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. Romans 8:38-39
Romans 8 is about righteousness. It's about sonship. It's about inheritance. But more than anything else, I think Romans 8 is about security. Specifically, security in love.
And don't you think love is one of the shakiest aspects of human existence? The easiest thing to lose. The slipperiest thing to fall out of. The most painful thing to screw up. The hardest thing to force.
I think that Paul's reason for writing what he does in the chapter we've studied is to assure you that what Christ has done for you is completely, irreversibly unshakable. And what is it that Christ has done for you? When you boil off all the theology and all the words, what Christ has done for you is to tether your life, your person, and your whole story to the love of God.
In short, he's reunited you with the one whose love thought you up.
The security Christ has provided for us is not just life-insurance security, or security in our health or finances or even in our relationships. It's security in his love for us, which is the foundation and hope of all that is good. If he loves us, who can get in the way of him blessing us? He's God. His love is powerful. Paul has shown us in this chapter that when God loves you, that love sets off an unbreakable chain of events, beginning with his love and ending with the resurrection of your body into an eternal world of joyful life with him. (Coming soon.)
And the point is, nothing can shake it. Nothing can tear us from him, or disqualify us from his love. Not even your inevitable failures along the way. When you sin, it just becomes another opportunity for him to display his grace and compassion to you, his power in picking you back up again and setting you on your feet.
Today I was thinking of four words that describe why his love is secure - four qualities of the love Paul has spelled out in so many ways in Romans 8.
Continuous love... The security of his love is continuous, like an eternal chain in which no link is missing or broken. He has done all that is needed to make you "fit" for a relationship with him, and now he wants only for you to continue in that. But he's not leaving that up to you either - he's right there with you, intimately, knowing and seeing and hearing all that goes on in your heart, so he can make sure that anything that would make you "unfit" gets weeded out and thrown in the fire. He will make sure you continue in his love because his love is continuous. It will never, ever end, no matter what. He will not skip a day, or an hour, or a minute, of loving you.
Nothing can separate you from his love because his love is continuous.
Firm love... God's love for you is firm, like a rock. It doesn't wobble or crumble or crack when you lean on it. When your sin or your sorrow would strain another person's love for you, his love bears up under the weight of you and is strong. Being firm, his love pushes back. You can lean all your weight on him and it will make you firm, because, pushing on him, you find that he is building your firmness also. Leaning on God doesn't make you weak; it makes you strong like him. He is like the ground under your push-up. His firm love will build you.
Nothing can separate you from his love because his love is firm.
Pure love... Pure like a precious jewel, flawless, God's love for you has no sin. It is supernaturally selfless. There is no hidden corner of God's heart where he has to work through secret grudges he holds against you, or where he has to harbor bitter thoughts about you. There is no selfishness in what he wants for you - he wants only good and as much good as he can muster for you, no matter what the cost. There is no fear of losing you that would make him act greedily towards you, because he knows that his love will draw you back to himself every time. His love is pure like water, and because it is pure it brings you healing and cleanness. His love washes you of all your impurities.
Nothing can separate you from his love because his love is pure.
Evergreen love... We naturally desire green - in our world, the color of life. Romans 8 feeds that healthy, life-oriented desire because it describes all that is spiritually green for us in Christ. We are green because he has chosen not to condemn us. Our future is green because he has redeemed the whole earth and will not leave us forever in crud. But the source of all this green is God's evergreen love for you. It will never die, never grow dry, never fade.
God's love for you "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends" (1 Cor 13:7-8).
We have to spend our whole lives learning and believing and understanding God's love because it is unlike any love we have ever known. Some people in our lives - a faithful spouse, a good mother or father, a loyal friend - can provide pictures of aspects of God's love for seasons, but only God loves us continuously, firmly, and purely in an evergreen way. Only God never dies. He will never leave us. His love is what redeems us, renews us, and gets us to the place we want to be. His love works.
And nothing can separate us from it.
Claim it. I mean, really claim it. Surrender to this amazing love of an eternal God whose love is other-worldly. Tell him today that you want his love, and tell him to show you what that needs to look like. And then watch, wait, and listen. You're not asking for a favor he's reluctant to give. He wants to love you.