The first century was a trying time for Christians, wait...scratch that. The first century was KILLER, both literally and figuratively. God's word spread like wildfire (once Paul put the proverbial light under Peter's butt) and King Nero wasn't too happy (also VERY evil). It was a holocaust of Christians.
I wish I could say things are different. And here, they are. And we are very lucky. But else where, in China, in the Middle East, our brothers and sisters are not so lucky. They meet in secret, daring to worship God in the midst of a Godless country. Pray for them. And thank God that though you may face persecution and ridicule you can worship Him freely without restraint.
Romans 8:37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
I love Paul's choice of words. We not only have victory, but overwhelming victory. Through Christ we have victory over death! The "end all, be all" is now just the beginning. A song played a church yesterday describing heaven as an "eternal day with God." I couldn't help but smile (quite largely) at that fact. It reminds me of all those moments when I thought "I hope this never ends." It always does, obviously. But I look forward to a day when I think that....and it's true. To sit and talk and just BE with God wishing it would never end....and it never does. My heart is soothed just thinking about it
Romans 8:38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't and life can't. The angels can't and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away
God loves messed up people. We're entirely more messed up than we think we are. Paul is showing up both sides of the spectrum here, opposites. Nothing on one end, nothing on the other...and nothing in between can separate us from the love of God. Fears, inadequacies, slip ups, chronic sins (i.e. porn addiction, alcoholism, etc.), sins of your fathers (i.e. temper, bad habits), neurotic tendencies, road rage, NOTHING can separate you from God's love. Forget it...not going to happen. You think you are undeserving of God's love. You're right!! Does he love you anyway? YES!!! So many times I catch myself feeling deserving of God's love. I LOATHE it. Self-righteousness is one evil flaw that always sneaks up on me. Lately God has made me aware of the depth of my sin, and I'm SO thankful...it helps me appreciate just what Christ did for me.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Rest in that.
Romans 8:39 Whether high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No matter where we go or what we do, if we are in Christ there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from the love of God. He is showing us the expansiveness of our security as a result of what Jesus has done!