Romans chapter 8, the last two verses, and I just hate to let Romans 8 go because this has been arguably the greatest chapter in the entire Bible. But just to let you know this, and we’ll be meeting next week, we have Romans 9 teed up and coming, and it’s going to be big boy football, okay? So, you are going to want to wear your shoulder pads as you come next week.
So, I want to start by reading the last two verses of Romans 8. We are going to look at verses 38 and 39. So, here they are: “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.
Those two verses have to be among the greatest verses in the entire Bible. And they really form the capstone to Romans chapter 8. I mean, this is the pinnacle, this is the height of Mount Everest, and this chapter began with a declaration of no condemnation in verse 1, and it now concludes with a declaration of no separation in verses 38 and 39. So, these two pronouncements are really the bookends around Romans chapter 8, “no condemnation” and “no separation.” And these fit together in that all those whom God declares “no condemnation,” it will never be reversed. It will never be revoked. There will never be a “no separation” from “no condemnation.” So, it is the eternal security of the believer, which means that we are as certain for heaven this moment as if we have already been there because we are declared “no condemnation in Christ Jesus.”
Now, these last two verses are arguably among the most beautiful pieces of literature ever to be written. And so, it’s not just what they say, but how they say it is so appealing to us. It is one sentence and there are ten designations that all begin with the negative either “neither” or the word “nor,” and Paul uses the negative so that it has a certain sharp edge about it. He could have put it in the positive, but he puts it in the negative, so that it has a strong impact as it hits us.
Now, these ten designations, neither death, life, angels, principalities, etc., they lay out this way. There are four pairs of two, four pairs of two, and then there are two single items that are standalone items. So, eight of these match up in pairs of two, four pairs of two. And then there are two single items. And when they match up in two’s, they are intentionally what we would call “contrasting pairs.” They are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. I mean it is almost like saying the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast, and it is just the opposite ends of the continent of North America.
So, he goes “death, life,” I mean those are opposite extremes. “Height, depth,” opposite extremes. “Things present, things to come.” And what he is communicating here is that these are all inclusive, all encompassing, statements that he is making. There is nothing outside of them. So, this covers the span of anything and everything that could possibly remove us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. And it is a powerful argument, and I think we will understand the thrust of the argument and how irrefutable it is as Paul makes his case. But just be looking for these opposite extremes that are at juxtaposition.
So, let’s begin. I’ve got three main headings I want to set before you. I want to break out these two verses, and the first thing that I want you to note is the strong conviction, the strong conviction. And that is at the beginning of verse 38, Paul begins, “For I am convinced.” The word “for” indicates to us it’s a continuation of thought from the previous verses, and it’s really he is now giving us an extended explanation that we are eternally secure in Christ. So, when he says, “I am convinced,” it is a very strong Greek word, the verb there, and it is translated in the ESV, “I am sure.” It’s translated in the King James, “I am persuaded.” And the idea is that “I am absolutely convinced of this.” Paul has deep roots of conviction about this. And this is very important for us to see this because you need to be able to say the very same thing, that “I am convinced.” Strong Christians have strong convictions. Weak Christians have weak convictions.
And we do live in a day and time in which convictions are very rare as it relates to the Bible. And if we are to be strong believers with a strong walk and to have a strong witness and to give a strong testimony, then we’re going to have to have strong convictions. And as I’ve said before we are not just dogmatic about this; we are bull dogmatic about this, okay?
So, where Paul is convinced, you and I must be convinced. So, it’s in a verb tense that may not mean anything to you, but I’m going to tell it to you anyway. It’s what we call the perfect tense. And the idea is Paul is saying, “I have become convinced and I remain convinced.” So, the idea is this isn’t just a mere passing emotion of the moment. This isn’t just a temporal feeling that he has about this. No. Paul is saying, “I have been anchored to this. I remain anchored to this, and I’m not moving from this.”
