Summary: Romans 8 gives us a great picture of God's love both "in us" and "for us."
God's Gift of Love
* James 1:17 says, “Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.” Think about those two things, “generous acts & perfect gifts.” Isn't this what we like to give to our loved ones? Listen, we are God's loved ones and He lavishes on us gifts (good, perfect, and generous) which we don't deserve and honestly, don't handle very well.
* The picture of mankind is not a pretty picture. We took paradise and made it a place of sin. Losing paradise, we descended into some pretty terrible sins. (ie disobedience, arrogance, jealousy, murder, etc). It is no stretch of the imagination to say that we “broke God's heart.” Theologians may take issue with the sovereignty issue, but from man's perspective, God didn't give us paradise to take it away from us. God gave us paradise because we are His crown creation and He loves us with an everlasting love. It is His gift to us and it is still reaching to you and I (in many dimensions)
1. The Love of God For Us – Chapter one begins with greatest encouragement of God's love that could be given to mankind. (Read verse 1 & 2) For us who have been condemned by our sin, it is God's love for us that has made the way for us to be a part of the 'no condemnation' crowd. Verse 31 asks us 2 rhetorical questions which Paul answers by explaining God's love.
a) The Depth of His Love – V32 – I remember a song from about 15 years ago which say this: How deep the Father's love for us:
How vast beyond all measure That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away As wounds which mar the Chosen One.
* Today it appears that we have lost the wonder of God's sacrificial gift of His Son for us. God love is SO DEEP for us that He didn't withhold even His Son, but offered, gave, even delivered Him up for us all. The Greek language gives us the same sentiment which the Hebrew echoes in the Old Testament with Abraham and Isaac. God said to Abraham, “I know you love me because you didn't even withhold your Son from me.” What how similar this is for us; “God's love has been poured out on us and He demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us.” The depth of God's love is like the roots of a tree, the deeper they are the stronger they last.
b) The Design of His Love – V34 – This is a simple, yet powerful design; Christ died for our sin, was raised for our justification (making us right before the Father, and NOW He is at God's right hand interceding.
* People will say that “God is Love” and while this is true, the only way one can KNOW the full, redeeming love of God is through the person of His Son, our Lord Jesus. The power of God's designed is found in the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
c) The Determination of His Love – V35 – Personally, verse 35 is the all time greatest statement and affirmation of God's love. “Who or what shall separate us from the Love of our Lord?” Can affliction, danger, persecution, famine, nakedness, or sword? No! They may cause US to hurt or distress or even doubt, but make no mistake God's love is always present. (Verse 1 & 4 of “The Love of God”) The love of God is not only vast, it is determined. It is determined to reach us wherever we are, whatever we've done. Some say, “I've lived a horrendous life,” God says, “I still love you. Come to me, cast your burden on me because I love you.” In the aftermath of Tiger Woods debacle, commentator Brent Hume appeared on the Fox News Sunday and offered Tiger, who is a practicing Buddhist, that only Christianity offers what he needs to overcome his difficulties. The love of God reaches past the shackles of our minds.
2. The Love of God In Us – V36 – Look at verse 36 and then ask, “How can this verse speak of God's love in us?” Let me counter with a couple of inquiries of my own; standing in front of the Lion's Den, was God's love working in Daniel? Feeling the heat from the fiery furnace, did the Hebrew boys know the love of God? When Stephen was preaching to the crowd as they were looking for rock to throw, was Stephen devoid of God's love? NO! The love of God does not necessarily keep us from the trials, but sees us through!