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NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD

Romans 8:18-8:39
Key Verse: 8:38,39

The first part of Romans 8 declares that ‘we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.’ In today’s passage we find some more powerful statements like “We are more than conquerors” “In all things God works for the good of those who love him” May God empower us with his precious word that we may start a new year with a sense of victory.

PART 1. FUTURE GLORY (18-27)

Let’s read verse 18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Paul mentions sufferings and glory in this verse. It is natural for human beings to want glory because we were created in God’s image. God is the God of glory. Glory can mean honor, fame and recognition. In some sense we have to do our best to glorify God through our life on earth. But the glory we taste on earth is temporary. Christians future glory is so great that present sufferings are insignificant by comparison. Our future glory is forever, whereas the suffering is temporary. (2 Co 4:17) The early Christians suffered only because of the reason they believed in Christ. But they had overcome their sufferings with this glorious hope in eternity. Jesus said in Matthew 5 that we have to rejoice and be glad when we suffer for Christ because our reward in heaven is great. Apostle Paul encourages us to participate at the remaining sufferings of Christ in Colossians 1. Our students don’t have the life threatening sufferings because of their faith in Canada. But they have daily crosses to bear for the glory of God. Also persecutions follow when they decide to live by faith. And we all have to remember that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

There was a Canadian missionary that I respected when I was a student shepherd. His name was William John Meckenzie. I would like to share his life and someday somebody may share China missionary like Hudson tailor or India missionary like William Carrey.

When Meckenzie was 31 years old he read about a miserable country named Korea. Then He chose to go to this country to share the gospel. But his church did not allow him because it was an unknown country at that time. So he decided to go by himself as an independent missionary. When he took a ship to Korea he had a small amount of money from his friends. He arrived in Korea in 1893 and started living exactly like Korean people eating Korean food and wearing Korean clothes. His catch phrase was: I will live as Korean taking Korea as my second homeland until I hear the trumpet sound of Jesus’ second coming. He worked hard preaching at the street in day time and teaching at night. He taught the children too. But after two years of his missionary life he was laid down in sickness and died after five days. So he stayed in Korean only for two years. The people were moved by his genuine love toward Korean people. So after his death 100% of the town’s people became Christians and they built the first protestant church in Korea, So-Rae church. Wow, the first protestant church by a Canadian missionary! Hearing Meckenzie’s life testimony, Canadian churches were stimulated. More than 100 missionaries volunteered for the world mission.

M. Mackenzie did not receive much glory on earth. But he will receive the eternal glory shiny and splendid when Jesus comes again.

Let’s read verses 19 “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.”

According to the book of Genesis God said of the world, “It was very good.” But after man disobeyed, sin came into the world. Then the world and all its creation was not good was not good anymore. God cursed both man and the creation. Since that time, all of creation suffers to live in a cursed world. This is African Great Honeyguide and this bird shows an example. Why the world is full of violence like shootings and continuous war? It is because we are living in a cursed world. This is the reality of the world where we are living in. There was a news article last week about an American drone pilot testifying how he bombed the houses and villages in middle east.

There is a book titled ‘Sunflower’. It was about a Jewish young man during the World War II. He was forced to work in a hospital. There a wounded German soldier called him. The soldier was wounded on the head and was dying. The soldier told him his experience and asked him a forgiveness. The soldier and his unit colleagues were commanded to fill a house with Jews and set fire on it. Also they were commanded to shoot anyone who came out of the house. As the house was set in flame the German solder saw a man standing in the second floor through window. Beside him he saw a little girl and a woman hiding the girl’s eyes with hands. As the fire progressed the man in the house jumped out of the window and soon the girl and woman jumped. The German soldiers shoot them. When the Jewish young man heard of it he stood silently and turned around and went out of the place and the soldier died soon after. The book was about how the young man could not forgive the Germans. Historically numerous wars brought tragedies to human being.

When we look back last one year, we have various kinds of afflictions of the world. It is because we are living in such a world. But one thing is clear that God who frustrated the world is the only one that can liberate it. Only God has the power to do it. The creation is waiting for that day earnestly.

Let’s read verse 23, “Not only so, but we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

A few months later M. Hannah will have a baby. She will groan at the hospital to have a baby. And M. Moses will groan together standing beside her. But this groaning is a different groaning.

Here the Spirit is the Holy Spirit. As believers in Jesus we have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like a deposit guaranteeing our redemption. In us the Holy Spirit promises better things that will come. Paul talked about this in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…”

Until that time, we groan inwardly suffering from back pain, flu, allergies, foot fungus or nail fungus, loosing hair or gray hair, wrinkles on the face, teeth cavity etc. But at the time of our restoration our body will be like Christ’s glorious resurrection body. Jesus said that we would be like the angels in heaven.

Let’s read verses 24-25, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Hope is a key ingredient in our spiritual life. Where should our hope not be? Our hope should not be in a world that is in decay and that is dying. If we put hope in anything or anyone in the world we will eventually be disappointed and discouraged. Many Torontonians are waiting for Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team to win NHL champion. But the team did not win since 1967. People still have the same hope in each season but ends in disappoint. This cannot be a true hope. Even though they win, the glory of the Cup will fade away in a few months. Human glory is only short lived and leaves us empty.

