Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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.
(Romans 8:35-39 ESV)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
- Separate: Divide; divorce. We are indeed in covenant with Christ. In a day when covenants are thrown around with cheap terms like “irreconcilable differences” we can sometimes wonder if something or someone might divorce us from our covenant with Christ.
- Us: Notice that the us is a specific us. To whom is he referring when he says “us”? 8:29-30 Christians. This is not a passage for non-believers. This is not a passage for the United States after a national tragedy. This is a passage for believers who have been foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified by God.
Paul acknowledges the rhetorical question that is obviously answered, “no one; nothing,” by listing out the painful possibilities that might plague the minds and hearts of doubting Christians. Look at this list:
- Tribulation: Outward affliction
- Distress: Inward affliction
- Persecution: Affliction because of Christ (Matthew 5:10-12)
- Famine: Possibly related to persecution; Lack of daily sustenance…
- Nakedness: Need of clothes; Poverty; Vulnerability…
- Danger: Peril; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27
- Sword: Matthew 10:34 Jesus came to bring a sword. He came for this.
- While we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered: Psalm 44 (Turn); Hebrews 11:36-38. This is normative for God’s people. Suffering is normal. Comfort is abnormal. Life is filled with pain and suffering. You and I are not the first to feel pain and ask God serious questions about it. “It is no new thing for the Lord to permit his saints to be undeservedly exposed to the cruelty of the ungodly.” -Calvin.
- We are more than conquerers through Christ: What does it mean to be more than a conqueror? It means that you are not merely surviving calamity and pain, but that you are thriving, in God, because of calamity and pain. Philippians 1:29; Not only do we thrive because of calamity and pain, but we are looking toward a reward that is greater than this life, making us ultimate conquerers because no matter what happens in this life, we win. To live is Christ, to die is gain. To live is to win, to die is to win. To suffer is to win. No calamity, no power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand.