The second reason why there will be no separation from the love of God is the impotence of everything, when set over against the sovereign love of God toward us in Christ Jesus. What are things, when set over against God? Paul talks about a number of things that might tend to separate us from that love. He talks about sin in verses 33 and 34. Who can bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? Who is going to be able to do that, if God by His love has provided for our redemption? He talks about circumstances: “Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword” separate us from the love of God in Christ (v. 35)? No, circumstances will not separate us. Why? It is not because there are no circumstances. There are genuine hardships, persecutions, famines, nakedness, dangers, and swords. Indeed, the Old Testament itself says there will be. Psalm 44:22 says, “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
We might say to Paul, “Paul, how can you say that? How do you know that these things won’t affect us?” Paul answers that he has been on that route himself. He writes about it in 2 Corinthians:
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and
yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything (6:3-10).
Paul knew what he was talking about. He knew what it was to suffer from difficult circumstances. But his testimony is that the love of God held him firm in the midst of them.
You may say, “Well, I can understand that. But what about supernatural powers? All you have talked about are the kinds of things people can do to other people. What about the supernatural?” Paul argues that not even this can hurt us: “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” (vv. 38, 39).
Do you doubt that? If you do, it is because you have your mind on circumstances and not upon the greatness of God. When the twelve Jewish spies were sent into the Promised Land they were to look it over and come back and report to the people. Ten spies reported that the land was indeed marvelous. Everything God had said about it was true. It flowed with milk and honey. “But we cannot take it,” they said. “The reason we cannot take it is that the people of the land are too strong for us; some of them are even giants.” They said, “When we looked at those giants, we appeared as grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so also did we appear to them” (cf. Num. 13:26-33).
There were two men who did not agree with the majority report, Joshua and Caleb. They said, “Oh, it is true; there are giants.” But they did not say, “We are as grasshoppers.” They said, “Let’s go up and take the land.” They were looking beyond the giants to God, and when a person has his eyes upon God, it is the giants who look like grasshoppers.
If you are afraid—if you are afraid of trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, life, death, angels, demons, powers, height, depth, or anything else in creation—is it not the case that you are simply looking at things, and not at God, who is greater than the things? Before God all these fade into virtual insignificance. In the atonement of Christ there is no condemnation. In the power of Christ there is no defeat. In the love of Christ there is no separation.