Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Paul asked a final, climactic question in Romans 8:35: If God has loved us, who can separate us from His love? “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Paul was saying: Before you think you can ever be separated from the love of God, let’s go through a list of everything that might separate you from the love of God. Shall tribulation? That word “tribulation” refers to pressure from the outside. He was talking about financial pressure or pressure from a bad health diagnosis. He was talking about the pressure of a strained family relationship or the pressure you feel at a job. Is any of that going to separate you from God’s love? No.
Will distress separate you from God’s love? The word “distress” in Greek refers to being constricted or confined. Have you ever felt stuck in a situation before? Maybe you are in a difficult job or a difficult marriage. If you are a student, maybe you feel like you are stuck in school and it will never end. If you are a mother with young children, maybe you wonder if these days of diapers and bottles will ever end because you feel stuck. The Bible says no matter how confined and pressed you feel, that does not separate you from the love of God.
Shall tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword separate you from God’s love? Paul was talking about the persecution that would soon be coming to the Christians in Rome. He said in verse 36, “We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” Soon the Roman Christians would be slaughtered. We see that happening right now as Christians are being slaughtered every day because of their faith in Jesus Christ. We are all going to be like that at some point–sheep ready to be slaughtered.
Then in verse 37, Paul said, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” In other words, we will experience the victory in all of these things. How? Paul said, we “conquer through Him.” Paul was not saying that as human beings we have all we need to conquer any and every circumstance–that is the essence of the lie of humanism. The truth is, God is the One who controls our destiny. And when we are in a right relationship with God, through Him we are able to conquer any adversity that comes against us.
Paul closed this remarkable chapter with his own personal testimony: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:38-39).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “More Than Conquerors” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.