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Nothing Shall Separate!
Romans 8:38-39

We have been moving on up!
We reached the mountain peak!
Many would say that Romans is the greatest book in the New Testament,
and that Romans 8 is the greatest chapter in the book.
You could also say that Romans 8:38-39 is the greatest passage.
So, we are standing on holy ground.

A penetrating barrage of questions and counter questions had burst in staccato secession.
It had begun like the roar of distant thunder as he looked out on the field of battle:
" What shall we then say to these things?" (8: 31)
It continued to swell in strength and volume as the climax was reached:
" Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation… or… sword
?" (8: 35)

The air was tense, but his voice was full of triumph as he gave his final reply:
" Nay, in all these things… we are more than conquerors through him that love us."
(8: 37)

You might think, " What more could he say?"
He had already lifted his eyes, and ours, to the highest summit that faith can scale.
Such a sentence would have been an adequate conclusion from this moving masterpiece;
and further words might only spoil the effect.

But Paul did not stop just there.
He still had more to add.
Sin cannot cut us all from Christ, for it is Christ who died to save us from our sin.
Sufferings cannot separate us from His love for His love for us was manifest
by His sufferings.

Then, Paul caught up the last question and his voice passed into this final crescendo:
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord
."

These tremendous words are the conclusion of Paul's long demonstration that
the gospel is " the power of God unto salvation."
No one has ever set forth the results of justification so completely, compactly,
and so profoundly, in a way that is so stimulating, effective, and uplifting.
And all this in a letter to a single congregation.

This is a chapter in which every Christian should immerse his soul.

Paul said: "For I am persuaded."
Here Paul introduces his own persuasion of the love of God.
This persuasion is a certainty - and assured confidence such as he expressed
when he said is in 2 Timothy 1: 12: " I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded
that he is able to keep that
…"

There are those who might accuse Paul of presumption.
But there is a great difference between the assurance and presumption.
Presumption is hope without foundation.
Assurance is founded on the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Presumption is Satan's lie; assurance is the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Presumption makes a person proud and hard-hearted, flippant and arrogant.
Assurance makes a person stoop in humility the more he is persuaded
of his heavenly Father's love.

Paul is saying I am "fully and absolutely persuaded on the basis of evidence
that cannot be denied
."
In the Greek, he uses a perfect tense.
That means, Paul is saying, "I have believed this in the past, and I still believe it today."
Nothing has changed.
"I have been convinced and I am still convinced today."
When Paul says he is persuaded, he speaks as one who has staked his life
upon God's unchanging realities.

This is the wonderful Christian assurance that belongs to every child of God
Every Christian should know without question that we children of God and our relationship
with God is eternally secure.

As we come to the end of Romans 8, Paul assure us that nothing will ever separate us
from the love of God.
Romans 8 establishes the truth that all who God saves is saved forever.
That is what Paul is saying.

You can know for certain — you can be totally assured beyond any question that when you die
you are going to heaven.
You will go to heaven because your sins are forgiven,and your name is written in heaven.
You are completely justified, and Christ is interceding in heaven for you.
You are more than a conqueror, and because of the grace of God, you are eternally secure.

That's the significance of the first four words of verse 38: "For I am convinced."
In these last two verses Paul is saying one thing: "I am convinced that nothing can separate us
from the love of God
."
Everything else that he says simply adds to that great statement.

The word "separate" means to violently "tear from", to "completely divide".
Paul says that nothing that can happen to us that can ever separate us from the love of God.
It is so clearly stated: "Nothing can separate us."
This is said of all of us who are "in Christ Jesus."
This promise is to every Christian, and only to Christians.
Only those who know Jesus Christ through saving faith may claim this promise.
We will never be separated from the love of God.

So, for all who have Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord -- we will never be separated
from the love of God.
That's what Romans 8:38-39 says.

Let us look at the list that many might think could separate us from the love of God.
These possibilities are set forth in four sets of two each, with two items set off by themselves.
Taken together, they encompass everything in the universe, and Paul includes every
imaginable realm of existence.

What about death?
Death is the great separator.
It separates us from our loved ones, our friends, our family members.
Death cuts us off from everything we know in this life.
Death ends our careers, our hobbies and our home life.
Death ends everything..

Death is one of the greatest fears in our lives.
Death is so final.
No wonder we fear it.
Francis Bacon said; "Men fear death, as children fear darkness."

Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no hope for anyone as they face death.
Without Jesus, a person faces death and its horrors all alone.
But for those who believe in Jesus, death holds no fear.
Jesus said; ";I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live,
even though he dies. And whoever lives and believes in me will never die
."

Those are the words of the only person who ever rose from the dead.
Everyone who knows Jesus Christ as their Saviour at the moment of their death
will pass immediately into the next life, will see Jesus and become like Him (1 John 3:2)
and will be forever with the Lord Jesus in heaven.
We will live with our Lord.
Death cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

But what about life?
Many things in life separate us.
War separates families.
Poverty separates whole classes of people.
Sickness separates us from our loved ones.
Old age and geography separate us from our family and friends.

Sometimes our sin causes us to do terrible things that separate us from others.
We make friends, then we drift apart.
We move to a new neighborhood and the old relationships are forgotten.
We say, "Let's keep in touch," but we don't.
There are so many experiences in life that separate us apart from each other.

Can life itself — with all its ups and downs — separate us from God?
Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Take the worst that life has to offer.
Nothing -- poverty, sickness, hatred, rejection by others, failed plans, shattered dreams,
broken hearts, old age, dreaded ravaging disease, financial failures -- none of those things,
as bad as they are, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

How about angels or demons?
In the Greek, this reads "neither angels nor principalities."
The "angels" refer to the good angels who worship God day and night.
The "principalities" are the evil spirits who followed Lucifer when he fell from heaven.
They are commonly referred to as demons.

