Romans 8:38-39

“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.”

Paul now answers the question he raised in verse 35: “Can anything separate us from the love of God?”  Paul answers with, “For I am sure.”  It is an expression of absolute certainty.  He knows without a doubt that nothing can ever sever God’s chosen people from his love.

He makes another list of things in life that can possibly separate us from God’s love.  Death or anything in life?  No!  Angels in heaven or rulers on the earth?  No!  Things that may happen to us today or things that may happen to us tomorrow?  No!  Any power in heaven or on earth?  No!  Anything above us or anything below?  No!  Anything in all creation?  No!

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from God’s love for us who know Jesus Christ our Lord.  He is God’s gift of eternal grace.

Do you know him today?  Are you certain of the power of his love that will always allow you to be one with your Creator?

That’s the primary reason Jesus came to us.

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Romans 8:37

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

What “things” is Paul referring to?  The things listed in verse 35: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword.  These things are often what people fear the most in life.  

Yet Paul is saying that even if these things should come to us, we are “more than conquerors.”  The two words in the Greek in this sentence are “huper” (more than, the word from which we get “hyper”) and “nike” (the word “conqueror” that is used for the Nike brand).  We don’t just overcome these things through God’s love.  We “hyper” overcome them.  They are minute in comparison to God’s love.

That’s Paul’s message.  Therefore, the question for all of us is this one: Which rules our lives today?  Our problems or God’s power?  Our difficulties or God’s promises?

Are you more than a conqueror with your life’s problems?  Or a victim to your circumstances?

I know what Paul’s answer was.  Yours?

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Romans 8:36

“As it is written, ‘For your sake, we are being killed all day long.  We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’”

Paul quotes from Psalm 44:22.  He makes it clear that evil things happen to Christians.  Following Jesus does not make us immune from suffering or pain.  We live in broken human bodies, in a broken world, alongside and with broken people  Even being killed for our faith is a possibility, as thousands around the globe can attest even today.

Yet the love of God gives us the strength to face whatever we may need to face.  His love clearly captures this reality: God ultimately wins.  Eventually he conquers all evil.  All hurts and pains will one day be washed away.  We need fear nothing.  God’s love has been revealed to us in Jesus Christ.  Nothing can ever separate us from it.

Do you know this profound love today?  It is God’s antidote for overcoming everything in this world and anything we should ever experience in it.

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Romans 8:35

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution , or famine, or nakedness, or sword?”

It’s a powerful question for all of us to consider: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”  Behind all the evil in the world is a person, the evil one, who tries to use circumstances to separate us from God’s love.  These circumstances include tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness or the fear of the sword—death itself.

But here is the key to remember today: God is stronger than all his wiles.  His love, mostly proven in the incarnation and the cross, prove the Father’s love.  It is the strongest force in the world.  Nothing can beat it.  Nothing can overpower it.  In the end, God’s love allows all his people to persevere and conquer.

Do you know the love of the Father through Jesus today?  Do you know the extent to which he’d go to win you to himself?  If you doubt it, remember the incarnation and the cross.  Both prove how much God loves us.  Through this love, we are never separated from him.  

Therefore, nothing can overpower us today—or any day!

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Romans 8:34

“Who is to condemn?  Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

In the previous verse we saw how the reality of justification by faith should silence all charges brought against God’s elect.  But God has also given other certainties that will silence all condemnation in a believer’s heart.  What are they?

Jesus’ crucifixion.  Why would Jesus suffer such an horrific, hideous death to cease all condemnation in us and then continue to condemn us?  It makes no sense.

Jesus’ resurrection.  Why would the Father raise his Son from the dead to give us assurance for the forgiveness of our sins so we will never have to experience any more condemnation and then continue to condemn us for our sins?  It makes no sense.

Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of God.  Why would he be crucified, raised and ascended to eternal glory only beside the Father only then to be in an eternal position of condemnation of God’s elect?  That makes no sense.

Jesus is regularly interceding for us.  Why would Jesus regularly be making requests before the Father on our behalf, to bless us, then, with other words, be condemning us?  That makes no sense.

If you hear voices of condemnation, they are either from your conscience, other people or the evil one.  But it’s not God’s voice.  He is FOR you (verse 31).  He loves you.  He wants to encourage you, not condemn you.  There is NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

That’s Paul’s point in this very important verse.  Please make every attempt to understand it—especially if you are feeling under condemnation for any reason.

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Romans 8:33

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies.”

Paul is asking here a very significant question.  If God has justified us, forgiven us, not based on our works but solely on his eternal grace, how can there by any charge leveled against God’s people who have received this grace?

It’s impossible!  For a charge to be leveled, there must be some breakage of God’s law.  But the righteous requirements of the law, something we humans can never achieve, have been totally met in Jesus’ perfect life, death and resurrection.  Therefore, if we are in him and he is in us, all those charges against us because we’ve broken God’s law have been met sufficiently in Jesus.

