“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 8:38-39)
As we observed yesterday, Paul is long winded, so for the full scope of what he is saying, we need to read chapters seven and eight of Romans in one sitting, or at least 8:26-39. Today’s verses are merely finishing the thoughts from yesterday’s verses. But today lets focus on the traditional emphasis and primary thought rather than the backdrop of suffering that we examined yesterday. If you come from a loving Christian home with a father who perfectly exemplified the love of God, then the full power of this passage goes right by you, since your heart takes it for granted that God, like your human father, will love you no matter what.
For the rest of us, we can’t recite this to our hearts often enough. Often in this world even small petty things can separate us from someone’s love. People judge by outward appearances and from limited, incomplete knowledge. And those of us from emotionally abusive backgrounds* often allow others to define who we are, letting every criticism sink deep into our psyche. We let others with their words and deeds tell us we’re not good enough. And Satan comes along and whisperers in our ears, if this sinner cannot love someone as filthy and flawed as we are, however could a holy God love us? So we hide in shame and separate from Him.
Next time quote this passage to the enemy. God’s ways are not Man’s ways. His ways are higher. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, least of all the judgments of others he created. Sin separates us from God, but not from his love, and the cross stands ready to reconcile us. We must not forget that context of the promise given here. Get it under the blood, turn from your wicked way, and return to the Father watching down the road, ready to run to you with open arms. Come to Him, weary one, He will give you rest. Let Him tell you today who you are.
God, strengthen our boundaries today, so we will allow you alone to define who we are and stand firm in what you have said about us. We pray we would be sure of your promises to us and confident in your love. Forgive us our trespasses and grant us forgiving hearts free of bitterness today. Cleanse us, Lord, and keep our eyes on you. Let us not forget Gethsemane or Golgotha. Remind us of who you are–remind us of who you created us to be. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
*This includes loving homes where our parents were abused as children and have simply passed down their own dysfunctional attitudes to us.