Friday, October 2, 2009

Will be able to separate us

“Will be able to separate us” (Romans 8:39)

Last week we looked at Romans 8:1 which speaks of the fact that in Christ there is no condemnation. This week I want to look at the end of chapter 8 to see how no condemnation means there is no separation from Christ. Through the work of Christ nothing “will be able to separate us” from God’s love.

Paul, in Romans 8, talks about the work of Christ freeing us from the law. The law shows us our sin but cannot save us from our sin. “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh” (8:3). The only possible way to be righteous was through the righteousness of another. The Father sent his Son to pay this price for sinners like you and me. Jesus humbled himself by becoming man and dying in our place. By grace the Holy Spirit awakens us to this reality then we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Paul talks about two options, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (8:5). Where is your mind set? This is a crucial question because Paul goes on: “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (8:6). The mind set on the flesh is condemned but for the mind set on the Spirit there is no condemnation and nothing “will be able to separate us” for God.

Paul moves on to speak about our adoption into God’s family. We are promised no condemnation, a mind set on the Spirit and now the God of the universe tells us we are his sons and daughters. “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (8:15). What a promise! It doesn’t stop there he goes on to say, “And if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (8:17a). Because of Christ we are heirs of the Kingdom of God. We deserve nothing but hell for offending the holy God of the universe yet these are his words to us who trust in his Son for our salvation: No condemnation, a new mind given by the Spirit, adoption as children and heirs of the Kingdom.

Paul goes on to speak about the unbreakable chain of God’s work in salvation. Verse 30 is the greatest comfort in the bible: “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” God predestined us, called us, justified us and glorified us. The comfort is not in our feelings about salvation but resting in the promises of God, the author and finisher of salvation. Paul isn’t talking about “Let go and let God” but rather trusting in Christ’s work on the cross by grace through faith.

Paul finishes by asking, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (8:35)? The answer is clear: “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” (8:37-39). From no condemnation to no separation is the promise for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Grace upon grace,

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