Being justified by faith solves all charges against God’s people.  Therefore, today, if you are in Christ and feel condemnation, it’s not from God!  God has declared us right before the world.  He can’t condemn you while also justifying you.  The divine Judge has spoken.

And I choose to believe him who created me and silence all charges against me.

What about you?

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Romans 8:32

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

Think about the Father’s willingness to give us his own Son.  Jesus, the second person of the Godhead, came at the Father’s behest to earth to die on the cross to forgive us all for our sins.  Could there be a greater love?

If the Father was willing to go to this extreme to show his love for us, how will he not also care for all our other needs?  That’s like saying an earthly Daddy will give his life for his kids but not be wiling to buy them an ice cream cone.  That makes no sense!

Whatever your need today, trust the Father’s heart.  Believe his grace is sufficient.  Believe he cares for you.  Believe he has not forsaken you.  Believe he will meet your every need.  He has promised to do so.

After all, he did not spare his own Son.  He gave him up on the cross for all.  How will he not also graciously meet all our needs?

It’a a promise from the Father’s heart.  Believe it!

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Romans 8:31

“What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Paul now concludes his thought on the previous chapters (1-8).  What can a believer say to all these realities that Paul has outlined?  One thing can for sure be concluded: God is for us.  God is for us!  We should all state this promised reality over and over and over again.  God is for us!  He is NOT against us.  He is on our side.  He wants the best for us.  He loves us.  He is working all things together for our good and his glory.  It is true!

And if he is for us, who really can be against us?  What seems to be against us really isn’t.  God is using it for our good and his glory (verse 28).  He takes a cross and turns it into a resurrection.  He takes our brokenness and restores it twofold.  

Now make it personal.  God is for ME.  Put your name in the “Me" part.  God is for ____________ (your name).

It’s true!  It really is!  Believe it today.

Praise God!  He is FOR me, not AGAINST me!

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Romans 8:30

“And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

This is a continuation of an order of salvation that began in verse 29.  It’s an order that cannot be broken.  Each part is connected to the next one.  It begins with those who are predestined by God.  He chose us long before we chose him.  We are called to faith by the gospel.  We are the ones God foreknew before creation ever began.

We who are called are then justified.  This is an effectual calling within a person’s heart that brings a dead heart into new life.  God remembers our sins no more.  We who are justified are then glorified, one day receiving our resurrection bodies when Jesus returns.  Interestingly, Paul talks as if this glorification has already happened.  Indeed, in God’s mind, it already has.

Do you know this order of salvation?  Understanding each step should drive you deeper into the heart of our amazing God.  Your salvation is not an accident, but an important part of God’s plan for you and his world.

To him be the glory forever and ever!

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Romans 8:29

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

How can we be assured that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose (vs 28)?  The answer is given here.  We see that God has always been doing good in our lives, even before we met Jesus.  

In fact, even before creation, he knew us by name.  Even our conversion to Christ was predestined, predetermined and known by the Father in heaven before it ever happened.  What incredible love this shows!

Therefore, on the day of Jesus’ Second Coming, we will experience for certain that we are the firstborn among many other brothers and sisters in Christ.  Its reality is an absolute fact!

Since we “know” these things as absolute truth, the God who knows us intimately in covenant love, will accomplish his major will in all our lives: conforming us to the image of his Son.  God’s will is not health, wealth or prosperity.  His will is that we look, live, act like, follow and obey the One who lives in us.

That part of God’s will will be accomplished for all who believe.

To him alone and always belongs all the glory.

 

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Romans 8:28

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

We who follow Jesus are absolutely certain about the following realities.  We know:

1   If we love God and…

2   We are called according to his purpose, obeying his will, working for his kingdom on earth that…

3   All things—not some things, or a few things, or even most things—but ALL things…

4   God is weaving together for our good.

We may not presently see it.  Bu he is.  The “good” may be much more about our holiness than our happiness.  It may be much more about forming our character than our comfort.  It may be more about about our sanctification than our success.  It may be more about eliminating pride than giving possessions and power.

And when we trust him in all our pain, believing he’s working it together for good, he is glorified.

We may not see the good until eternity.  But we will see it.  He is doing it.  This is a certainty.

He is therefore worthy of our praise!

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Romans 8:27

“And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

In our painful times, when we are uncertain for what or how to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us.  As the Spirit searches our hearts and prays to the Father, we can rest assured God’s answer to the Spirit’s requests on our behalf is always in the affirmative.  For the Spirit always prays in accordance with God’s perfect will.

Therefore, whatever the outcome of our painful times, we can have perfect peace in the outcome.  We can rest in what happens.  We know that God’s will is being done.  We know it’s a perfect will for us.

His answer is for our good and his glory.  Therefore, we live in peace.

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Romans 8:26

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings  too deep for words.”

We are weak as we live in this broken creation.  When evil surrounds us, we often don’t know what God is doing.  We don’t know how we should pray.

But we shouldn’t despair.  The Spirit who lives in us intercedes for us.  He prays to the Father for his perfect will in our lives.  We don’t know what God is doing.  But the Spirit assures us the Father’s will is being perfectly lived out.

