Summary: Nothing--absolutely nothing--can separate us from God's love.
Romans 8:26-39 “Inseparable”
Love comes in many shapes and sizes. At times is appears as a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers. Love is sometimes seen as patiently waiting while one’s significant other tries on several outfits, or going to an action flick even though you hate to go to a movie that has no plot and no sentence over four words long. Love is laughter and hugs. Stern words and groundings can also be expressions of love. The list of shapes that love takes in our lives is almost endless.
Paul changes the focus of his attention in the passage from freedom and hope to love. He lists several ways that Christians experience God’s love in their lives—no matter what their outward circumstances are.
As a congregation, we say that prayer is very important to us. We have a prayer team, prayer on our land, and a prayer calendar where a member of Desert Streams is highlighted each day. We start and end our congregational meetings with prayer. We strive to have prayer at the core of our lives.
When people are in need, we surround them in prayer. Several times people have commented to me how strengthening it is for them to know that people are praying for them. They wonder how people can go through some of the experiences of life without a faith or belonging to a congregation.
Paul writes that it is not only fellow Christians who pray for us, but also the Holy Spirit and Jesus. These are expressions of God’s love for us. In verse 26, Paul writes that the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. Paul also states in verse 34 that Jesus is at the right hand side of God and is interceding for us, also. Wow! Talk about powerful! Talk about love! God loves us so much that he prays for us. We have significant, mighty prayer partners!
Not only does the Spirit and Jesus interceded for us, but Paul writes that the Spirit intercedes for us according to God’s will. There are so many situations when we simply do not know how to pray—what to ask for. Even when we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit is there interceding for us.
One of the greatest expressions of love is prayer.
Paul continues by telling his readers that all things work for the good. They will work out for good, because God is in control. Paul talks about being predestined, called, justified and glorified. All these words underscore the one concept that God has everything in his hands—even when it doesn’t really seem like it. Yes, Paul knows about tragedies too horrible for words—tragedies that it doesn’t seem anything good can come out of it. Still Paul writes, and I proclaim to you, that all things work together for good, for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
God, who created the universe and who raised Jesus from the dead, is powerful enough to create something good out of the greatest evil. God did this with the cross of Christ, and God continues to move in a similar way in our lives.
God’s presence, power, love and grace enable us to be more than conquerors. We need to clarify what Paul means by the word conqueror. In the United States we think of conqueror and imagine Super bowl champions, military victories—anything where power and right triumphs over weakness and evil. This is not God’s idea of conquering.
• Jesus won the greatest victory on the cross. The conqueror was a beaten man hanging on a cross. But in that event, love triumphed over evil and Jesus (along with us) won the victory over sin, death, and the devil.
• Conquerors may be people who overcome their fear in order to take up their crosses, follow Jesus, and live sacrificial lives.
• Conquerors may be people who overcome prejudices in order to love the weak, neglected, powerless, or unlovable.
• Conquerors may those who know peace—the peace that passes all understanding—in the midst of strife and chaos.
Love inspires God to move powerfully in our lives.
God’s love has been described as steadfast, constant, and unwavering. This almost unimaginable love is what Paul celebrates in the last verses of this passage.
God’s love for us is so great that absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love.
• There is no circumstance so terrible that it separates us from God’s love. God is there with us even if we do not sense God’s presence, or struggle to understand why God allowed us to experience the tragedy. Perhaps you saw the interview with Jaycee Duggard, who was kidnapped for eighteen years. Her circumstances were terrible, but she still clung to hope. We would say that God was with her—that she was never separated from God’s love even though she was separated from her mother.