What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that isrevealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:31-39
In the previous part of this chapter, Paul said he’s convinced that our present sufferings are nothing in comparison with the glory that will be revealed in us. He spoke about how eagerly we await the day when Christ returns so that we’ll be freed from all this “bondage and decay, and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children.” He talks about creation’s groaning from day 1 until now and about the hope we have for Christ’s return. Paul’s talking about the persecutions and hardships we have as Christians living in a sinful world and culture that’s strongly rejecting Christ and His message.
Burnout? For Christ’s Return
Safety For our own resurrection
Arrested Locked into Christ’s love
Condemned God’s love through Christ
Killed Recognize Christ as the only Authority
Threatened If Christ is for us, then
Persecuted -who can be against us?
Fear (others being killed) -who can condemn us?
Loneliness -who can change God’s decision?
Spiritual attacks Keep to the mission
Environmental difficulties Hence, encouragement
Famine → Not punishment / discipline
Poverty → Not signs of God leaving or no longer loving you
Hardships → Don’t be discouraged
Weather → Nothing can separate us from God’s love
Natural disasters → (?)
Things may be bad now, but we hope for something better to come. For example:
- Working in the heat of the day: you’re hoping for a cold glass of water, or maybe jumping into a lake
- Freezing: your hope is for heat at home and thawing (maybe also hot cocoa).
- Soldiers: hope for returning home to families
- Football players: hope for the end of the game and when the pain stops hurting
- Christians: Our Hope is for Christ’s return, God’s glory, mission accomplished and successful
- Things are difficult now…but they’ll get better.
- Worldly authorities condemn us…but only Christ, who died and was raise for our sake, has the authority of condemning us…and He won’t.
- We’re persecuted…just as Christ was before us.
- We’re falsely accused and put on trial…but in the trial that really matters, Christ intercedes for us.
- We’re beaten down, threatened and bullied…but in all these, we’re conquerors through Christ.
- Press on
- Fight the good fight
- Run hard towards the goal
For nothing in this world can separate us from God’s love, and the sufferings we endure now are nothing in comparison with that which we hope for later.
- What sort of pep talks have you heard? When were they said? Did they work? Why or why not?
- What are some hardships that you’ve endured as a Christian?
- What’s your hope, that which keeps you going, or that which keeps you strong in your faith?
- Now compare your answers for #s 1 and 2. Can they be compared? Why or how, or why not or how not?