God’s Unfathomable Love: Romans 8:35-39
“35) Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36) Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37) But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39) 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.” Romans 8:35-39
It is a common tendency to look at our external circumstances and use them as a basis of evaluating God’s love for us. If things are going well and blessings abound, we think, “God must certainly love me.” But when trails come our way or we face hardship or adversity, we begin to blame God and question His love for us.
But we forget that we live in a fallen world marred by sin. The God of this world is also a sadistic thief and according to John 10:10, he comes only to steal, kill and destroy. He is our enemy and can bring persecution, affliction and hardship our way.
With this in mind, go back and revisit Paul’s list of trials and hardship in Romans 8:35-36. As you read, think of the hardship of the persecuted Christians of Paul’s day endured with affliction and martyrdom. They had all of this negative stuff in Paul’s list leveled against them on a daily basis. But did that mean God did not love them? Let that sink in!
Satan loves to get us in a mind game of looking at our externals and constantly questioning God’s love for us. It’s not fair. Satan screwed up this world. Our sin from giving into his temptations left deep wounds and scars in our life. Accidents and diseases happen in this fallen world. Our mortal bodies wear out. Relationship are strained by selfish and egocentric motives. People exploit other people in tragic ways. And then when hardship comes our way, Satan laughs and points the blame at God.
If you buy into this mental game of looking at externals, you will never resolve Gods unquestionable love for you. Look at verses 38-39; Paul laid out all of the negatives Satan and this world could hurl against him and concluded that nothing “can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus or Lord.”
But hold on; there is more to the story. The early Christians knew how to thrive inwardly despite externals. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 captures this spiritual secret; 16) Therefore we do not lose heart, but though the outward man is decaying, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” Inner worship and communion with Christ is not based on externals. We can be “in the Spirit” during our darkest hours. In fact, negative externals can literally catapult us deeper into precious communion with Christ when we embrace this spiritual secret.
Let me give a personal testimonial. I have just passed through the most difficult year of my life. Approximately one year ago, I started dealing with unimaginable knee pain. Shortly, I lost my mobility and ability to walk. I have lived with constant pain 24/7. I have also endured double knee replacements and repair in one knee from a very bizarre injury that sliced a tendon and my quadricep muscle length way so that part of each was tracking under my knee cap and the rest on top. Every step felt like a knife. I share this not to get sympathy, but to drive home another point.
I have just gone through the absolute best year of life in my walk with God. I have learned so much about worship, walking in the spirit, new depths of prayer, inner communion with Jesus and joy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been pretty vocal about expressing pain and discomfort to those close to me. God does not expect us to deny reality. But inwardly I’ve had inexpressible glory times with God. I have learned that my spirit can thrive even when my flesh is suffering.
Some of my friends have asked, “Terry, don’t you have the faith to be healed?” I chuckle inwardly and reply, “God has healed me in ways you could never know.” In fact, had God healed me at the onset of this trial, I would have missed my wilderness journey with God.
I share this story because it captures what Paul was saying to the suffering Christians of his day. Your spirit can thrive in the face of trials that are painful to your flesh. I know that my journey has been small compared to what the early Christians endured. I can say the same for many of my brothers and sisters in the persecuted church today.
Paul’s message in this text is clear; “Absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!” The greater the external trials, the deeper can be the glory of your inner communion with God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
God’s Unfathomable Love: Romans 8:35-39