No Separation From God
Romans 8: 38-39:
"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 creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Paul presents many penetrating questions questions in this chapter of Romans.
One of these questions is: " What shall we then say to these things?" (8: 31)
And verse 35 provides the answer: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"
His voice is triumphant as he gave these indomitable assuring words:
"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (8:37)
Some might think that there is no more to say because Paul has taken us to the very highest summit.
This masterful sentence is the appropriate conclusion for these magnificent words,
and no other words were needed.
But Paul had even more to add.
He assures us that sin cannot cut us off from Christ, for it is Christ who died to save us from our sins.
He also tells us that sufferings cannot separate us from His love, for His love for us was manifest
by His sufferings.
So, after the last question, Paul gives a direct statement with a glorious conclusion.
" 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 creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Romans 8: 38-39)
These amazing words are the climax of Paul's presentation that the gospel is
" the power of God unto salvation."
The results of justification are said profoundly.
These words stimulate our soul and our mind, and are totally effective, and absolutely uplifting.
This is a chapter that every Christian should burn into his memory.
" For I am persuaded..."
Paul is telling us of his persuasion of the love of God.
This persuasion is a certainty.
There is no doubt about it.
He also expresses this when he writes in 2 Timothy 1: 12: " I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him."
There are those who might accuse Paul of being presumptuous.
There is a world of difference between assurance and presumption.
Presumption is hope without any foundation.
Assurance is founded on the Word of God without and the work of the Spirit within.
Presumption is a lie of Satan.
Assurance is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Presumption makes a person proud, hard-hearted, arrogant and flippant.
Assurance causes a person to bow in humility.
Assurance makes a person tender-hearted and causes that person to want to be
more like his Master.
Presumption is an intoxicating poison.
Presumption talks about crosses.
Assurance carries them.
Paul is absolutely sure, but not because of anything in himself, but because of Jesus.
John 10: 27-29 assures us: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any
man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them
out of my Father's hand."
Jesus says that we "shall never perish."
To "perish" means to be destroyed, and to be punished eternally in hell
Jesus says, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish."
"And they shall never perish." (Greek:kai ou me? apolo?ntai)
"Never" is an emphatic double negative with second aorist middle which is to say that
"never" means never.
When Jesus says, "never", that settles it!
"I give unto them eternal life." (John 10:28)
What we have as Christians is rich and priceless.
It is life.
It is eternal life.
It is a life in heaven forever.
God who is life, and the God of all eternity, has authorized Christ
to give eternal life, as seen in John 17:2: "As thou hast given him power over all flesh,
that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."
The God of eternity, has authorized Christ to give eternal life. (John 17:2)
It is not I will give it, but I do give it.
It is a present gift, and we already have it.
And He gives the assurance of it, the pledge and earnest of it, the first-fruits and foretaste of it.
It is spiritual life in which eternal life has already begun.
Then Paul proclaims: "That neither death nor life" can separate us from Christ.
Death cannot separate us!
Death cannot separate us from the love of God.
It is in death that we, as believers, will be "absent form the body, and be present with the Lord."
(2 Corinthians 5:9)
When we are present with the Lord, 1 John 3:2 says, " Beloved, now are we the sons of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear,
we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. "
Then, we will be like Jesus, and we will have eternal fellowship with Him who has taken
the sting out of death and has robbed the grave of its victory.
Death is God's messenger to take us home to be with Jesus..
Death dissolves the earthly house of this tabernacle and provides us with our eternal house
not made with hands eternal in the heavens.
Life cannot separate us!
Life cannot separate us from the love of God.
We face many dangers and difficulties as we pass through this life.
So, nothing in this life and nothing in death can separate us from God's love.
Therefore, nothing in the way we live or northing in the way we die can separate us
form the love of God.
Whether we live or whether we die, we are in God's love and in God's grip.
He will never let us go.
We have security that is eternal.
" Nor angels" also tell us that angels cannot separate us from God's love.
There are those who would restrict this to good angels, and some to evil angels.
