Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?(Romans 8:35, ESV)
“Who [or what] shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Do you think tribulation will separate you from Christ’s love? How about distress? Will persecution or famine? If you are in danger or are stripped of your clothes, will that separate you from Christ’s love? What about the sword? Will violence separate you from Christ’s love? In the next few verses, Paul says he is convinced: “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, ESV). Are you convinced? Jesus is love, and he has clearly demonstrated his love!
How about the way you love? Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40, ESV). Let’s put Jesus’ words together with the passage in Romans. Consider this: Will anything affect your love for God? Will something come between Christ and your love for him?
And what will “separate” your love from other people? Will you allow tribulation to diminish your love for others? Will distress keep you from loving God? How about famine or nakedness? Will you allow persecution to stop the flow of your love? Often our love has a limit. We say, “I can only love someone if they don’t do x, y, or z.” I know it is hard for us to love, but let’s look at the way God loves people. God doesn’t say, “I will love, but here is the limit.” No! He is abounding in compassion and abounding in love.
But wait! There’s one more thing! You don’t know what they did to me.I don’t need to know because I know what we did to Jesus Christ. We crucified him—our sin crucified him. He was bruised for our sin, and he became our shame (see Isaiah 53:5 and 2 Cor. 5:21). Yes, you reply. But I am human. I can’t love the way Jesus loves. That is 100% true. But God’s love in you through the Holy Spirit can do it. Allow his Spirit to flow through you and enable you today.
Lord, let my love be modeled after your love so that no one is separated from my love. I cannot do this alone; I need your Holy Spirit to accomplish this. I am trusting you to empower me…. (Continue to pray.)