“I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Consider the author of these lofty, poetic words: Paul—a man who endured beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, danger, sleepless nights, extreme hunger and thirst, and exposure to the elements (1).
Yet in spite of all these hardships, Paul never thought, Maybe God doesn’t love me anymore. No, he was convinced otherwise. And he wanted to assure his readers, including us today, that nothing can come between the believer and his/her God:
“Neither death nor life…”
Every moment of our lives God is watching over us, working out his plans that will achieve the highest good. Sometimes that includes suffering, for reasons we don’t always understand.
But consider: the greatest tragedy of history, the cruel torture and death of God’s perfect Son on a cross, brought about the most glorious consequence–the eternal salvation of all who believe (2).
And when we die? God will still be watching over us (3). Visit a dying Christian and you will be the one encouraged by their God-given peace, joy, and expectation.
“Neither angels nor demons…”
Long ago, the rabbis believed some angels were grudgingly hostile to men, not wanting to share God with earthly creatures. Perhaps Paul was saying, “Even jealous angels can do nothing to separate us from God’s love” (William Barclay).
As for demons, they were defeated when Jesus died on the cross (4). Granted, they may prowl around and cause mischief, but they are powerless to sever us from God’s love. Their teeth were removed at Calvary!
“Neither the present nor the future…”
Sometimes we worry about the future. Will we be able to handle potential calamities down the road? Or, perhaps it’s the present that’s unbearable, and we wonder if better days will ever dawn.
But our omniscient God has never been surprised by any turn of events. What he says here (through Paul) is a guaranteed promise: nothing present or future—no circumstance–can separate us from his loving presence.
“Nor any powers…”
All powers of the universe—whether physical or spiritual—are subject to God, because he alone is the Omnipotent One. No one supersedes him.
“Neither height nor depth…”
Many in Paul’s day believed that the star a person was born under controlled that person’s destiny. Height referred to a star’s zenith; depth to the star’s lowest point in the sky. Paul may have been assuring his readers that the stars have no power over our lives.
By contrast, our Star of David, Jesus, is like the North Star. He never waxes and wanes; he never changes. And his love is present everywhere (5).
“Nor anything else in all creation…”
No circumstance, no place, no person can remove us from God’s love. “God never loses his loving grip on his children” (Keith Krell, www.bible.org).
And so Paul covered every eventuality that might separate us from the love of God and assured us: It. Can’t. Happen. Surely, if Paul was convinced, after all he suffered, shouldn’t we be convinced as well?
* * * * * * * * * *
Day after day, Father, you express your love to us: forgiving our sins, transforming our spirits, defending us from spiritual enemies, showering us with blessings. We praise you for the warm embrace of your love—a love that spans all time and space, overcomes all pain and suffering, and defeats every foe! “Because your love is better than life, [our] lips will glorify you” (6).
(1) 2 Corinthians 11:25-27
(2) John 3:16
(3) Psalm 23:4
(4) Colossians 2:15
(5) Psalm 139:7-10
(6) Psalm 63:3