Sunday March 22, 2020
God Will Never Self-Distance
We are living in crazy times…uncertain times…and even a little scary times. We are learning new words that we never thought would become part of our vocabulary: self-distancing, shelter-in-place…coronavirus. Yet here we are separate from one another, battling for toilet paper, and waiting for the world to come to an end. These are hard times.
When the apostle Paul wrote the above verses, he had been facing grueling times because he was a Christian. He had suffered rejection from friends, persecution from the government, and had spent many months of his life in an isolated prison cell. But regardless of what people or the circumstances of life did to him, Paul had discovered a vital truth: nothing that occurs in this life has the power to separate a believer from the love of God. Just look at the list of items that, if possible, could affect our eternal life.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom.8:38-39)
The first two are death and life. Death means the separation of the soul from the body. So, even in death, as our soul is separated from our body, it (the soul) will not be separated from God. Life encompasses our entire lifetime. As long as we live, we will not be separated.
Angels and principalities are indicative of the spiritual realm. Angels are both good and bad. The angels that have fallen are Satan’s workers, and they are out to get us. We are tempted and tried by all kinds of evil. Principalities are those that have to do with rule. Being associated in the same phrase as angels, this probably refers to the rule of Satan and his host in the heavenlies. So, the spiritual realm does not have the power to separate us.
Powers refer to anything that has power residing in it by virtue of its nature. It includes the power of the rich, the rulers, forces or anything that could exert a control over us. There is nothing presently happening in our lives, no matter what – sickness, sin, broken lives or other bad things – that can destroy us. Since God knows the future, being omniscient, He knows that nothing that will come our way can separate us.
Height and depth refer to great things and deeply dark situations…no matter what circumstances come our way, nothing can separate us.
Finally, Paul, after naming all these things that can and probably will come into our lives, can’t think of anything else. There isn’t any state of being, there isn’t any being, there isn’t any condition now or in the future, there isn’t any power, supernatural or natural, there isn’t anything all the way up to the edge of the universe, there isn’t anything all the way down to the edge of the universe and just in case anything else isn’t covered, “Nor any other created thing,” and that includes everything but God. There isn’t anything, anywhere that can separate us from the love of Christ. (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of created)
Back in John 17 Jesus was praying that high priestly prayer and He said to the Father, “Father, I want You to love them as You love Me.” What did He mean by that? The same thing we’ve been saying, “Love them with an everlasting love.” And that’s precisely the love that the Father has for us.
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. (Deut.7:9)
The bottom line is this. God has given us eternal life, and we will never perish. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God, which is our salvation. It is because of His love for us, not our love for Him. He holds onto us, not we onto Him. He loves us so much, much more than we can understand. 1 John 4 says,
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 Jn.4:10)
If God ‘saved’ us so surely, then what can undo it? What mortal trial can we face that God will not intervene in it? The unconditional covenant love of God is unfailing, encouraging, inspirational, and sure. What trial can you face that is bigger than this? God will never self-distance Himself from those whose trust is in Him!