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Romans 8:35-39 (v35)

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(read 8:35-39).
We’ve just spoken about the wonderful care that God provides for us in salvation.
Which is laid out for us in vv31-34 of God being for us and if He’s for us
it doesn’t matter who’s against us.
God didn’t even spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all,
so how’s He not going to supply everything we need to complete that work that He so sacrificially began?
There’s no charge that is going to stick against God’s chosen people because the Most High judge has already ruled in our favor.
We are out from under the condemnation of Almighty God in that Christ has been condemned already as our substitute.
Those are the wonderful and amazing facts of our salvation. God’s care for us.
We come to another wonderful lesson for us to learn, which is:
Nothing can separate a believer from the love of Jesus, which is the love of God.
35 "Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 "As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 37 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” ()
Here’s the main thought:
It’s the usual portion for you and I, as followers of Christ, in the carrying out of our gospel duties to run into many troubles. But that none of these troubles are able to dissolve the union between them and Christ. (v35-36)
But that none of these troubles are able to dissolve the union between them and Christ.
And though the troubles are many, they will not slip but will overcome, yes more than overcome. (v37)
The world’s values, entertainments, and sins are at odds with a believer’s great calling and destiny.
Yet all Christians can know that none of these things can triumph over them.
Like a mountain climber ascending a dangerous precipice behind his guide, secured only by a rope,
the Christian walks through life secured by the stout cord of God’s love.
Because the way is treacherous, any believer may often slip and fall.
But a disciple of Jesus Christ is secure,
because every Christian is bound to God by a gracious, unchanging, eternal, and indestructible love.
No one can oppose believers because God is for them.
There is no limit to God’s generosity to those He loves.
There is no ground on which to accuse believers. And no one can condemn them.
All of this Paul has affirmed through his rhetorical questions as he has sought to sum up the thrust of his arguments in the first half of Romans.
I’ve entitled this message: “Is anything left?”
Is there anything at all that “can separate us from the love of Christ?”
God in the Son has set His love on a people of His own choosing and has provided a great salvation for them.
Since it is the sovereign God who has done this, can anything rob them of this salvation?
Are there circumstances that can cause Christ to turn His love away from us?
In other words, can anything possibly thwart God’s design?
There’s no greater circumstances can be imagined than the ones given here!
Let’s look at the Possible Price to be paid.
35 "Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 "As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.” ()
The Holy Spirit records 7 possibilities to separation. Suggesting something of the completeness.
These are great forces, yet although they are great, all of them will fail.
So let’s ask: “Can affliction”?
If you have a KJV it’s the word tribulation.
This is a word that has to do with pressure.
The English word tribulation comes directly from the Latin noun tribulum, which meant a “threshing sledge.”
In the ancient world at the time of the grain harvest, the stalks of grain were brought to the threshing floor and a wooden threshing instrument,
like a sled covered on the bottom with strips of metal, was dragged over the stalks to separate the heads of grain from the chaff.
ike a sled covered on the bottom with strips of metal, was dragged over the stalks to separate the heads of grain from the chaff.
This instrument was called a tribulum because it pressed out the grain.
This vivid picture produced the idea embodied in the word tribulation,
because circumstances frequently press down on people so forcefully and unremittingly
that it seems to them that they are being threshed like stalks of grain.
Perhaps you have experienced such harsh pressures.
Life has been hard.
You may have
been abused as a child, have
lost your job, have
been deprived of a husband or wife or other family member, have
undergone severe illness.
Your strength may be nearly gone.
But, says Paul, you may know that no tribulation, however severe, will separate you from Christ’s love.
Next word. “distress”. This is hardship.
This is a different idea. This Greek word comes from two different words.
Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, p. 985). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Which mean “narrow” (stenos) and “space” or “territory” (chōra) respectively.
So the idea is not so much that of being pressed down by circumstances, which is what “tribulation” means,
but rather that of being confined within a narrow and oppressive space.
You think of a man who is in a dead-end job.
He entered his company with hopes for advancement, but he is now in his late forties and has been passed over for promotions several times.
It is getting to where he cannot make a good lateral move, and he knows he will not move up much in the company, if at all.
Meanwhile, he is married, with a wife and children to support and a mortgage to pay.
