In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
In his great testimony Paul declared, “I am convinced . . . “– I ask you the same question I ask myself: Does your life show that you are convinced of this too? What difference would it make in your life if you knew beyond a shadow of doubt that God loved you? Would your decisions and priorities change if you were certain of His love? How might your relationships be affected if this one question were forever answered in your heart? I believe we can answer this human dilemma, but it takes a change in perspective, and Paul has shown us the way.
When we look at life from our earthly perspective, life and death, angels and demons, the present and the future (and the past), powers and time and distance seem to be unsurmountable forces that indeed come between us and God. Even if we’re not pondering the great matters of life, the demands of our own existence threaten us. When we consider the daily struggles of life: bills and sickness, work and rebellious kids, marriage issues, difficult relationships, tragedies and disappointments, and every other thing that overwhelms us, our hope and confidence in God’s love is shaken. It’s easy to look at God as our loving Father when it has been a good day and things fell into place pretty well, but when storms come with lightning and thunder, God seems far away and His love is hidden by the driving rain. It is a very human reaction to living in this fallen world where the consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin was separation from God.
But Paul is teaching us to look at life from a higher perspective, from the vantage point of eternity where the things that intimidate and overwhelm us in this life have no impact whatsoever. This is the hope that believers have, that nothing, but nothing can separate us from God’s love. When we take an eternal perspective of life, we recognize that only that which touches eternity is of any value. 1 John 2:25 is our sure hope: “This is what He promised us – even eternal life.” Paul tells us that the things that seem so huge to us like life and death and those that are ethereal and terrifying like angels and demons and the vastness of the highest heavens and the deepest depths pose no obstacle to God’s love. He reminds us that nothing in all creation has the power to affect God’s love because everything in all of creation is under the power and authority of the Creator. And the Creator loves you, therefore His love is as sure as His name and His character.
On what does Paul base this conviction? Look at the very last portion of this passage: “. . .the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment and culmination of God’s love for humanity. No greater love exists than the love of God that was shown on the cross. No other love is as enduring and unshakable and indestructible as the love of God in the face of Jesus. No other love transcends life and death than the love of Him who raised the dead to life. What love is this that commands both angels and demons to do His bidding? Only the love of God. Only a love that reached down from the throne above the heavens to the depths of man’s sinful hearts to build a bridge for the created to have access to the Creator.
I invite you to personalize this passage with the struggles in your own life. What can separate me from God’s love? Neither bankruptcy nor foreclosure, neither stupid decisions nor upheavals in life, neither struggles in marriage, struggles in finances, car accidents, infertility, depression nor anxiety can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Let the reality of this promise envelope your life and your struggles.
If you are a Christian, you are inseparably joined to Christ Jesus and forever bound up in this amazing love of God. This is your eternal promise, and it is a promise that can sustain you in this life through all the things that threaten to undo you. Every trial and struggle and difficulty must submit to God’s love. Everything in all of creation bows before the God of Creation, the God who has sworn His love for you with the blood of His one and only Son.
Holy Father, when I struggle through my days, remind me to walk in the knowledge of eternity and the promise of your eternal love. Amen.