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The Love of Christ and the Love of God (Rom 8.35-39)

R Elliot

Nowhere else in the New Testament are the love of Christ and the love of God distinguished in quite the same way as here. From one point of view they are the same, seeing that Christ is God. That love, whether manifested in the Father or in Christ, has its eternal springs in God. Yet, inasmuch as Christ has become man and fills certain offices, and was the One who died for us, His love does, on occasion, call for separate reference. It is so here, and it has to be noticed that in connection with it we find that the list of things mentioned in v.35 differs from that mentioned in the last two verses of the chapter.

In v.35 we have tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword - things that are experienced here and are limited to this life. In other words, peculiarly things and experiences in connection with which we may enjoy the sympathy and succour of Christ. It is precisely in connection with these things that He makes intercession for us at the right hand of God.

When, however, we come to the love of God - the love of God as God the touch and source of all, the sweep of the Apostle’s mind is much wider, and things are included which are beyond earth and the life here altogether. Can anything beyond our knowledge separate us from God’s love? Is there any emergency or eventuality, known or unknown, that can do it? And the inspired answer is God’s own answer, for the apostle here, taught by the Spirit of God, exclaims, "I am persuaded, that nether death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".

And will He change? No, because this love is in Christ Jesus our Lord. His work and He Himself are the guarantee both of its unlimited and its unchanging character. His work guarantees that the love of Christ and the love of God are as strong as each other, and will never fail us. No power nor circumstances will rob us of that love.


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