Now, you will note at the beginning of verse 28 he expresses really similar-type conviction. He goes, “And we know,” and he uses “we” to include all the rest of us. So, this isn’t just that Paul has this. Each and every one of us must have this strong conviction regarding these truths. And they are not hard to understand. They may be hard for some to swallow, but they are not hard to understand. These are very clear, and it all deals with a strong conviction that there will be no separation from the love of God toward me now that I am in Christ. So, this is where this begins; the strong conviction. May God give you strong convictions in the truth. May you have concrete poured into your backbone spiritually, and may you know what it is to stand strong in the truth.
Alright, second, I want you to see the specific details, and I want to begin now to walk through this and peel this back a layer at a time. There is going to be six layers here and there are ten designations, ten details, but they fall out in six layers. And we are just going to peel these back one at a time. So, the first pair is in the middle of verse 38, “For I am convinced that,” and here’s the first pair, “that neither death nor life,” neither death nor life, “shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.”
Now, just understand, this is an all-inclusive statement. There is nothing outside of life or death for you, okay? That covers your present, your future. That covers time. That covers eternity. That covers everything in your life. There is nothing outside of life and death. Now, Paul begins with death because he has just been talking about death. And you will note in verse 36, he says, “For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
And the reference there is martyrdom. The reference there is paying the ultimate price for your testimony and for the confession of your faith in Christ Jesus. And just to remind us all, the church in Rome was not in the buckle of the Bible belt, okay? This isn’t Atlanta or Charlotte or something like that. They are in Rome. That’s where Caesar is. That’s where the marching armies of Rome are. That’s where the Roman senate is. That’s where they will be throwing Christians to the lions in the Roman colosseum. That’s where they will be taking Christians and literally shish kebabing them and using them as human torches to light the emperor’s gardens as he has his evening parties. So, this isn’t something hypothetical.
And in the face of such persecution and tribulation, Paul begins with death and rightly so, and at the beginning of verse 35, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” And at the end of verse 35, he says, “Sword?” And it is a rhetorical question, the answer of which is “No.” Not even the sword can sever us from the love of Christ or from the love of God, which is in Christ.
Now, that is the worst-case scenario that could ever happen to you is for you to have your head severed by a sword because of your testimony of faith in Jesus Christ. Even that will not separate the love of God from you. In fact, it will usher you into the very presence of God and His love for you. Now, just think about this: death separates us from a lot of things. Death separates us from family, right? Death separates us from our body. Our body is put into the grave but our soul and spirit is separated from the body by death. Death separates us from locations here on the earth. Death separates us from business. It separates us from earthly pleasures.
So, death separates us from just about everything except the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. And that is a synonymous expression for our salvation. The love of God which is in Christ Jesus is synonymous with the saving grace of God that is poured out upon us motivated by the love of God. So, let me just give you some cross-references just to drive this nail into the board a little bit deeper.
Psalm 23 verse 4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and then I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” So, even death is not going to circumvent the love of God towards us even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It will only lead into a fuller realization of the love of God.
Let me give you another one, Psalm 116 verse 15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of one of His godly ones.” And it is precious because the death of one of His godly ones brings that godly one into the very presence of God and His loving arms.
Luke 23 verse 42 (not you Luke, but in the Bible, Luke), Luke 23:42, thief on the cross, the thief said, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And what did Jesus say? “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” There was no separation from the love of God in Christ for that thief upon the cross, and he put his foot into the ocean of God’s grace at the last second and there was no separation whatsoever for him.
2 Corinthians 5 verse 8 is another cross-reference we need to be reminded of. “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” I mean, the moment you die you graduate to glory. The moment you die, you close your eyes in death, you open them in the very presence of God, coram Deo, face to face with God. In the beatific vision, you will see God.
