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We all believe we are independent. We face the challenging circumstances of living and making choices every day. When will I get up? What is for breakfast? From morning’s rising to evening’s retiring: we choose. God gifted us with the free will to do so and the autonomy to see it all through. Yet, Paul says he is convinced that nothing can separate us from the love of God and Christ Jesus. So no external, or internal forces can separate us from God’s love.
Wow! How does that strike you?
Our study passage begins with another famous quote of Paul’s.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.ROMANS 8:31-39 ESV
We learn from Romans that God is on our side, really on our side. God so believes in us that He sent His son to die for us. Jesus takes on the burden of our sins (separations). And, we are assured that not only did Jesus pay for our sins with his blood, he also advocates for us.
In Romans 8, Paul is speaking about God’s unfailing presence. God has such a constant presence, that we really cannot comprehend. How can we understand that nothing separates us from His presence? There is no space from the love of God and your soul.
We all have people in our lives who are on our side through thick and thin. They know us inside-out. We believe they would sacrifice themselves for us. Think about someone you know you can count on, someone who is your advocate. (I hope you give thanks to God for such a person in your life.)
What a wonderful thing to know another person has your back. You trust them, and rely upon them to be a constant – a north star – for you. And, because you love them, you also have their back. This is the kind of relationship, Jesus modeled for us.
Jesus showed us and told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He gave us a formula for loving and as imperfect as that love is, we still love. But humans are bound to disappoint one another; we are destined to be separated. This is what makes human love fallible. Even with the best intentions, we hurt each other and let each other down. It doesn’t matter how close we feel to one another, sometimes ‘stuff’ just gets in the way. One way or another, we can and will be, separated from each other, if only by death.
Your Inseparable ‘God Bond’
Yet Paul writes that nothing can separate us from the love of God and Christ Jesus. Paul is saying God’s love is so encompassing that there is no chance we can be let down , or let go, by God.
Our human ability to separate ourselves, to disappoint, and sin against those we love, is overcome in our relationship with God. We are in a covenant with Him. This covenant is unbreakable because of God’s power and love (not ours). But, with your free will, you have chosen to be in a relationship with God.
Now it’s God’s turn. He brings his Almighty love to you and encompasses all that you are, until there is nothing between His child and your Creator. Nothing in your past has separated you from God, there is nothing today powerful enough to separate you from God, and there is nothing in the future. Even death does not separate us from God. Jesus overcame death, for our sake.
God has your back and your front. He is here, there, and everywhere. He was with you as a child, is with you today, and always. You have given Him your heart.
How often do you say: “I just need some space.”? We’ve all said it. In your relationship with God, it is you who takes the space. I bet you have found, as I have, that taking space from God doesn’t really work out too well.
We pledged through baptism to be in covenant with God. God just doesn’t let His people go! He holds onto us. He binds our hearts. And He waits for us to turn toward Him.
Again and again, He remains a constant source of unending love. Psalm 139 tells us that there is no where to run, nowhere we can go, even into the darkness without God. God will be there with us.
Nothing Can Separate Us – Or Not
So what are your ‘nothings’? When I think about nothing separating me from the love of God, I often think about external forces. But it is our hearts and minds that must address the ‘nothings’ in our lives.
Circumstances happen in everyone’s life. A tire goes flat, someone hurts you, you discover you have an illness, you fall in love, your child gets in trouble at school or maybe someone you love dies unexpectedly. Some of our ‘nothings’ are tragic, some just take our energy.
But as we look at whatever circumstances we are facing, and we rely on our faith in God, and know God is with us, we look at our external circumstances and our internal faith. Then we use our free will to choose how we are going to react to our ‘nothings’.
In faith, we choose to turn to God. We choose whether to step closer to God or step away. By coming closer and relying upon God, we are not only validating Paul’s words in Romans, we are growing our faith.
Being close to God means being in relationship with Him. It means abiding with Him. It means choosing to look to Him when life circumstances arise which threaten to separate us from Him. It means putting ‘nothing’ in its place, which is nowhere in our life as a Christian soul, in love with our God and Christ Jesus.
I Rejoice! There is nothing that separates me from the love of God. Whatever external or internal forces are at work in my life, I know I am yours, Father. I know you are ever-present in my life. Help me to choose to be closer to you, every day of my life. Thank you for holding me in your loving hands, forever. In Jesus name, I pray and offer thanksgiving. Amen.