Sermon: Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love of God Romans 8:31-39

Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love of God

Romans 8:31-39

Truth Taught- Because of the work of Christ we are forever God’s children and forever loved by Him no matter what.

Introduction

When we rightly understand Chapter 8 we will then Like the Apostle Paul praise God for all He has done on our behalf. Some have called this grand culmination of Chapter 8 the Hymn of thanksgiving or the hymn of assurance.

When we discover all God has done to seal our eternal destiny we too can praise Him of salvation and for glorification.

We have learned from Chapter 8 that

Romans 8:1–2 (ESV)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:10-11 (ESV)

10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:15-17 (ESV)

15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Romans 8:18 (ESV)

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

We learned that all of creation is groaning in affliction eagerly waiting the glorification of God’s children, the church groans while it is waiting, Holy Spirit groans as He continually comes to our aid in prayer.

Romans 8:28–30 (ESV)

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

All of these things Paul teaches us prove that we are God’s children, we are eternally secure, and there is simply nothing that can ever change that.

Romans 8:31–39 (ESV)

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 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? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 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. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

       “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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.

So, according to Paul then there is no place for disagreement. That’s what he means when he begins verse 31 with…31 What then shall we say to these things?

Now the Apostle gloriously throws these five questions out and , as it were, dares anyone to object.

He challenges anybody and everybody, in heaven, earth, or hell, to answer them and to deny truth, which they contain. But there is no answer. For no-one and nothing can harm the people of God whom God has foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified.[1]

Let’s really think about what Paul has told us in Romans? Beloved, there is nothing that can touch our souls…nothing, everything that happens in this world whether good things or trials will only make us more like Jesus. Nothing can take us from God’s sovereign hands we are forever His, no matter what.

  1. If God is for us, who can be against us?

I’m very glad Paul did not simply say, who can be against us. If he would have just said that we could rightly conclude everywhere there are those against us. The world and its fallen system is against us, the devil is against us etc. But that’s not what he says is it?

Paul begins with an all-encompassing rhetorical question, If God is for us, who is against us? The word if translates the Greek conditional particle ei, signifying a fulfilled condition, not a mere possibility the meaning of the first clause is therefore “Because God is for us.”

The obvious implication is that if anyone were able to rob us of salvation they would have to be greater than God Himself, because He is both the giver and the sustainer of salvation. To Christians Paul is asking, in effect, “Who could conceivably take away our no-condemnation status?” (see 8:1). Is there anyone stronger than God, the Creator of everything and everyone who exists?[2]

What Paul is telling us is that for a believer to ever be lost there would need to be someone mightier than God.

There are three powers fighting against us. The world, this sinful system is fighting against us. It wants us to conform to its image. It wants to keep us from serving Christ fully.

The flesh is fighting us. We learned in Romans that now as believers there is a war between our spirit and our flesh. It wants to hinder us and get us off track in order to follow its lusts.

The devil and his army of demons are very much our adversaries they hate us because we are made in God’s image and because we are redeemed.

BUT…none of these can compare to God. In fact God created each of them.

Here is the point of the entire Bible really…God is for us. God is for us.

Listen struggling Christian God is for you. Why do we ever think its any other way? God is on our side. He is a Warrior King who comes to our aid. If you are in Christ you are on the same side God is on. He’s like the grizzly bear caring for her cubs.

All the powers of hell and the world could come against us but they will never prevail because God is for us in Jesus Christ.

  1. 32 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?

Again, aren’t you glad Paul didn’t just write will God not give us all things? The truth is, we need many things, some of which are very costly and vital to our survival and our spiritual growth. Or how can we be sure God will meet our needs?

Let’s look to Paul’s logic here…

What he’s telling us is that the very God we are asking the question will He meet our needs is the same God who has given Christ to die on our behalf. There could never be a costlier gift than the death of Jesus for us. So, what Paul is getting at is that if God would give us His absolute most precious possession why would we ever doubt that He would withhold other less costly gifts.