The evil angels of Satan attempt to tempt us to sin, and then, accuse us for it.
They stir up heresies and persecutions, in order to destroy the Christian, but they cannot succeed
because every Christian is held securely in God's hand, and He that is in us is greater than he
who is in the world.
"Nor principalities, nor powers" cannot separate us from God's love.
This is true of angelic powers, and it is true of evil powers.
If all the principalities through all of creation could work to use their power against
Christians; it would not succeed in separating us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
The Jews divided the angels of heaven into various ranks and orders, and we can see traces
of that custom often in the Scriptures.
And there is also reason to suppose that they made such a division with reference
to evil angels, regarding Satan as their leader, and other evil spirits, divided into various ranks,
as subordinate to him. (See Matthew 25:41; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 2:15)
Such a division there is probably indicated here.
So, the meaning is, that no order of evil angels, however powerful, clever, or numerous,
would be able to separate us from the love of God.
"Nor things present, nor things to come" can separate us from the love of God.
Then Paul says that nothing in our present experience, nor anything to come, can separate us
from God's love in Christ.
That should assure us and encourage us.
Nothing in time, present or future, can separate us from God's love.
Isn't that amazing!
He accepts us like we are and will never desert us.
He loves us and will never stop loving us.
There is not now and never will be a time when we can be separated from God's love in Christ
"Nor Height Nor Depth" can separate us from God's love.
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 God's love.
And as to depth not even the lowest circumstances of depression, poverty, contempt,
and want; the very lowest rank of life can separate us from God's love.
There is nowhere we can go where anyone or anything can take our eternal salvation from us.
By using these three pairs Paul could not be any plainer or clearer.
Eternal life is eternal.
No one or nothing, at any time or place, can ever separate us from God's love.
Just like we can't cease being the children of our earthly parents once we are born,
so too, we can't cease being children of God once we are born again.
We can no more be unborn spiritually than we can go back and be unborn physically.
When we trust in Christ for salvation, by His grace at that very moment we become members
of God's heavenly family forever.
" Nor any other creature" can separate us from God's love.
The RSV says: " nor anything else in all creation".
The word that Paul uses for "other" has the meaning of "different".
One commentator says: " Suppose that by some wild flight of the imagination there emerged
another and different world, we would still be safe.
We would still be held securely in the hands and in the love of God."
So after such a long enumeration, Paul includes this phrase to include anything in all of
God's creation -- adding that nothing, absolutely nothing shall separate us from the love of God.
Nothing will ever be able to separate us.
Separation from the presence of God is the last and most dreaded evil that men could face,
but Paul had no fears.
" I am certain."
Paul had no fear and no doubt.
Someone has said that you could think of every terrifying thing that this or any other world
Nothing is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus,
who is Lord of every terror and Master of every world.
So, we have absolutely nothing to fear.
Our comfort, our consolation, our blessed assurance of salvation does not depend upon
anything in us, but rather upon the power and steadfastness of God's almighty love and grace.
The love of God comes to us entirely through Jesus Christ.
Someone has said that "The name of Jesus breaks like a wave on the shore of human
understanding with each successive argument until at last in this verse it is heard once more
like the voice of many waters with the sound of final triumph."
These things may shut us out from human love.
They may hurt and annoy us in a thousand ways and shoot us with arrows dipped in poisonous hatred,
but there is one thing they cannot do.
They cannot ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
In The Hollow of His Hand
"In the hollow of His hand He will hide me
When doubt and sin draw near,
Though no earthly friend may walk beside me,
I rest secure from fear.
I know whate'er betide me,
His hand will safely guide me,
His love will ever hide me
In the hollow of His hand.
In the hollow of His hand He will hide me
When the storm is on the deep,
And I know whatever may betide me,
His vigil He will keep.
In the hollow of His hand He will hide me
When the storms of life sweep by,
To the harbor safe He will guide me,
Where His blessed islands lie."
-- Words by Florence Jones Hadley, 1914
Sermon prepared by Dr. Harold L. White