He sometimes thinks of being free of these confining circumstances, but he knows that he cannot break free and still honor his commitments.
How are you to triumph in such circumstances?
The best way is to realize that Jesus Christ, the very Son of God,
has fixed his love upon you
and that nothing is ever going to separate you from his love.
You may be in narrow straits now, but you are an heir of heaven, and one day
your horizons will be as vast as the universe and as soaring as the stars.
Nothing will deprive you of this destiny, because nothing, not even distress (hardship), will be able to separate you from Christ’s love.
How about “persecution”? This word contains the idea of being pursued by someone intent on our harm.
It denotes harm that is relentless.
What about such relentless persecutions?
Very few of us suffer much outright persecution today, though Christians in other parts of the world endure it.
But there are subtle persecutions, and there will undoubtedly be stronger and more outright persecutions
if the present secularizing trends of western life continue.
Two things we can be sure of:
(1) persecutions are a normal response to any forthright Christian witness or stand, and
(2) we will experience them to the extent that we confront the world with Christ’s claims.
Jesus said, “...You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” ()
Persecutions may separate us from a more well-paid worldly future or
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
a more attractive image before the world,
but persecutions will never separate us from Christ’s love.
“famine”. Most of the ancient world experienced famine at one time or another.
Famine could result from lack of rain and the failure of crops; from natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods, or locust plagues; or from war.
Since those factors still exist today, hunger has not been eliminated for much of the world’s population,
despite technological advances in agricultural methods and the humanitarian efforts of those more fortunate.
Hunger is a terrible thing. But even this cannot detach us from Christ, says Paul.
“nakedness”. In Paul’s day this had to do with poverty so severe that the person so afflicted was unable to buy the clothes he or she needed.
It is a corresponding term to famine and, like it, may refer to economic hard times deriving from natural disasters or war.
5. Nakedness. Today this word usually implies the state of undress normally associated with sexual activity or pornography. But in Paul’s day it had to do more with poverty so severe that the person so afflicted was unable to buy the clothes he or she needed. It is a corresponding term to famine and, like it, may refer to economic hard times deriving from natural disasters or war.
“danger”. Dangers, too, are of various types, though the focus here is on those to which Christians are exposed simply because they are Christians.
Just as in New Testament times, in some countries Christians are arrested, tried, and imprisoned.
In others they are attacked, beaten, and even killed.
Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, pp. 986–987). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, p. 987). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
“sword”. The last of these seven terms pushes the violence implied in the earlier ones to their furthest extremity,
The last of these seven terms pushes the violence implied in the earlier ones to their furthest extremity, viewing circumstances in which Christians are executed or even murdered for their faith.
viewing circumstances in which Christians are executed or even murdered for their faith.
This happened in the early church.
Stephen was an early martyr. So was James. Others followed, and there was soon
a trail of Christian blood to mark the progress of the gospel from land to land and through history.
So frequent and so vivid had this been, even by the time Paul wrote Romans,
that the apostle felt compelled to establish martyrdom as a prophesied biblical experience, which he does by quoting :
Let’s read 36 "As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.” ()
The quotation is from , where the psalmist laments the fact that God has apparently rejected and humbled his people,
something he could understand if they had not been faithful.
Kruse, C. G. (2012). Paul’s Letter to the Romans. (D. A. Carson, Ed.) (p. 363). Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos.
Because the psalmist believes they had been faithful,
he thinks their suffering has been for God’s sake, and so calls upon God to rise up and redeem them.
But the psalmist still trusts in God despite their suffering circumstances.
He says, 4 "You are my King, my God, who ordains victories for Jacob.” () 8 "We boast in God all day long; we will praise your name forever.” ()
The apostle understood that suffering for the sake of Christ meant entering into closer communion with him.
Such suffering was gain, not loss.
Where did Paul learn this lesson?
Paul knew the teaching of Jesus. It was Jesus who had said:
10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. 11 "“You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. 12 "Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” ()
There is a real Possible Question of the Price to be Paid (vv35,36)
Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, p. 291). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
Then we have the Specific Answer to Success will be Secured.
37 "No {That’s the answer. It’s very specific}, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” ()
The followers of Christ may be ‘considered as sheep to be slaughtered’, but even this cannot separate them from the love of Christ.
It literally reads: “we are completely victorious” !!