The real hope for all believers is the redemption of our bodies and to be with our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven in glory and in honor. Right now there is absolutely no sign of it. Our body is not so glorious. But this does not mean it will never happen. What we need to do is wait. V25 says “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Let’s read verses 26, 27, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”

God knows that we are weak in our body of flesh. And God helps us through the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we don’t feel inspired to pray. And it is the time to rely on the Holy Spirit for prayer. Sometimes we don’t know what to pray for. And it is the time to be sensitive what the Holy Spirit speaks. Sometimes we feel the groaning heart of the Holy Spirit. And it is the time to kneel down and start praying. God reveals his will through the groaning of the Holy Spirit that we may pray in his will. And the ultimate will of God is that God’s kingdom may come to the world. That’s why we pray for the world mission and for our country Canada.

II. NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD (28-39)

Let’s read verse 28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This verse tells us that everything in our life is under God’s control and God works through all those things for our goodness. Sometimes unexpected things happen in our life. Unreasonable things give us troubles. But we have to know that God works through all these for the goodness of his children. God harmonizes all things together for our ultimate good. God has sovereign ownership in our life and nothing happens without his purpose behind it.

Joseph’s life had been changed dramatically by his brothers’ secret selling of him as a slave. He became a shameful slave from the most beloved child of a proud family. He was despised as one of the slaves and had to work hard day and night for his master. Furthermore he was condemned as the most shameful criminal, ‘a sexual assault’ even though he was innocent. At that time he did not know the meaning of those things. But later he confessed, “God did all those things to save lives.”

When Joni Erikson was paralyzed by swimming accident she tried kill herself. But she met Christ in her deep desperation. Then she believed that God had his greater purpose in her paralysis. She drew paintings with her mouth and changed many lives who had the similar disabilities. Later she confessed that she was happier than before because she was doing the will of God.

We cannot see the end from the beginning. And we have to believe God’s great purpose in all things in our life.

Let’s read verses 29, 30, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Those verses tell us that our salvation was done by God’s initiative. God’s salvation was done by his choice. That makes God’s grace truly graceful. We were not worthy of his blessing of eternal salvation. But God gave us this salvation by his unidirectional favor and love. God predestined, justified, glorified so that we may grow in the likeness of his Son Christ Jesus.

Let’s read verses 31, 32, “What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

As we know, Paul’s life was full of sufferings. However, he never doubted the love of God.

In the Garden of Eden, the devil tempted man to doubt God’s love. Man’s problem comes when he listens to the devil and doubts the love of God. So we have to remember that God loves us unconditionally. The best expression of his love is that he did not spare his own Son, but graciously gave him up for us all. Jesus was crucified for our sins. He prayed on the cross, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

“If God is for us who can be against us?” is the powerful statement. (LET’S SAY: If God is for me who can be against me?) What was Caleb’s confession before the promised-land in Numbers 14:9 while other people were so scared? “Don’t be afraid of those people. We’ll have them for lunch! They have no protection and God is on our side. Don’t be afraid of them!”(MSG Translation, I like MSG translation especially the word ‘lunch’.) As we know Caleb is M. James Lee’s trade mark. And we learn here from him that Caleb’s confidence came from the fact that God was on his side. What all have challenges in the coming year. They might look like mountains. But when we believe that God is on our side, and depend on Him alone we will be able to overcome them. We will eat them like yummy lunch.

God did not spare his one and only Son and gave him up for our salvation. Our Father God who gave his Son will give us all things graciously. He will certainly not hesitate to give us our provisions.

Let’s read verses 33-34, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

These verses are based on the court system. The prosecutor tries to prove that the accused is guilty. But the lawyer tries to help the accused to prove that the case is not guilty. The final decision is made by the judge. About ten years ago I learned of the power of the judge when the judge sentenced me not guilty for a traffic ticket. I went to Ernest Eds to buy some stuff and parked on the road. When I came out of the store the car was being towed away with a ticket of huge fine. Later I learned that the mayor had announced that day as a snow day and any car that was parked on snow route became illegal. At the court the prosecutor tried to explain how I was guilty of the law. But the judge who was a Chinese sentenced that I was not guilty. The prosecutor could not say anything at the judge’s sentence. I was so favored by the Chinese judge. Maybe he thought I was a Chinese. Anyway I learned of the power of the judge. Satan is identified as accuser of God’s people. According to Rev 12:10 he accuses believers before God day and night. His accusations could be valid because they are based on the believer’s sinfulness and weaknesses. But Satan’s accusations cannot stand because God the Judge announces that they are not guilty. God blotted out all theri sins through his Son’s sacrifice. So Romans 8:1 declares, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

Let’s read verses 35-37, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

In the early days of the church, Christians were martyred every day. But they were the conquerors of faith. Humanly speaking they were considered as sheep to be slaughtered. But because of God and his love they were more than conquerors. Dschinghis Khan and Napoleon are considered as conquerors of the world. But they were mere conquerors, not more than conquerors. Conquering the world did not give them eternal victory. Their end was the death as the same as all the other people in the world. But the Christians who fight a spiritual battle on earth are more than conquerors. Jesus said in John 16:33 “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus became the conqueror of death and made his people the same conquerors. We are more than conquerors because Jesus already won the battle.

We don’t need to be a black belt in Karate to be more than a conqueror. All we need is to dwell in his love and trust him at any situations. Then God will lead us to a victorious life in Christ.

Let’s read verses 38, 39, “For 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.”

This is the continuation of verse 35. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer is obvious. No one or nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing on earth or in heaven can separate us from the love of God. Death cannot separate us from the love of God. In fact death draws us nearer God in his eternity. Angels and demons cannot undo God’s relationship with His redeemed ones. The present and the future that is nothing known and the unknown, nothing spiritual powers or human authorities, nothing overhead or underneath, and absolutely nothing in the entire created realm can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Q & A

Q1: If God is for us, who can be against us?

Q2: Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?

Q3: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ

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