And then Philippians 1:21, Paul writes, “For me, to live is Christ and to die,” is what? Is gain. So, even death cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ. Here is a question for our Roman Catholic friends. They teach that suicide by a Christian sends to purgatory or to hell. Not according to the Bible. Even if a believer takes his own life, which is a gross sin against God, but there have been believers who have taken their own life, succumbing to depression, even suicide by a Christian cannot separate that one from the eternal love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
So, death cannot separate us from the love of God, neither can life. He goes “nor life.” That’s the other part of this tandem. And life just covers everything else, I mean, every life experience on this side of death. So, from this we can easily surmise no sin that we could ever commit would ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. No denial of Christ in a weak moment, like Peter who said, “I don’t know the man.” No immorality, like committed by David. No murder, act of murder like committed by David, at least the plot of it, would separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Not even trying to run away from the will of God, like Jonah, could separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. I mean, it is an irrevocable, unbreakable bond that we have with God as He has set His love upon us, and we will talk about it at the end of this study, that is exclusively in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now, if you think about it, life does separate us from a lot of things. Life separates us from parents by their death. Life can separate us in marriage, relationships, business, health, wealth. There are a lot of separations that occur within life, but one separation that will never occur within your life, no matter what you do or how you live is the love that God has for those who are in Christ Jesus. We need to understand. It is an unconditional love that is not caused by anything in us. It is not forfeited by anything in us.
So, that is the first pair. We could stop the study right there. Paul could have stopped the verse right there. I mean what else is there? Life or death. But he is the master teacher, right? And so, he is going to stack up further convincing arguments. So, the second pair, the second pair he now says, “Nor angels nor principalities.” Now, this covers the entire invisible world of spirit beings, small “s.” It covers good angels. That would be the designation “angels.” Those are elect angels, good angels.
But it also covers principalities. Now, principalities refer to the third of the angels that fell with Lucifer when he sinned and became demon spirits, disembodied spirits that are demons, who are opposed to believers, who persecute the church, who try to thwart every advancement of the gospel. Nothing that a demon can do can separate the love of God in Christ from us. So, no deception that a demon can create, no temptation that a demon can incite or send, no false doctrine, no persecution, no pressure that a demon can bring to bear upon our life can ever drive a wedge between the love of God and us.
Now, let me give you the classic example, Job. Job chapter 1 and 2. “There was a day when the sons of men,” referring to angels, Job 1 verse 6, “came before the throne of God, and there came Satan.” And you may ask me, “How is it that Satan has access to the throne of God?” And the answer is, “I don’t know. You don’t know. No one knows.” But there it is in the Bible. And God initiates the conversation. “Have you considered My servant Job? There is no one like him. He is fearless and upright, turning away from evil, blameless.” It’s God that throws Job’s name into the ring. And the devil who is so shrewd answers back and in essence says in so many words, “Well, no wonder he worships You. You’ve been so good to him. You’ve bought his worship. If You pull back your goodness to him, he will not worship You.”
And so, God says, “Alright, have at him.” And you know the story how in one day God took away all of his possessions, God took away his house, God took away…Satan (I say God. God ultimately, but it is Satan given the permission to do this) takes away all seven sons and all three daughters in a moment, just wipes out his family. And the only thing that he leaves is a wife who nags him at this. “Why don’t you just curse God and you can vamoose as well?
And Job says, “The Lord gives. The Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” “In all of this,” Job 1:23, “Job did not sin.” Well, guess what? Satan comes back before the throne of God and says, “If you would just let me touch him and cast greater affliction upon him, he’ll turn his back on you.” And God says, “You may do that.” And God removed the hedge of protection around Job, and the devil was able to inflict boils and all kinds of painful inflictions upon Job. And Job refused to curse God. In all of that, God continued to focus His love upon Job. Job will not turn his back on God, but God will not turn his back on Job, no matter what.
And so, that is the classic example, and we too find ourselves boxing in the same arena. Ephesians 6 verse 12: “For we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities,” the very word here, “and powers and spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places” in Christ Jesus. And so, the point that Paul is making here is not even good angels hypothetically (Galatians 1:8) or non-elect angels that are fallen angels that are demon spirits can cause us to be severed from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
So, he comes now to the third pair. And what is next at the end of verse 38, he says, “Nor things present, nor things to come.” You see how those match up together, those form a pair which are opposite extremes, “things present, nor things to come?” What he is saying is nothing in this life and nothing in the life to come. Nothing today, nothing tomorrow, nothing forever. Nothing in time and nothing in eternity. I mean, that covers the whole gambit. And the reason he doesn’t mention the past is because obviously nothing in the past has separated us from the love of God that in Christ Jesus, the mere fact that we as believers presently are in the love of God.
So, he just begins with the present but extends it into things to come. There is no end to that. That goes next week, next month, next year all the way down to the time of your death, but that doesn’t even stop it. It goes through death into eternity future. There is nothing on the radar screen that will ever be able to separate the love of God from us. No difficulty, no danger, no loss, no traumatic experience, no adversity, no tragedy, no trial, no tribulation, zero, can ever separate the love of God from us that is in Christ Jesus.
If that were not enough, Paul just keeps adding layers to the argument such that there is so much weight being brought to bear upon this, you would almost have to pity someone who ever thinks you could lose your salvation because obviously their eyes are not working, brain cells are not touching. They’re not able to comprehend the clear teaching of Scripture itself.
So, the next layer, which is the fourth layer, is a single detail or a single word. He adds, “nor powers.” Now, there is some discussion as to what “powers” refers to and I’ll admit it is difficult to be absolutely certain. Some feel that it points back to angels and principalities. I think not. I think it would have been clustered there, but it breaks even the rhythm to have a triad. I think this is a standalone, and I think the powers here refer to earthly powers and specifically to government authorities, government powers that are hostile towards a believer’s faith in Jesus Christ.
Let’s remember to whom Paul is writing and where they live. They are in Rome, literally under the thumb and under the shadow of Caesar himself, who can give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to anyone he wants and can throw anyone into the Roman colosseum and have their life taken. I think the powers here refer to Caesar with all of the tyrannical powers that he possessed and exercised.
And what Paul is saying is no matter how heated the persecution that will come against you, and it is surely coming, it hasn’t totally hit the fan yet but it is on the way, the tsunami is on the way. No matter how intense the persecution, even that will not be able to weaken the grip that God has upon you. And no matter how traumatized you will be and no matter how weak you may become, it will not loosen the grip of God’s love upon your life. And even when the world rejects you, God stands with you. And even when the world rises up to take your life, God holds your life and God will preserve you in His love.
This leads now to the next layer, which is the fourth pair, which is really the fifth layer of this. And in verse 39, the sentence continues, you will note. And Paul is like on a run here, and he just continues to add another layer and he says, “Nor height, nor depth.” And again, these are polar opposites and it could be argued that this is a literary device called inclusio, sometimes called “inclusion,” which are like bookends, and it implies not only these extremes, but everything in between. It would be like for us to say, “From New York to Los Angeles.” Well, that implies Topeka, Kansas, and Wichita and St. Louis and everything in between.” That’s the thrust here with this literary device.
And so, when he says “heights,” he is referring to heaven. And when he says “depth,” he is referring to hell. Well, when he says “heights,” number one, that is where God is. Number two, that is where elect angels base. Number three, that is where believers now glorified are. And four, that is where Satan is allowed to bring his accusation against us as the accuser of the brethren. But nothing in heaven, with God, elect angels, glorified believers, or even Satan, can separate us from the love of God.
Well, then Paul wants us to get in the elevator and go all the way down to the basement. And there we are in the depths of hell. And there are already some demons that are consigned to hell already. The rest are loose here upon the earth. There are already damned souls in hell being tormented. Nothing down there can separate us from the love of God, nothing in the heights of heaven or in the depths of hell and nothing in between, on the earth. So, nothing above the earth, nothing on the earth, nothing under the earth can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
And this is almost like saying north, south, east, or west, no matter which way you look and no matter what the terrain or the territory, there is nothing going on that could intervene to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. If that were not enough, Paul now comes to the last thing that he will say, which is the final single. It is the sixth level and it is a standalone. It’s not matched up with another pair, and he just adds “nor any created thing.” That’s kind of like a catch all for anything else that would come into your mind. And it’s also inclusive of you, because I know how some people think. And they think, “Well, God would never remove His love from us, but you could remove yourself from the love of God. You could remove yourself from the grip that God has on your life.” Of course, we know that is impossible. That’s silly talk.
But let’s just play with that for a moment. Could you pull yourself out of the circle of God’s love? Let’s just think about this. The only uncreated being in the universe is God Himself. Everything else is created, right? So, this covers everything. This covers the universe. This covers heaven, hell, earth, planets, people, animals, weather, circumstances, anything and everything, which would include you, last time I looked. That would include you in the universe as a created being.
And this says that no created thing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. The fallacy of that argument implodes in its own logic as Paul even adds this. So, when you put a bow around all ten of these designations, there is nothing that can enter, intervene, to put up a barrier, a firewall, between the love of God and us as those who are believers in Jesus Christ.
Now, we could meet from now on until the Lord comes back going Genesis through Revelation on why you can never lose your salvation, okay? It would be a long study and especially with me doing it. Yeah, I hear that laugh. There are so many verses. It would be easier to prove this than some of the major doctrines in the Bible. We have so many verses at our disposal. But having said that, just these two verses alone is all we need. This is a slam-dunk case for “Once saved, always saved.” It is a slam-dunk case for the eternal security of the believer.
So, this leads us now to the end of verse 39. I don’t want to get this all out on the table. So, we’ve looked at the strong conviction, and we’ve looked at the specific details, right? And now, third, I want you to see the steadfast love because as we come to the end of verse 39 there is still some more meat on the bone here. Notice how he concludes. I’m going to read it and then we will go through it phrase by phrase or word by word, “will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So, I looked up this verb “will be able.” I just thought, I wonder how strong this disability is, I wonder how strong this word is, and I was surprised when I saw it. It comes into the English language as the word “dynamite,” a powerful explosion.
And the idea all of these things put together that we just looked at, yeah, there was a lot of TNT in that, but none of those is a strong enough force to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Now, this word “separate” means “to divide, to sever.” It’s used in the Bible to refer to divorce, the breaking of a relationship. It literally means to place room between two things so that there is now a chasm or a gap between two things. That’s what this word “separate” means.
And he is saying all the things that he just discussed will not create a gap between God and us. I mean we are bound. There is union between us and God and His love, and nothing can separate the love of God toward us. And again, that is synonymous with our salvation.
Now, the next word is “us.” That’s a big word, very important word. Please note it doesn’t say “everybody.” It says “us.” So, the million-dollar question once again is who is the “us” because you’re going to be one of the “us.”
Well, this stream began to flow, I mean we can go all the way back to Romans 1 verse 1, I guess, in a sense. But it is in verse 29. It is those whom He foreknew and those whom He predestined, and in verse 30 the “us” is those whom He called and those whom He justified and those who are already as good as glorified. The “us” in verse 31 is those whom God is for. The “us” in verse 32 is those for whom Christ died. It’s those for whom God gave the Son to die in his place. The “us” in verse 32 are those to whom God gives everything that is needed in the will of God. The “us” in verse 28 is those for whom all things are working together for good. The “us” in verse 28 are those who love God and those who are called according to His purpose. The “us” in verse 33 is those whom God justifies, and the “us” in verse 33 are those who are God’s elect. The “us” in verse 34 are those for whom Christ is presently interceding at the right hand of God the Father and praying for. The “us” in verse 35 is those whom Christ loves.
“Who will separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus?” I think you’re getting the point. The “us” in verse 37 are those whom He loved, pointing back to the cross. We know exactly who the “us” is. It’s those who are believers in Jesus Christ. And the reason they are believers in Jesus Christ is because God chose them and fore-loved them before time began and predestined them, and they will be with the Father glorified in heaven one day at the end of verse 30. These are the ones who will never be separated from the love of God. In fact, God loved them in eternity past. Ephesians 1 verse 4: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love,” now verse 5, “He predestined us according to adoption as sons, according to the kind intention of His will.”
