The Impenetrable Love of God.

Romans 8 concludes with a strong emphasis on the truth that God's children can experience no separation from the love of Christ. If God's love is enough to hold the whole body together, how much more so will it hold individual believers eternally secure! There are no people or circumstances that can separate us from God's love.

God's Divine Act Upon Us (Romans 8:35a)

Human love is always temporal, but God's love is eternal. God loved the world before and after sin, in the age of Law and the age of Grace (John 3:16, 13:1). He loved us first (Romans 8:30). This love is reliable because it is based in the person of eternity.

Relatable Experiences Among Us (Romans 8:35b-36)

Paul lists several hardships that he had experienced. Some are ones that every person living on earth will experience, and some are experienced only by believers in Christ. Adding spiritual hardship can make the normal load of life even harder.

  • Tribulation is a general term for affliction. Literally, its Greek form means "squeezed."
  • Distress conveys the image of a narrow space (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • Persecution is specific hardship incurred by the testimony of a Christian life (Matthew 5:10-25).
  • Famine evokes the situation of someone who has been denied their daily need of food because of their testimony.
  • Nakedness is the same idea as famine, applied specifically to the need for protection, shelter, and clothing.
  • Peril refers to imminent danger from a concealed weapon on someone who is targeting specific people. Anyone can experience this threat whether they are a believer or not.

Not all the Roman Christians had experienced these hardships. Paul was preparing the church in easier times for the severe persecution they did not know was coming.

Spiritual Reality For Us (Romans 8:37)

This verse refers to God's electing love (see verse 30) more than how that love is worked out practically. God's love enough to comfort us even when there is no one who can relate to our specific trial. Receiving comfort from someone who has been there is an added blessing (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

Many sports teams were called "dynasties" in the 80s. But their reigns of dominance were only 4-10 years long. Those who are in Christ are truly "more than conquerors." We will never experience a loss in the ultimate spiritual sense, because Jesus Christ has already won on our behalf.

God's love is the love of objective truth (1 John 4:7-11, 2 John 1:6). It is consistent, whether reciprocated or not. The love that we reflect to each other should likewise be based on the Word of God.

Application Points

  • Get in the habit of responding rightly to ordinary hardship. Trust God in normal life so you will always be prepared. We do not know what heavier persecution may be coming.
  • As God's love is based on objective truth, so our love should be based on the Word of God. Are you loving the body of Christ by participating in disciple-making? It's simple: just set aside time to discuss God's Word with another person!

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Ephesians 1:1-13, 1 Peter 1:1-11 – Ways God has chosen to love us.
  • 2 Corinthians 4, 11:23-27 – Paul's hardships.
  • Psalm 44:22 – Affliction common to humanity.
A Hymn to Encourage: "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go"

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.