Separated from the love of Christ? Impossible!

Separated from the love of Christ?  Impossible!  That’s the grand reassurance of the text for Sunday morning’s sermon, Romans 8:33-36.  Romans 8 follows Romans 7.  Both chapters deal with the realities of the Christian life.  There are times when we, with Paul, are almost overwhelmed with the conflict within us, times when we are ready to cry out, “Wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24).

That wretchedness, however, is not where we belong in the Christian life.  It shouldn’t be our normal state.  Following Romans chapter 7, Paul writes chapter 8, beginning with that resounding, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Our text, near the end of the chapter, assures you of the confidence that you can have and should have.
Here Paul returns to the idea of condemnation (God’s just verdict against us because of our sins), and affirms, again through a rhetorical question, that no one can condemn you because God justifies.  The many things Paul has written in this letter about justification come to terse, pointed expression in that statement.
If God has united you to Christ, nothing can separate you from his love.  Paul lists things which conceivably could do that.  Don’t you just love it when you are facing a difficult situation and someone who has clearly not walked a parallel path, say chirpily, “I know just how you feel”!  Paul knows what he is writing about as he makes his list in Romans 8:35.  Notice how many of the words he uses there are also found in his description of his own trials in 2 Corinthians 1121-29.  Paul is realistic about the suffering, disappointments, challenges, and temptations you face.
However, what assures you that none of these can separate you from the love of Christ (which is Christ’s love for you, not first of all, yours for him) is what the Lord has done for you.  Christ Jesus is the one who died.  Inseparable from his death is his triumphant resurrection.  That leads to his sitting at the right hand of the Father, the position of authority and power (thus the Old Testament Scripture reading of Psalm 110).  Right now, as you face all that happens to you this week, Jesus is interceding for you.
That is where you find the assurance to live in hope this week, and the strength to move forward in faithful service, even in the face of suffering.

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
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