No One Can Separate Us From God’s Love

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I.     Is God for us?

A.     Sometimes we may think that a certain influential person would be willing to help us anytime, but then in a time of need we discover this is not true.

B.     Our assurance of God’s love, on the other hand, is dependent upon our relationship with Him and knowledge of His faithfulness. If we are strangers to Him, then we will resent any interference in our lives. But if He is our Father, we will desire to be close to Him. If God seems to be far away, it is because we have moved away from Him and not vice versa. We must remain in fellowship with God in order to realize His faithfulness to us.

C.     In Romans 8:31 the phrase “If God be for us” is poorly translated. The particle ei does not provide for a supposition, but for a certainty. It is not a condition, but a conclusion. It should really read, “since God is for us.” Because it is certain that God is for us, the conclusion follows, “who can be against us?”

II.     Can God forsake us?

A.     All believers can trust their omnipotent, omniscient, and all–loving God to never forsake them. This is the Apostle Paul’s whole argument in Romans 8:31-38. God, who demonstrated His love, knowledge, and power so definitively and tangibly, can also certainly be trusted to keep us victorious and safe from all dangers, external and internal. Furthermore, He who was willing to give the ultimate gift of His Son to die for us, “how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Will He allow anything or anyone to snatch us from His hands (John 10:28-29) after paying so dear a price?

B.     Just as we did not earn salvation, we cannot earn His protection. This is indicated by the two verbs used in Romans 8:32: parédōken, “he delivered him up,” and charísetai, “freely give.” The verb charísetai is the future indicative of charízomai, “to give as a matter of favor, not as deserved payment for what one has done.” God’s preserving believers is based on our justification. But we must always remember that grace also causes us to receive a new nature so that we can perform works of righteousness. Thus there are two parallel truths at work here:

1 .     God imputes righteousness to us despite the fact that we do not have any good works of our own (Rom. 4:6; Titus 3:5).

2.     God remakes us “unto good works” (1 Cor. 1:30: 2 Cor. 9:10; Eph. 2:10; 5:9; 1 John 3:7, 10). The verb charísetai, being in the future indicative, means that He “will freely give” us what we need each time an occasion arises. We do not receive all His grace at once. When He brings us into a situation or permits us to be in one, He gives the necessary grace and gifts to face it.

III.     God guarantees grace to us.

A.     Paul lists some of the situations where God’s grace is sufficient. One such circumstance is being falsely accused of not being genuine believers. The only opinion we should value in this regard is that of God himself, for “It is God that justifieth” (Rom. 8:33).

B.     Tribulation from outside circumstances (thlípsis), inner depression (stenochōría translated “distress”), persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and the sword shall never separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35).

C.     Paul ends with a superlative list of obstacles: “ … neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature … ” (Rom. 8:38).

He assures us that none of these extremes will ever be able to separate us from the “love of God” which is rooted in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39)

Spiros Zodhiates, Sermon Starters : Volumes 1-4 (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1998, c1998, c1994, c1993).

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