Life in the Spirit part 6, "God's Inseparable Love"

Life in the Spirit, part 6

“God’s Inseparable Love”

Today we finish Romans 8, a chapter about Life in the Spirit. Last week we talked about God’s purpose, which is working all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The “good” is God’s purpose, and God’s purpose for us is for to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. God uses everything in our lives to achieve this purpose. Now let’s look at the rest of the chapter.

Romans 8:31-39 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What then shall we say to these things? This question refers to the preceding verses that define God’s purpose—conforming us to the image of Christ. We have this calling from God, we are justified by God, and we are glorified by God. Conforming us to the image of Christ is God’s work in us. He works all things in our lives to achieve this good and uses us to accomplish His good throughout the earth.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

In light of these wonderful facts, Paul asks four additional questions. In verse 31, he asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?

The Bible mentions three types of enemies against us—the world, our flesh, and the devil. The world includes philosophies and lifestyles contrary to the Word of God.

If we are in Christ and live in the Spirit, we will not conform to the world. We will live according to the Word of God and show the world that the will of God is good.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good and pleasing and perfect will.

Secondly, if we are in Christ and live in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. We will crucify the flesh and walk according to the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Thirdly, if we are in Christ and live in the Spirit, we will resist the devil by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are full of the Holy Spirit and submit to Him, we have authority over the devil and his demons.

1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

There are going to be many things, spirits, and people to oppose us in the Christian life, but the good news is: God is for us. There is no one and nothing mightier than God. That means we do not have to fear. We never have to be afraid of anything from the world, the flesh, or the devil! But we must remain alert to the attacks from these enemies.

Psalms 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

How do we know God is for us? He proved it! Look at verse 32. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” God has already given us His Son. Therefore, He also willingly gives us all the grace we need to live a life in the Spirit.

So, the answer to the question “who can be against us?” is: Many are going to be against us, but we will be victorious because God is for us.

Question number two in verse 33 asks, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?”

Well, Satan will. Satan accuses us all the time. The very name Satan in Hebrew means slanderer.

Revelation 12:10-12 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

Satan accuses us before God day and night but God excuses, He forgives, and He justifies.

Satan also accuses us to ourselves. Satan and his demons tell those of us who are redeemed and born again, “You’re no good! You are a rotten sinner! You have evil thoughts. You do evil things. What are you doing in church today, you hypocrite?”

That’s what Satan does, but he is a liar and the father of lies. He accuses us, but God says, “Jesus redeemed you. I forgive you. I have justified you. I will glorify you.”

Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

So, the answer to the question, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” is: Satan will and people will, but God forgives us and He justifies us. His purpose is to glorify Himself and us by making us like Jesus Christ.

Verse 34 asks the third question, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

Who is to condemn us? The answer is Jesus could condemn us. He is the righteous one, who died and has risen. He has the moral authority to condemn us.

John 8:10-11 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Satan and people cannot condemn us. All they can do is accuse us. However, Jesus, who could condemn us, died to atone for our sin, rose from the grave, and now He sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us instead of condemning us.

Remember the first verse in this chapter, Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

There are only two kinds of people. You are either in Christ or you’re out of Christ. If you are in Christ, there is no condemnation upon your life, but if you are outside Christ, the guilt and condemnation for your sin remains upon you.

So, if Jesus is interceding for us, who is to condemn? The answer is: Nobody!

That leaves us with the fourth question in this passage of scripture. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Again, the quick answer is nobody. But then, the apostle Paul gives us several categories of things that are also unable to separate us from the love of Christ. Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

These emotional and physical situations may feel like God has separated His love from us. But God is using these situations to accomplish good and to accomplish His purpose. During these situations, our life in the Spirit can shine the brightest. If we trust Him, it is during these trials that our faith and power to witness for Christ is the most effective.

Paul and the apostles, who suffered all these things, were confident in the love of Christ. Their witness was powerful. Their confidence in God’s love, while suffering unjustly, convinced many to believe in Jesus. Many hated them as well. But, their hatred didn’t faze the apostles, as Paul quotes Psalm 44:22 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

In the first century, Christians were being put to death by the thousands in the Roman Empire. To those Roman Christians, the word “sword” was a real possible way they might be separated from this world. Therefore, I imagine they were encouraged to know their death would accomplish the good God purposed, for death could not separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Yes, they can kill our body, but they cannot kill our life in the Spirit. They cannot separate us from our Father’s love. They just free us from this body of corruption to enjoy the inheritance we have as children of God. The very worst the world can throw at us cannot separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord!

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

The fearless way we die, the hope we have as we face death—these testify to our persecutors and to the world that we are confident of Christ’s love and His gift of eternal life. Death does not separate us from Him. It brings us into His presence.

I heard about a man who was having his tombstone prepared. He said, “I don’t want you to put on there the date when I was born and the date that I died. Instead, I want to have my name, then I want to put the date ‘born again’, and then the next date to be ‘transferred to heaven’”.

I like that! It describes our life in the Spirit! Death can’t separate us, life can’t separate us, nothing we experience on earth can separate us from the love of God. Neither can anything in Heaven or Hell separate us from the love of God!

I don’t know who wrote this, but they said, “God, I may fall flat on my face. I may fail until I feel old and beaten and done in. Yet your love for me is changeless. All the music may go out of my life. My private world may shatter to dust. Even so, you will hold me in the palm of Your steady hand. No turn in the affairs of my fractured life can baffle you. Satan with all of his braggadocio cannot distract you. Nothing can separate me from your measureless love. Pain can’t; disappointment can’t; anguish can’t. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow can’t. The loss of my dearest love can’t. Death can’t, life can’t, riots, wars, demons, dementia, hunger, poverty, disease—none of these things, nor all of them heaped together can budge the fact that I am dearly loved, completely forgiven, and forever free through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son.”

Verses 38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Are you sure of the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord? If you have a life in the Spirit, the Spirit bears witness that you are God’s child and makes you sure of His love. If you lack that confidence, perhaps you lack the Holy Spirit. In that case, you need to repent of whatever is causing this. Give your life totally to Christ and ask the Father to fill you with the Holy Spirit.

It could be you need salvation. If that is the case, publicly confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, repent of your sin, and give your life to Christ by following Him in baptism. Then you will be born again of the Spirit, who will make you sure of God’s love.

   May 2019   
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