And as the Spirit intercedes for us, he too is groaning.  He feels our pain.  He feels the brokenness of creation.  He suffers with us as he prays to the Father.  He is our close friend.  He is our close companion.  As we groan, he groans with us.  His groanings are too deep for words.  But the Father knows what he is saying.  

He prays with us.  He assures us that God’s will is being done.  He is working our pain for our good and his glory.

That is the essence of our faith.

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Romans 8:25

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Hope is an important part of salvation.  But hope cannot yet see what is going to happen.  Therefore, it must wait with expectant patience.

No one likes to wait on the Lord.  But it’s an important part of living in any relationship—especially with the Lord.  Patience proves faith.  When a promise has been made, we trust explicitly the one who gave the promise because he is faithful.

Therefore we hope with patience.  His promises are secure.  He will come back again.  He said so.  He will redeem our bodies.  He said so.  Creation will be restored to original intent.  He said so.

As we wait, nevertheless, we cry out, “Maranatha!  Come soon, Lord Jesus!

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Romans 8:24

“For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees?”

Salvation occurs with a great hope.  It believes that Jesus not only died for our sins and we are presently forgiven.  But it also lives in expectant hope that one day these bodies will be redeemed and never suffer again.  This hope for new, resurrected bodies is an important part of salvation.

It’s not yet seen.  If we could see it, there’s no reason for hope being a part of salvation.  No one can hope for something he can see.

But though we can’t see it, it is a real hope.  Heaven is for real.  New, redeemed, resurrected bodies that never hurt again is real.  It’s a promise from Jesus.  And therein lies our hope.

Maranatha!  Come soon, Lord Jesus!

 

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Romans 8:23

“And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Creation groans for the day of redemption.  So do God’s people.  They long for the saving work of Jesus to restore God’s world to original intent.  

Believers in Jesus already have the first fruits of the Holy Spirit living in us.  We know of God’s personal presence and the fruit of his life in us (Galatians 5:22-23).  

Yet we still eagerly await the day when our adoption is complete—the day when we receive our resurrection bodies.  On that day, our bodies will never decay or be diseased any more.  There will never be another shed tear.  Our bodies will be totally redeemed.

Oh how we look forward to that day!

Maranatha!  Come soon, Lord Jesus!

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Romans 8:22

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”

Once again, Paul makes creation personalized.  He gives it feelings.  It “groans” like a woman giving birth to a child.  It too longs for the day when God will restore everything to its original intent.  This groaning has existed from the moment of Adam’s sin to this present moment.

But the day of salvation has already begun.  It will happen.  One day, when Jesus returns, all will be made whole again.  There will be a new heaven and a new earth.  Creation will be restored to God’s intent.

What a glorious day that will be!  It is something for which the children of God should look forward.

Maranatha!  Come soon, Lord Jesus!

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Romans 8:20-21

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

When the first man, Adam, sinned in Genesis 3, every part of God’s created world was subjected to “futility.”  It didn’t operate as God originally intended.  There is now pain in childbirth.  There are thorns and thistles thwarting work.  Fear entered the world.  Nature experienced upheavals.  Murder occurred.  Pride exalted humanity above God.  In the words of Ecclesiastes, “All is vanity.”  Original creation in Genesis 1-2 did not have these problems.

One day, all in creation, and creation itself, will be set free from its bondage and corruption.  All God’s children will be free to be as he originally intended.  It will happen when Jesus returns.

Come soon, Lord Jesus!

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Romans 8:19

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”

Paul makes creation personal in this verse.  Even it longs for the glory of the new creation and God’s future glory that he will one day bring forth  through Jesus.

Creation, like human bodies, and our relationship with God, and our relationships with one another, were all broken at the Fall in Genesis 3.  Every part of God’s once perfect order is not operating as God intended.  Everything and everyone knows this truth.  Therefore, all long, “groan," look forward to the day when sin is eradicated and the perfect order of Genesis 1-2, God’s perfect, heavenly kingdom is restored on earth.

Therefore, let us all continue to  pray, “Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Let us all work now in every way possible to bring eternal, heavenly, kingdom realities to this earth.  Finally, let us all look forward to the day of Jesus return, as sons of God, and the redemption of his world.

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Romans 8:18

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

How should we handle tough times?  How should we respond to difficult times of suffering?

Paul tells us what he does.  When they happen (not if, but when—they happen to us all!), Paul says he contemplates heaven.  He thinks about eternity.  He imagines the perfect majesty, glory and perfection of the world to come.  He realizes how wonderful his new resurrection body will be.  He understands that the saints of the ages will be with him.  He also rejoices when he thinks about being the eternal presence of Jesus.

When all these thoughts (and I’m sure many others) flooded Paul’s souls, his present suffering were minute in comparison to the glory awaiting him in eternity.  That’s what allowed him to suffer with joy.

Is this your perspective when you face suffering and loss?  It is what Paul would say to us all.

Let us all keep our eyes on heaven, our ultimate destination.

 

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