Kruse, C. G. (2012). Paul’s Letter to the Romans. (D. A. Carson, Ed.) (pp. 363–364). Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos.
The two predominant NT uses of ‘to overcome’ are
(i) in relation to believers being victorious over pressure from those who would lead them astray doctrinally (, ; ; , ), and
(ii) in relation to believers being victorious in face of trouble and persecution by not denying their faith in Christ even in the face of death (, , ; ; ).
Which is the meaning of being ‘more than conquerors’ in 8:37.
Believers are ‘more than conquerors’ when they refuse to deny their Lord even when they are ‘considered as sheep to be slaughtered’.
Kruse, C. G. (2012). Paul’s Letter to the Romans. (D. A. Carson, Ed.) (p. 364). Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos.
Their victory is achieved ‘through him who loved us’, that is,
through the Lord Jesus Christ, who stands beside his followers and strengthens them when they face persecution for His name’s sake (cf. ; )
Just like Paul 9 "The Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. 10 "For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 "He stayed there a year and a half, teaching the word of God among them.” ()
16 "At my first defense, no one stood by me, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them. 17 "But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that I might fully preach the word and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 "The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.” ()
So the promise of v37 is meant to do what to us brothers and sister?
God has a cause in Roselawn, Demotte, Schneider.
And I want you to see that it’s right to risk everything for the cause of God.
The bible has plenty of risk takers.
Joab. Completely surrounded by the Ammonites in . said, 11 "“If the Arameans are too strong for me,” Joab said, “then you will be my help. However, if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I’ll come to help you. 12 "Be strong! Let’s prove ourselves strong for our people and for the cities of our God. May the Lord’s will be done.”” ()
To Esther, who risked her life for the Jewish people in exile, and said, 16 "“Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.”” ()
TO Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who stood unflinching before the fiery furnace and said, 18 "But even if he does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”” ()
To the Apostle Paul, whose life seemed to always be at risk, said: 24 "But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” ()
And we concluded from these accounts in Scripture, that it is right to risk for the cause of God.
God does not mean for us to know what our future will be in this world, and
he does not want our response to that uncertainty to be fear or paralysis or
Piper, J. (2007). Sermons from John Piper (1980–1989). Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God.
the love of security or excessive caution;
instead He teaches us again and again to risk for the cause of God.
Are you challenged towards:
Risks in relationships for the sake of righteousness and authenticity.
• Risks with our money for the cause of the gospel.
Risks with our money for the cause of the gospel.
Risks in our personal witnessing to the truth and beauty of Christ.
• Risks in our personal witnessing to the truth and beauty of Christ.
• Risks in ministry ventures.
Risks in ministry ventures.
Have you ever heard these words from Jesus?
Piper, J. (2007). Sermons from John Piper (1980–1989). Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God.
16 "You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you.” ()
Focus on the word “some”. For some, obedience to Christ will result in suffering and death.
For some, not for all. And neither you nor I will know whether we are in that number.
Piper, J. (2007). Sermons from John Piper (1980–1989). Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God.
Therefore obedience is always a risk.
This is the will of God, and therefore it is right to risk for the cause of God.
I trust that the power and the motive behind any risk taking for God isn’t heroism, or the desire for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s good will.
Our text this morning teaches us that the power behind all biblical risk for the cause of God is faith in the triumphant love of God.
That the strength to risk losing face for the sake of Christ is
the faith that God’s love will lift up your face in the end and vindicate your cause;
the strength to risk losing face for the sake of Christ is the faith that God’s love will lift up your face in the end and vindicate your cause;
that the strength to risk losing money for the cause of the gospel is
the faith that we have a treasure in the heavens that cannot fail;
• that the strength to risk losing money for the cause of the gospel is the faith that we have a treasure in the heavens that cannot fail;
that the strength to risk losing life in this world is faith in
• that the strength to risk losing life in this world is faith in the promise that he who loses his life in this world will save it for the age to come.
the promise that he who loses his life in this world will save it for the age to come.
This is very different from heroism, and self-reliance.
When we risk our face and money and
life because we believe God will always catch us and turn our loss into glory,
then it’s not we who get the praise because of our courage;
it’s God who gets the praise because of His care.
Piper, J. (2007). Sermons from John Piper (1980–1989). Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God.
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