by Cornelius R. Stam
Berean Bible Society
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Rom.8:35).
There have been individuals who thought the doctrine of the believer's eternal security in Christ to be a dangerous heresy. They countered every Scripture on the subject with another to refute it. But in each of these cases it was this great truth, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ", that finally persuaded them.
It is significant that the Apostle Paul never tells us about his love for Christ, but he is always telling us about Christ's love for him and for others! The Law commands: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God", but grace puts it the other way, telling us how deeply God loves us -- and this begets love in return. The Apostle experienced discouragements that would have caused him to give up the work of the Lord a thousand times, but he could not. Why? He says, "the love of Christ constraineth us?" (II Cor. 5:14); it bore him along like a strong tide. No doubt he had this very thing in mind when he continued writing in Romans 8.
"For Thy sake we are killed all the day long...accounted as sheep for the slaughter" (Ver.36).
And therefore defeated? Far from it!
"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Ver.37).
Not only do we win the battle; we are "more than conquerors", for these adversities serve to draw us into still closer fellowship with Him, thus enriching our Christian experience.
When people or nations engage in battle, generally no one wins; both lose. But Paul's personal experience serves as the foremost example that in the Christian life, "tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril [and] sword" bring us more than victory when borne for Him who loved us.
Thus this great chapter opens with "no condemnation" and closes with "no separation", and the Apostle, gathering all the forces of creation together, whether they be time, space, or matter, declares that none of them can separate us from "the love of God, which is [manifested] in Christ Jesus" (Vers.38,39). Whether it be death or life, heavenly principalities, things present or things to come, height or depth or any other created thing -- none of them, nor all together -- can threaten our security or separate us from the love of God, which He has manifested to us in Christ Jesus.