Suffering and the Love of Christ
April 28, 2019
We have questions about love. We want to know what love will do. When we are in love (or think we are in love), we will ask questions like:
- Will the person I love return that love to me?
- Will the person I love forgive me when I sin against her?
- Will the person I love be willing to sacrifice for me?
- Will the person I love meet my needs and longings?
We want to know what love will do for us, but we also want to know what love won’t do:
- Will the person I love harm me?
- Will the person I love keep me secure, or will he put me in precarious positions?
If we ask these kinds of questions about each other, we certainly will also ask those kinds of questions about God and His love. We want to know, “Is God’s love safe?” “Are we safe when we are loved by God?”
Near the end of Romans 8, the apostle Paul explained the golden chain of salvation (vv. 29-30). Having offered the assurance of that truth, Paul then embarks on a series of questions that relate to that salvation:
- What shall we say to these things? (v. 31a)
- If God is for us, who is against us? (v. 31b)
- How will He not freely also give us all things? (v. 32)
- Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? (v. 33)
- Who is the one who condemns? (v. 34)
- Who will separate us from the love of Christ? (v. 35)
The first five questions are legal and judicial — what is our legal standing before God? Has God done enough to meet the requirements to save and secure us?
The last question is personal and relational — does God care about us? Does Christ love us and is His love deep enough to hold us and keep us in Himself, no matter what? Are we safe? Paul’s conclusion is clear:
When the believer is in Christ and loved by Christ, nothing can remove him from that love.
As we ask this one last question — Who (or what) will separate us from the love of Christ? — I want to ask five implied questions from these verses:
- What Circumstances Can Separate Us from Christ’s Love? (v. 35)
- Will Martyrdom Separate Us from Christ’s Love? (v. 36)
- What is Our Position in Christ? (v. 37)
- What Powers Can Separate Us from Christ’s Love? (vv. 38-39)
- Of What Are You Convinced? (vv. 38-39)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 8:35-39.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.