What can separate you from the love of your god? If you had asked participants of almost any religion in history, you would compile a whole list of offences, from items as serious as murder to things as simple as a missed prayer. Some religions would have to confess that their god never loved them – they were merely tolerated as long as they behaved. Ancient Greeks were constantly trying to appease their fickle god Zeus, attempting to understand what had made him angry this time. One unsatisfactory sacrifice might result in years of famine. Participants of pagan religions live in constant fear that one omission, one sin, will result in losing favor with their gods.
So, I ask you. What can separate you from your God? Thankfully, we can answer with the words of Paul in Romans 8:38 & 39, “For I am persuaded that neither 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.” Paul makes it very plain that nothing on this earth can separate us from our God. To emphasize that, I want to take a look at a few of the specific items he brings up.
Death is the one that separates us from every other thing we know. We are taken from our families, all our earthly possessions, even our own bodies, that seem to make up who we are on this earth. All of that is ripped away from us in death, and cannot be reunited to us. Death seems to be the strongest separator. But when Christ rose from the dead on that Easter morning, He changed death from an end, the ultimate separator, into the beginning of our eternal life. Death’s separating sting is gone, and now serves only to bring us to God.
One fallen angel in particular tries his hardest to separate us from our Father. His plan throughout history has been aimed toward this end, from fruit in a garden thousands of years ago, to the many distractions of the world today. Not even he and his army can separate us from the love of God. He has been defeated and banished from heaven by Christ’s resurrection, and wields only the limited power God allows him to serve God’s purpose.
Our government tries to distance our whole society from God, through passing laws in opposition to His decrees at every opportunity. The time may not be far off when our land turns to physical persecution to rid the land of Christianity and to scare others away from it. This is already happening in countries like China, Egypt, and Iraq. Their attempts to make God’s people feel alone and unloved by Him fall far short however – Christianity has long been seen to grow strong in the lands of persecution.
Nothing that we are going through right now, or that we will go through in the future, or that we can even imagine will be a barrier to our God’s love. We may feel physically far from God – I think every one of us has had those seasons where prayers hit the ceiling and we feel like our faith has never been weaker. That can’t stop God’s love for you. Our circumstances may be such that we don’t think God would put us through them if He really did love us. But just because we don’t feel His love for a time doesn’t mean it isn’t there. God’s love towards us does not depend on our subjective, emotional feeling of it.
Not even our sins, no matter how deliberate and heinous they are, can separate us from God’s love. It’s foolish to think that something we could do would be strong enough to overcome God’s love for us. That isn’t to say we can sin as much as we like because God won’t stop loving us – if God loves you, and has elected you to be part of His church, He will put a spirit of thankfulness in you calling you to live an obedient life. We still can’t live a perfect life. We still have that old man of sin, but the sin that taints every deed cannot stop God from loving us as His elect people.
What a comfort these words are. No sin our old man of sin can commit, no plan the world can strategize, and nothing the devil himself can scheme can separate us from God’s love for us. Christ has overcome every obstacle that could ever come between God and us. The veil in the temple has been torn. We can stand assured of our God’s unfailing love for us in every circumstance. Let us rejoice with Paul that “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”