ROMANS 8:34-39 NOTHING SHALL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD
Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)
Ro 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Ro 8:34;
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
Even He cannot do both, accuse and justify at the same time. And since our justification resides in a Person, the Lord Jesus our righteousness, in whom we stand as uncondemned and unchargeable as the Son Himself, it is impossible, after having been justified, that we be again accused—and brought under condemnation.”
Jesus Christ is God’s appointed Judge
Joh 5:22 "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 27 "and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
Ac 17:31 "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
So Paul answered this question by stating, Christ Jesus. But Jesus is the very One whom the believer has trusted for salvation
Paul cited four reasons.
- First, He died for us and thereby removed our guilt. 1Th 5:10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
- Second, He arose from the dead and is therefore able to give life to those who trust Him (cf. John 11:25;
John 14:19 "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.).
- Third, He has ascended to the position of supreme authority in heaven where He represents us (v. 29).
- Fourth, He presently intercedes to the Father for our welfare Heb. 4:14-16;
Heb 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.; cf. Rom. 8:26).
1Jo 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous
Peter sinned against the Lord, but he was forgiven and restored to fellowship because of Jesus Christ. Luke 22:31–32 “Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has asked permission to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed especially for you that your own faith may not utterly fail”. He is interceding for each of us, a ministry that assures us that we are secure.
Certainly the Judge will not condemn His own who are in Him by faith! (cf. Rom. 8:1)
We may accuse ourselves, and men may accuse us; but God will never take us to court and accuse us. Jesus has already paid the penalty and we are secure in Him.
Through such love we are more than conquerors over all things (35-39)
In Romans 8:31–34 Paul proved that God cannot fail us, but is it possible that we can fail Him? Suppose some great trial or temptation comes, and we fail? Then what? Paul deals with that problem in this final section and explains that nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ.
Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Joh 10:29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.
Present trials and sufferings are not an indication that God has withdrawn His love from us. The context (vv. 37, 39) shows that “the love of Christ” is His love for believers (not their love for Him; cf. 5:5) Even though the Father allowed His Son to suffer, He did not stop loving Him. The Father deals with His adopted sons as He dealt with His Unique Son (cf. John 16:33). Paul suggested seven things, in increasing intensity, that a believer might experience—and he experienced them all (2 Cor. 11:23-28)—that some might think could come between a believer and Christ's love.
trouble (thilpsis, “pressure or distress”; mentioned frequently by Paul in 2 Cor.) or hardship (stenochōria, lit., “narrowness,” i.e., being pressed in, hemmed in, crowded) or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword. These things—stated in increasing intensity—do not separate Christians from Christ; instead they are part of the “all things” (Rom. 8:28) God uses to bring them to conformity to His Son.
Then Paul quoted Psalm 44:22 in verse 36 to remind his readers that in this life the people of God must face much affliction (cf. John 16:33) including even martyrdom for some. In the early days of the church one or more Christians were martyred every day, or faced the possibility of it. Their persecutors valued Christians’ lives as nothing more than animals to be butchered.
36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
Suffering has always been the portion of the righteous (Ps. 44:22). The sufferings in view are the consequence of our identification with Christ.
Ac 5:41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.; 1 Pet. 2:21-25; 4:14-19).
Ro 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
In all these adversities (cf. “all things” in Rom. 8:28 and “all things” in v. 32 with all these things in v. 37), rather than being separated from Christ’s love, believers are more than conquerors (pres. tense, hypernikōmen, “keep on being conquerors to a greater degree” or “keep on winning a glorious victory”) through Him who loved us. Jesus Christ and His love for believers enable them to triumph (cf. 2 Cor. 2:14).
Verses 37-39 express very eloquently the impregnability of our position as believers. "In all these things" is possibly the translation of a Hebraism meaning "despite all these things."
The Greek word hypernikomen suggests "hyper-conquerors." Our victory is sure! The Cross is the great proof of God's love for us, and it is the basis for our victory. It proves that God is for us (v. 31).
Ro 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
God will continue to love us when we die, and He will continue to love us whatever may befall us now. He loves us on both sides of the grave. Helpful or hostile angelic beings cannot change God's commitment to us. Nothing that the present or future may hold can do so either. No force of any kind can remove us from His loving care.
Paul listed the extremities of existence in this verse and the next.
Paul then ended his discussion on believers’ safety in Jesus Christ and the certainty of their sanctification with a positive declaration—For I am convinced (perf. Tense (something that is completed), “I stand convinced”; cf. 15:14) that nothing can separate believers from the love of God (God’s love for them, not their love for God; cf. v. 35).
Paul’s list of 10 items begins with death, where the list of 7 items in verse 35 ended. These elements in God’s universe include the extremes of existence:
The items mentioned are those that people dread (life, death, supernatural powers, above, below, any creature to cover any omissions).
(2) or life, believers are in God’s presence); the extremes of created spiritual armies:
2Co 5:8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
(3) angels and (4) demons (angels would not and demons could not undo God’s relationship with His redeemed ones);
(4) the extremes in time:
(5) the present and
(6) the future (nothing known now, e.g., the hardships listed in Rom. 8:35, or in the unknown time to come); spiritual enemies:
(7) powers (perhaps Satan and his demons; cf. Eph. 6:12; or possibly human governments);
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(8) height and
(9) depth (nothing overhead or underneath can suddenly come swooping down or up to sever believers from God’s love); the extremes in space: Space cannot separate us from His loving care either.
Paul may have used height and depth as astrological terms that were familiar in his day, hupsōma (height) referring to the high point, or zenith, of a star’s path, and bathos (depth) to its lowest point. If so, the idea is that Christ’s love secures a believer from the beginning to the end of life’s path. Or perhaps he used the terms to signify the infinity of space, which is endless in every direction. Either way, the basic meaning is that of
(10) and everything in the entire created realm. Absolutely nothing in His Creation can thwart His purpose for believers in Christ. What a climactic way to affirm the certainty of believers’ salvation!
Finally nothing in all creation can drive a wedge between the loving God and His redeemed people. That must include the behavior and belief of His own children as well. Not even the redeemed can remove themselves from God's love, which Christ Jesus has secured for them!
A review of this great chapter shows that the Christian is completely victorious.
We are free from judgment because Christ died for us and we have His righteousness.
- We are free from defeat because Christ lives in us by His Spirit and we share His life.
- We are free from discouragement because Christ is coming for us and we shall share His glory.
- We are free from fear because Christ intercedes for us and we cannot be separated from His love.
If God be for us, who can be against us!
Donald Grey Barnhouse told a personal story that beautifully illustrates death’s powerlessness over Christians. When his wife died, his children were still quite young, and Dr. Barnhouse wondered how he could explain their mother’s death in a way their childish minds could understand. As they drove home from the funeral, a large truck passed them and briefly cast a dark shadow over the car. Immediately the father had the illustration he was looking for, and he asked the children, “Would you rather be run over by a truck or by the shadow of a truck?” “That’s easy, Daddy,” they replied. “We would rather get run over by the shadow, because that wouldn’t hurt.” Their father then said, “Well, children, your mother just went through the valley of the shadow of death, and there’s no pain there, either.”