Daily Devotion (109): Sunday 5th July 2020: ‘Love’ Part 6
Galatians 5:22 …the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 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? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 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. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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.
Those last words, from chapter 8 of Paul’s letter to the Christians living in Rome, are very famous.
The Christians in that city, the centre of the mighty Roman empire, knew that following Christ in the midst of that Pagan culture, would lead to hardship for them. Paul’s quote from Psalm 44:22 (Romans 8:36) would have felt very real to them. Roman emperors would kill Christians – they would be ‘regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ The powers of Rome would feel great and oppressive, stifling, killing.
But Paul reminds these fragile Christians of something that is greater and mightier than anything the mind of humanity could ever devise or plot, greater in fact than any natural power, or spiritual force, greater even than death – the all-conquering, invincible and eternal love of God. Not a love earned or merited. Love graciously laid upon His people by our God who simply loves to love. And a love that no barrier can ever stop. This is the deepest ever love driven by the heart of our almighty, all-powerful God – perfect love, driven by an unstoppable God.
God’s love is shown in what He has done for His people (8:31-34). Our sin, and the punishment we deserve for it, carried by Jesus on the Cross. The result? No-one can condemn the Christian for their sin – God is the judge, and He has dealt with the punishment. Paul actually says ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1). Our sin is dealt with, and so too is our future. ‘No condemnation’ means that the ‘no entry’ sign to Heaven is removed. Past dealt with… future secured.
But what of the present? That’s what Paul addresses in 8:35-39. In the present nothing can separate us from God’s presence and His love for us. That doesn’t mean that the problems of this life are taken away (think about those Roman Christians) but it does mean that, even in the hardest of times, we can fix our eyes on the glorious future that is ours ‘in Christ.’
So, when the darkness of the coronavirus weighs thick and heavy, or when we are grieved by our own failings and sin, we must re-orientate our thinking around the love of God. A love that has dealt with the past, has secured our future, and, in the present, will never leave us. Let’s lift our eyes to our God whose love overcomes everything, and let’s place our faith in Him.
to continue - click here