This refers to you and me as believers, and this is not a love that God has for the world. There is a general love that God has for the world, but there is only a saving love that will never be breached and will never be extinguished that God has for His own elect who are in Christ Jesus. So, that’s a major point for us to make in that little two-letter word in English, “us.” So, nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God. And when he says “the love of God” here, I want to make crystal clear we understand this. This is not the general common love that God has for everybody. “He causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” He allows even unbelievers to enjoy marriage, to have children, to be intellectually stimulated when they go to college. He allows even unbelievers as an expression of His general love to appreciate music and architecture and hunting and fishing. And this is all that God is good to all.
But this love is a far more specific narrow love that is exclusively for those for whom He predestined to be adopted into His family. And really, it is covered in the word “foreknew” in verse 29, which just simply means “those whom He previously loved.”
Now, I’ve got to finish this. Notice how this verse continues, “which…” The “which” refers to the love of God. It’s not “whom;” it is “which.” It’s an important distinction. “Which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The entirety of God’s special saving love toward us is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In other words, there is not one drop of saving love for us outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. Outside of His sinless life, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, present enthronement, there is no saving love outside of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, if you are to know and experience this love of God, you must come to Christ. And you must believe in Christ, and you must step into Christ, and you must be found in Christ in order to experience this saving love that God has because the totality of it is exclusively, this text says, in Christ Jesus our Lord. So, if you are not a believer in Christ Jesus you are under the wrath of God, and God is angry with the wicked every day, and God is full of vengeance for you.
And in a sense, even the elect before they are regenerated are under the wrath of God, Ephesians 2:2 and 3. We must be in Christ experientially in order to be the object of God’s saving love experientially.
Now, let me just comment on the order of these three designations for Christ, Christ Jesus the Lord. I always say Jesus Christ. Paul goes “Christ Jesus” most often and then “Our Lord.” Each of these three names means something. He begins with “Christ” because “Christ” means “The Anointed One,” which is synonymous in Hebrew with the “Messiah, the mashiach, the long-promised One who will come and deliver His people from their sins. So, “Christ” really has an Old Testament feel, the prophesied One who will come from God and be the Redeemer of Israel, be the deliverer of His people. So, that is why He begins with “Christ.”
And Jesus, when He was baptized in the River Jordan, not just with water, but with the Holy Spirit, that was the fulfillment of this long-awaited promise. Isaiah 61 verse 1: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to preach.” That was the fulfillment that He would be endued with power from on high to carry out His saving enterprise here upon the earth. Then “Jesus,” really it means “Jehovah saves,” and the idea is that He is the divine Savior. He is God in human flesh come to save us from our sins, and that speaks of His sinless life and His substitutionary death. So, “Christ” speaks of the fact that He is a powerful Redeemer, a promised Redeemer. “Jesus,” He is a divine Savior. And then “Lord,” He is sovereign ruler, kurios, that means He is the supreme One with all authority. He is the sovereign One of heaven and earth.
Now, in order to believe in Jesus Christ, to be a believer and enter into the fullness of this, I mean, you must believe that He is God in human flesh come to save, but you must also submit to His lordship in your life that He now is the ruler who has all authority over every dimension and every area of your life. So, there is a certain finality to the chapter and a summation to the chapter by even giving all three names. It just brings this to a climactic conclusion. Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Now, even that word “our” is important because it matches up with “us.” Everyone who is a believer in Jesus has Him as their Lord. And sometimes you will hear some very bad teaching that says, “Well, you can have Jesus as Savior, but then five years later or ten years later you need to recognize Him as Lord.” That is bogus teaching.
If Jesus is your Savior, He must be your Lord. It’s a package deal. If I came and knocked at your door. And you said, “Who’s there?” And I said, “Steve Lawson.” And you said, “Steve come in. Lawson, you stay out.” Well, I can’t come in. It’s all of me or none of me, hopefully.
