Summary: #11 (and final) in my Romans 8 - What a Way to Live! series. It first summarizes the rest of the chapter, and uses extended allegory of the Trojan war to describe inseparable love.
Romans 8:38-39 – To Be Loved
(NOTE: to get the full effect of the Trojan War illustration, you may want to research this more than I have written. Watching "Troy" is a help, too.)
Well, we’ve made it. We spent all fall studying Romans 8, and I must admit, I’m ready for a change. Perhaps you are too. Next week, we will start a short Christmas series based on Galatians 4:4, which says that Jesus was born when the time had fully come, when God was ready, when the world was ready. We are going to look at why God chose when He did to send Jesus into the world.
But today, we conclude Romans 8, verses 38 and 39. And it is a grand conclusion to a wonderful passage. We have seen that those who are in Christ, those who trust Christ for their future in heaven and for their getting through this life, for those people, there is no condemnation. We have passed from judgement to forgiveness. We are not under some sort of curse, but we are free. We don’t have to work for our salvation. Good deeds do not earn us heaven, but they are proof to God that we have accepted His offer of being snatched from the jaws of punishment.
And the law, the lists of rules and standards that we considered impossible to reach, Jesus brought down to our level. He fulfilled what was required for us, so faith in Jesus, faith in His goodness and not in our own, is all that is needed on an ongoing basis to be right with God.
And ultimately, for us to live to please Him, to do what He wants and not what we want, should be the trademark of a Christian’s life. I’m not saying it’s easy, but Paul showed us that a Christian, a believer, someone who has been changed, no longer has the right to make himself happy. It’s our job to make God happy. And when a Christian lives to please himself or herself, that shows there is something wrong in their heart.
Because after all, we don’t have to sin. We can be free. I’m not saying that we are perfect, and I’m not saying that Christians never sin or are incapable of sinning. I’m not saying it is not possible to sin. I am saying it is possible not to sin. Our performances may be far from perfect. Still, since Jesus told us to be perfect in Matthew 5, and it was in the context of love, we can have a perfect love. We can love God with everything in us. I love my wife, but I am far from perfect. I may have made mistakes, but I didn’t deliberately set out to hurt her feelings either. In a sense, that is perfect love. And that’s what God asks and requires of us: “I don’t expect you to be flawless, but I expect you not to go out and on purpose do something that you know is wrong.” That’s freedom. That’s love. That’s part of what we have as Christians.
Paul went on further to describe our connection with God more as a father/child relationship than a master/servant arrangement. Paul said we could call God Father, Daddy, rather than a formal “sir” or “mister”. And as His children, He has so much prepared for us.
Granted, that also includes suffering. We go through life, each of us, with a certain amount of pain and trouble. But the good news is, there is an end to it. It will not last forever. Paul told us to keep our eyes on eternity instead of what we see around us. Things will be better someday. What’s more, we will be repaid for all the sorrows we face with dignity and trust. Christians will be more than reimbursed for our troubles when we get to heaven.
And even the difficulties we face now, God has not left us alone in. Our prayers, which seem so flimsy and powerless, God can make sense of. He doesn’t ask for eloquence or perfection. He just asks that we pray and mean what we say.
And so, because of all this, all this grace and mercy, all this forgiveness and hope, what can we say? God is for us. He is on our side. No matter what others may do to us, we need to live for Him and His approval alone. In the end, that’s all that matters. That’s the life that God has called to. That’s an amazing life.
Because of His amazing love. Let’s read v38-39. In preparing for this message today, I came across a story in the book The Sacred Romance, by John Eldredge. The story told of a woman who started a war. He just mentioned the story in passing, but I was fascinated by it, so I am going to elaborate a little bit on Helen of Troy.