. (2 Timothy 4:16-17)
Beloved, though there be temptation on many occasions to think otherwise – not one challenge, not one influence, not one face of opposition has, nor can, nor will ever be able to separate us from the wonderful love of Christ! Hear this today and believe it. Whatever our enemies rob us of, they can’t rob us of Christ’s love. They could even go so far as to kill us for our faith, as sheep to slaughter (v. 36, Psalm 44:22), but even death can’t separate us from His boundless love. Praise the Lord!
Further, be strengthened and encouraged by Paul’s words in verse 37 – “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” We are more than conquerors by virtue of Christ’s victory. God is present with everyone who suffers for His name. We are more than conquerors even if this suffering leads to death for, having been raised with Christ, we will live forever.