It’s the same with Jesus. You receive Him as Christ Jesus our Lord or you do not receive Him. It’s all of Him or none of Him. And the word “our” designates that everyone who has Christ as Jesus also has Him as Lord. So, please don’t miss even that little detail in this text.
Let me restate that. When you come to Christ, true saving faith has in it submission to the sovereignty of Christ over your life, and there is an element of surrender of your life to Christ. And I would refer you to Luke 14:30 to 32 to document that.
So, you remember when we started this we saw the video of Felipe over in Lebanon, and he said he likes the “so what” at the end? Okay, so Felipe this is for you, okay, all the way across the Atlantic. I want to give you three “so what’s”.
So, how should this affect your life? Number one, live in humility. That such a holy God would love such unholy creatures as you and me, that ought to drive out every drop of arrogance and pride within us though there is still remaining taints of it, no doubt. Just think about this, that the infinitely perfect holy God has set His love upon such filthy rotten sinners like you and me that one so great would love one so dirty. What humility!
When we get up and walk out of here, not one of us should leave strutting. I mean, we should all be overwhelmed that God would love one so unlovely as me and you. So, humility is the first “so what” to this. And there is a sense we could just stop right there because humility has a way of taking care of everything else. Humility is the leading virtue of the true believer in Jesus Christ. I would put it “a humble love for God.” No one struts through the narrow gate when they enter the kingdom of heaven. We all come with a lowly humility into the kingdom of heaven. So, number one, humility.
Second is certainty. We should live with certainly because this passage gives us assurance of our eternal acceptance with God forever and ever. And I grew up in a church that did not teach this, and I can remember being in high school and just thinking, you know, “I know that I’m a believer right now and I know a lot of my classmates are not. I just hope on the last day this thing isn’t reversed.”
I mean, I would want them to be a believer, but I don’t want on the last day then to find myself on the outside and now they are on the inside. And it wasn’t in a sense of selfishness towards them. It was in a sense of despair about me.
And then, as I began to read my Bible in college, I came to see this certainty that as I’m a believer in Jesus Christ now, nothing can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. And it like unplugged all the pressure from me that I’ve got to live so perfect now for the rest of my life just to keep myself in the love of God when I realized that I’m sailing on the good ship “Grace,” and this ship’s never going down.
So, I’m enjoying the cruise a whole lot better than like being up all night just wondering like when are we hitting the iceberg and going down, that I’m good for heaven this very moment. So, what certainty this passage brings to us, and it ought to just take bricks off your shoulder of worry about being accepted with God on the last day. You will be accepted by God on the last day if you are accepted by God this very moment.
And then the third thing that I would say is “victory.” This should put a triumphant note in our witnessing and in our testimony with others. There should be a confident victorious spirit within us as we live our Christian lives. And no wonder he said in verse 37, just to remind you of this, that “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”
And then verse 38 starts with “For.” That’s just an explanation of that “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” And so, there is this inseparable connection between verse 37 and verses 38 and 39. So, it is victory.
So, no matter what happens in your life, no matter what you’re thrown into, verse 28, He’s causing “all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose,” and then the rest of this chapter, nothing will ever separate the love of God in Christ from you. That’s pretty victorious to me. That’s awesome. And it is not because of us; it is because of Him. It’s not because we are holding onto Him; it’s because He’s holding onto us, and He will never let go. And He is orchestrating everything for His glory and for our good.
So, guys, herein lies Romans 8, this phenomenal chapter. And in these last two verses, 38 and 39, I hope that you just savor these two verses. This has your name written on it. This is for you and me who are in Christ Jesus. This is as good as it gets. Your bottom line has been taken care of, so enjoy the rest of the year. No matter how the sales go, your bottom line is already taken care of, your bottom line to get into heaven. So, just enjoy the cruise, enjoy the Christian life, because this ship is glory bound and you’re on it and it is not going down and you’re not falling overboard. And God holds you in the palm of His hand.