Rom 8:34-36 “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Paul’s initial question here deserves our attention. He is not simply asking for us to identify the individual or group that is condemning God’s elect. This question also carries the idea of who would suppose they have any right or reason to do so. The reason they have no right is then plainly spelled out.
“It is Christ that died” should cause us to tremble at the very notion of condemning those that He has shed His blood to redeem. Jesus goes beyond dying for us: He is risen from the dead. Jesus Christ laid down His life for God’s elect and He has taken it up again for the same. It is not just that He loved us (in the past tense) but that His love is current and ongoing.
While we live here, Christ lives in us. Even though He lives in us, He is simultaneously in the position of favor (right hand) with God, our Father. With all that He has suffered and conquered, He would have every right to sit down and be at ease. However, His love for us is so great that He is making intercession (to confer with – see Strong’s) for us. Jesus is actively engaged in the blessings that we receive daily.
His love for us is so great that He left the portals of glory and took upon Himself the form of man. In that form, He lived here for about thirty-three and a half years. The Son of Man laid down His life on the cross and took it up again on the third day. He was caught up into the clouds of glory and He still intercedes for us.
Knowing all of this, how could we ever suppose there is any power that can separate us from His love? Neither tribulation nor distress is capable of such a thing. Indeed, the scripture tells us that tribulation worketh patience. Persecution and destitution do not have the power to separate us from His love. Shame (nakedness), danger, and war (whether physical or spiritual) cannot manage to remove us from His love.
Often, when we think of these things that cannot separate us from His love, we think in terms of what we endure in this life. We need to keep our eyes clearly focused on Jesus. He endured all these conditions for us (homeless, destitute of worldly goods, unjustly despised, hungry, called on to die, and ultimately judged for crimes He did not commit but willingly claimed as His own). Yet, not once did He falter in His love for us!
In verse thirty-six, Paul quotes Psalms 44:22. In First Corinthians 15:31, Paul makes it personal when he declares “I die daily.” Jesus told us in the gospel as recorded by John that the servant is not greater than the Master. If Jesus endured all these things for us, it is not reasonable to assume that we shall escape these things.
What should be clear to us is that nothing that Jesus endured caused His love toward us to cease. Nothing that we endure has the power to separate us rom that wondrous love. It is His great love for us that gives us the strength to endure. It is His great love that allows us to rejoice when we are counted worthy to bear stripes for the testimony of our Lord and Master.
May we hold fast the truth that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)!