This is one of Paul’s greater to least arguments. Since God gave us the greatest gift; since He met our greatest need with His greatest gift then why would we ever doubt that He would withhold a lesser gift for a lesser need. God is our heavenly Father who will lavish great gifts on His children. In giving us His Son, He gave us everything. The cross is the guarantee of the continuing, unfailing generosity of God.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross not only is the foundation of our salvation but also of our security. Because the Father loved us so much while we were still under condemnation, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Because the Son loved us so much while we were still under condemnation, He “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:4; cf. 3:13).[3]

Here’s another important purpose of God. We cannot loose our salvation. No one can take it from us. Since we did nothing to earn it we cant do anything to loose it. No one can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ including ourselves. Because it is a gracious gift, God will never remove salvation from us. Because it is unearned and undeserved, the only real response is praise directed toward God.

Ephesians 1:3–9 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ

  1. 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Now Paul sets us down, as it were, in the courtroom of God. We could imagine that there would be enemies trying to accuse us of some sin or even trying to convince God that we are guilty of some crime that would make our salvation null and void.

Here is the amazing truth, some accusations may even be true, but it does not matter. Why doesn’t it matter? Because it is God, the Judge, who justifies.

Since God has declared us righteous in Christ no accusation will stick to us. Satan is called the accuser of the brethren and he may accuse us of various things but the accusations do not matter because Christ’s death has paid for our sin and the One who is responsible to render our verdict has already justified us.

In its theological sense, justification is a forensic, or purely legal, term. It describes what God declares about the believer, not what He does to change the believer. In fact, justification effects no actual change whatsoever in the sinner’s nature or character. Justification is a divine judicial edict. It changes our status only, but it carries ramifications that guarantee other changes will follow. Forensic decrees like this are fairly common in everyday life.

Justification is by faith and not works. It comes to us as a free gift of God based on the faith that He also gives us.

Philippians 3:9 (ESV)

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

So, there can be no charge brought against God’s elect because they have already been declared righteous through faith. The only Judge who can declare the verdict has already declared us just and righteous.

Notice how closely Paul’s words here echo Isaiah…
Isaiah 50:8–9 (ESV)

       He who vindicates me is near.

       Who will contend with me?

Let us stand up together.

       Who is my adversary?

Let him come near to me.

   Behold, the Lord God helps me;

who will declare me guilty?

       Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;

the moth will eat them up.

  1. 34 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.

Why is condemnation for God’s elect an impossibility? Paul takes us to the cross again doesn’t he? Because Jesus died to pay for all the sin that could condemn us there is nothing left for our accusers to use against us.

Who are those who would try to condemn us? Again the accuser of the brethren, the devil (the accuser) tries. Our enemies might try. We may even try through guilt or whatever to try and condemn ourselves that doesn’t work either.

1 John 3:20 (ESV)

20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Beloved even if we desired to condemn ourselves, even that wouldn’t work. No one nor anything has the ability to condemn people that Christ died for. So, he takes us to the cross.

Next he proves that the death of Christ was eternally effectual for all God’s people because to prove it God raises Christ from the grave. Paul takes us to the cross then he takes us to the empty tomb to prove that full payment has been made for us.

Now, if that wasn’t enough, he thirdly takes us to the throne room of God where Jesus is currently interceding for us. His very presence at the Father’s right hand is also proof that His work is finished. The crucified, risen and interceding Jesus Christ is for us. Who is to condemn? There is no answer…there is no one to condemn God’s people.

  1. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

       “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

The Apostle asks his fifth question, 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Can you see Paul asking this fifth question and then looking around to see if there is anything that can successfully separate us from God’s love. He is so sure that he even goes through an exhaustive list.

Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Afflictions, Sufferings, Trials we learned only cause God’s people to be more like Jesus and God’s love is seen through these.

Famine could not do it, lack of material goods even destitute of the very basic things would not have the power to separate us from God’s love. Even danger or martyrdom can’t do it.

Here’s Paul’s experience of most all of these examples and He concluded that even in these very serious times of suffering that when he had nothing else, he still had the love of God.

2 Corinthians 11:23–28 (ESV)

23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

  1. The Grand Conclusion

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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.

Application

How do these truths make you better fit to courageously serve Christ against all types of opposition?

Are there ways in which you’re living in fear of being separated from God’s love?

 

Conclusion

Because God is for us, no one can successfully be against us

Because God gave us Christ He will also give us everything we need

Because God justified us there is no one who can successfully accuse us

Because Jesus is Crucified, Risen and Interceding for us there is left no one who can condemn us

Because God forever loves us we are more than conquerors

Because God loves us we will never be separated from His love.

[1] Stott 254

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (pp. 502–503). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (p. 505). Chicago: Moody Press.

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