But immediately we ask, "How could the good angels separate us from the love of God?
Why would they do such a thing even if they could?"
They wouldn't.
Paul is speaking in hyperbolic language, reaching for the most remote possibility.
He is saying something like, "Can the angels even if they wanted to — which they don't
— separate us from the love of God
?"
The answer is no.
Not even the angels of God can with the love of God.
His love overcomes even His most powerful created beings.

The demons do exist, and they do harass the people of God.
Their entire purpose is evil and destructive.
They are malignant beings who prey on human weakness, tempting us to sin.
When they inhabit a human soul, they can lead it into constant self-destruction.

Demons do exist and they have great power.
They are a diabolical army set out to war against the people of God.
They discourage us, divide us, attack us, incite us, provoke us, and oppress us.
Demons are very real.
Satan is alive and well on planet earth . . . and so are his demons.

But the demons cannot separate us from the love of God!
They wil try to make us feel as if God doesn't love us.
They can confuse us into thinking we have been rejected.
But those attacks are within our own minds.
And that is all they can do.
Colossians 2:14-15 tells us that when Christ died he defeated Satan and all his evil minions.
He "disarmed them" by making a public spectacle of them.
He triumphed over them when he died on the cross and rose from the dead.

Satan is a liar! Satan has been defeated! He's a loser!
And the demons are losers! Jesus won the battle over 2000 years ago.
The battle is over.

Can the demons hurt the people of God? Yes.
Can they harass the people of God?
Yes. Can they confuse and mislead the people of God?
Yes. But that's all they can do.
There is a limit to their demonic activity.
They are not omnipotent.

Neither angels nor demons can separate us fro the love of God!

What about the present or future?
Now Paul moves into the realm of time, from all that is past and to the present
and on into the future.
Is there anything within time — any recorded event, any present occurrence,
any future possibility — that can or could ever separate us from the love of God?
The answer once again is, no!

Paul doesn't mention the past because, as believers, our past was forgiven the moment
we trusted Christ.
Therefore, if the past were going to rise up against us to somehow condemn us,
it would already have done so.
But it can't because our past was dealt with forever the moment we came to Christ.

But what about the present?
Is there something happening right now that could sever our relationship with God.
No!
Jesus is greater than our present circumstances.

Then, he comes to the future.
Is there anything beyond the horizon, any horrible event, some unforeseen emergency,
some unexpected catastrophe, some future failure, that could break the tie
that binds us to God's love?
Again, the answer is no.

Terrible things sometimes happen to believers, including some things for which we must
bear personal responsibility.
But none of those things can separate us from the love of God.

Divorce? No separation.
Bankruptcy? No separation.
Drug addiction? No separation.

There is nothing that we are going through right now — no matter how terrible
— that can separate us from the love of God.
We may suffer for our mistakes and our sins, but even those things can't separate us
from God's everlasting love.

But what about life beyond the grave?
Does the protection of Jesus extend into the next life?
We are protected here.
What about the hereafter?
Paul answers that question in Philippians 1:23 when he says,
"I desire to depart and be with Christ."
The very moment we die we pass into the personal presence of Jesus Christ.
and being with Christ assures us that nothing ever can separate us from the love of God.

What about spiritual powers
The word here is a form of "dunamis" which in the New Testament usually refers
to various spiritual powers.
Here we would place things like black magic, voodoo, witchcraft, astrology, wizardry,
warlocks, New Age mystics, reincarnationists, people who claim to see auras,
cast spells, read Tarot cards, tell fortunes, conduct seances, and so on.

The word covers the whole waterfront of alleged (and real) spiritual powers.
It involves the entire gamut of evil spiritual influences.

So, whatever Satan can think up, whatever his followers can concoct,
whatever alleged spiritual forces might be arrayed against us,
none of them can separate us from God's love.

No one can cast a spell and take away our salvation.
No one can chant or hum or read cards and destroy our relationship with Jesus.
o one can call on the spirits of dead people to somehow sabotage your Christian faith.
It can't happen.
Jesus is greater than all the spiritual powers of the universe.
Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.

What about height or depth?
Now Paul turns to the realm of space — to height and depth.
If we could somehow go high enough, we could never be separated from God!
And if we could go low enough, we can never separated from God!?
God's love is everywhere.
Remember Psalm 139:7-10. "Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there.
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast
."

Some commentators tell us that these two words were used in ancient astrology.
They described a point directly above the horizon (the highest height)
and a point directly below (the deepest depth).
These points were used in making astrological forecasts.
If that is the meaning, then Paul is telling us that even the so-called astrological powers
cannot separate us from the love of God.

Is there anything else?
This is Paul's final category.
It's as if he has exhausted everything he can think of.
He's covered all the possible categories, but just in case he's forgotten something,
he says, "Anything else in all creation."
He is saying, "Just in case there is some realm of existence that I haven't covered,
I'm going to include it here
."
If you can think of anything else the Apostle Paul hasn't thought of, put it in this last category.

Is there any creature that can separate us? No.
Is there any created being that can separate us? No.
Is there anything in the universe? No.

But the word there is "heteros" — another of a different kind.
It may mean, "this universe or any other universe, if there is or could be another universe."
That, I think, covers it all.
If there is another universe that we know nothing about, wherever it is,
and whatever it may contain, there is nothing in it that can separate us from God's love.

There is nothing that is or ever could be —nothing you could dream or imagine
— that could separate a believer in Jesus from God's eternal love.

I Am Sure. Are You?

Paul said, "I am persuaded."
I can say to you that I am persuaded.
Are you persuaded?

If you are not certain, it is because you are looking to yourself and not to the Lord.
Take a good look at Jesus and you will be convinced.
I am persuaded and I am glad that I am.
What about you?

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White