Romans 8:35 (New International Version)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Today, we’re going to begin the final climb to the summit of Romans 8 and on to the climax of a most amazing chapter.
It begins with two rhetorical questions. The underlying statement is actually ‘There is no-one who can separate us from the love of Christ.’ Notice however, that the phrase isn’t ‘our love of Christ’, but it is Christ’s love for us. Our love for anyone or anything is prone to failure and is inherently fickle. You only have to look at the latest statistics for marriage and for fidelity. People are falling in and out of love at the drop of a hat. We are now in a position where it is easier to get a divorce than it is to get a passport.
That is not in any way like God’s love for us. God is love and His love is intrinsically tied to every other attribute of divinity. He keeps His covenants. There isn’t a single promise He has made that He will ever break. His love is tied to that kind of commitment. Regardless of our sin or unrighteousness, His love will never fail. It stands righteously above all of our wrongdoings and we are held in a grip that will never let us go. The apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:19 states that God’s love surpasses knowledge. We can never plumb its depth nor even begin to scale its height and the rest of this chapter eloquently tries to do the impossible by describing this love.
Before we move on to that, let us briefly look at some of the ‘difficulties’ that come our way that could in our own eyes jeopardise God’s grip of love on our lives.
Firstly, Paul uses the word ‘trouble’ but what does this actually entail? The King James Version of the Bible uses the word ‘tribulation’ but this is equally difficult to understand its meaning. The original Greek word can be translated as ‘a pressing together’ or just ‘pressure’. If anyone today is put under any kind of pressure, the first thing we say is that “we’re stressed”. Well, it doesn’t matter how much stress any of us could ever get, nor does it matter how much pressure we’re under, God’s love will always be the same. We can’t be separated from that love by being pressured by the circumstances of life.
Mental health is a big issue today and every workplace is seemingly tasked with improving the mental health of its workers. Somehow, this current generation is less able to cope with pressure than any previous generation. We are not to ignore that, but we can take strength in the knowledge that God’s love never fails. Let’s be sensitive to the issues and bring comfort through God’s Word.