If someone asked you to show them what God’s love looked like what would you do? We know that the love of God does not have a color. The love of God does not come in a boxed set. You cannot order it from a store. It is odorless, tasteless, and invisible to the naked eye. Nevertheless, this love of God changes everything about us. God’s love in Christ to His Church is boundless.
The love of God is not presented to us in Scripture as mere sentimentality. We do not have the luxury of defining His love as we see fit. The love of God for us is particular, always through Christ and always applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit as seen in Romans 8:31-39. We must understand this passage in light of its surrounding context.
Paul, in what is often called the “Golden Chain of Salvation”, wrote, “And those whom [God] predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.” (Romans 8:30 ESV) In Paul’s explanation, we see that the work of redemption from beginning, middle, and end is wholly the work of God. Paul then wrote, “What then shall we say to these things?” (Romans 8:31a ESV) In other words, what else needs to be said? Paul summed it up like this, “If God is for us who can be against us?” (v.31b)
Paul’s words come to us as a triumphant shout of success. Nothing but victory can be upon a Christian’s lips when they learn that God has sovereignly and certainly called His people to life. It is God’s free choice of predestinating a people for His good pleasure which functions as the unshakeable security of the Christian’s hope. Such love from God comes to us through His Son. Paul wrote, “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?” (v.32)
Nothing we do can shake the love God has for us in Christ, because its foundation is rooted in the unchanging will of God. God is for us because He is for us. God did not spare His Son. God justifies us. God has guaranteed this victory to His elect people through His Son. The basis is founded on His choice, but also the work of Christ: His death; His resurrection; His being seated at the right hand of God; His perpetual intercession for the saints. From this we see, that our sin is covered from every possible angle. This is why Paul opened Romans 8 with these iconic words, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 ESV)
Many adversaries attempt to stand against the love of God. Like any wise teacher, the Apostle Paul foresees these potential objections and rose to meet them as he provided these rhetorical questions, “Who can be against us?…Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?…Who is to condemn?…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (vv.31, 33-35) There is no one who is able to pluck us from Christ. Our union to Christ is indissoluble.
Have you ever doubted this perpetual union with the Lord Jesus? We sometimes exchange the promises of God for the lies of our own hearts. Sometimes it is the subtlety of Satan that leads our hearts to hopelessness. This is typical of Satan’s tactics. He wants to distract you from God. He wants you to forget Scripture. He wants you to ultimately fear someone or something else, other than God. To do such a thing at its base is idolatry. When do not believe in God’s power to forgive us or sustain us, we are idolaters and have to repent because we are forgetting God’s promises to us. When we believe that anything in this world can rip us from the hands of our Savior, we are not trusting God as He has clearly spoken.
Paul promised us opposition, but this opposition will never have the last word. He wrote, “Shall tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword…separate us from the love of Christ?” (v.35 ESV) Paul responded, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (v.37 ESV) Paul told us that these moments of agonizing suffering “are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18 ESV)
With God’s help nothing can defeat us. Nothing has the ability to separate us from the love of God in Christ. Persevere in this love. Trust in His work for you and within you, by Christ through His Holy Spirit. Push forward in the knowledge of the unshakeable love God has for you in Christ. Regardless of what tragedy, or what atrocity befalls you, we cling with all life to these words of our King, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)
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