It’s two Bible verses actually, the culmination of the 8th chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, a chapter truly worth reading for its extraordinary content and meaning for today. This chapter 8 of Romans, has provided me over the years with more to enrich my faith than any other chapter in the letters of Paul. Just click on the link above to go there.
I love the way the slide of the two verses has been set up. The verses indeed read like a checklist of things that Paul crosses off, one by one. What amazes me is that none of these things is necessarily evil. But all of them can separate us from the love of God.
But how do ‘angels’ or ‘life’ or ‘things to come’ or ‘anything else in all creation’ separate us from the love of God? When they become idols! Anything can become an idol, and God’s people are experts at making idols out of good things. And the minute you create an idol, you are separating yourself from God.
Notice what precedes, in verse 35: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Those are the things that we would expect Paul to identify as aiming to separate us from the love of God – they are all terrible things that can easily turn us away from God and separate us from the love of God. The things itemized in verses 38-39 are not terrible things. But they can be terrible if we misuse them or turn them into idols.
Angels can separate us from the love of God when we look to them more than God. Life can separate us from God if we desperately cling on to it when it is our time to let go. Death can separate us from the love of God if we die without faith or hope or love! And so on in Paul’s check list: pretty much anything can separate us from the love of God in Christ.
And indeed, don’t miss the words at the end: “in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The love of God is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ. He is the conqueror of every fear in our lives. Unite yourself to Christ and nothing will ever separate you from the love of God. Paul is not saying that nothing bad will ever happen in your life. He is saying something far more powerful: Regardless of what danger you face, regardless of what fear lurks in your soul – nothing will separate you from the love of God, the love of God in Christ! It is a powerful affirmation – the Bible verse to end all Bible verses!