Paul uses the term "persuaded" in
the sense of assurance. When he said that he was persuaded of
a thing involving God's attitude, he meant that he was fully
convinced that it was as it was stated to be. He meant that to
him it stood out as a reality. It was a thing that he no
longer questioned. In Rom. 8:38 and 39, he speaks of one of
the things of which he was persuaded. He did not seem to feel
about it as some feel; and when they read what he says, they
realize that they do not feel just as he did. He says, "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."
Some people are all the time worrying lest they
should be separated from that love, lest God's love should be
turned into hatred against them. They walk before him with
fear and trembling. They are all the time questioning whether
their conduct merits his approval. They are ever fearful lest
they might do something that would bring his wrath upon them.
Their life is a life of fear and of bondage. Paul had no such
fears and no such feelings. He knew that the great heart of
God is a heart of love, a heart of tender pity, compassion,
and sympathy. He knew that God is tender toward his earthly
children. Why even when we were sinners, Christ died for us!
And the Father so loved us that he gave his only begotten Son.
This love was for rebels. How much greater his affection for
his sons! Instead of thinking that he might be easily
separated from the love of God, and that he should have to be
exceedingly careful lest he should be, Paul cries out, "Who
shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (v.35). By this he
means, who or what shall be able to separate us?
Paul knew something of the strength of earthly
love. He knew mother-love--how tenderly it holds to its own.
He knew that no matter where the son wanders, mother-love goes
with him; mother-love calls him back; mother-love yearns over
him. He knew love in other forms--how tenaciously it clings to
its objects. But the love of Christ, or the love of God in
Christ, is above and beyond all this human love. And so he
cried out, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"
Then he named some things and asked if they should separate us
from God's love, and when he looked at them all, he was still
persuaded that nothing should be able.
Paul says, "Neither death nor life." If death
should lay his icy fingers upon us, it would be but the
ushering into the more immediate presence of that great love.
But if we must continue to live on in our earthly
circumstances and surroundings, that very life can not
separate us from the love of Christ, for he will love us
through it all. Through various changes, through all the
trying situations that may face us, that love will hold us
fast. Time and change cannot make that love grow cold.
Again, he says, "Nor angels." God is in heaven,
surrounded by the angels, but he wants us to understand that
those angels cannot take up so much of his time and attention
that he will forget us. Nor can those evil angels that hate
God and hate us, separate between us, and his love. Even Satan
himself, their leader and master, has not power to come
between us, and the love of God. Ah, soul, do not be afraid.
Satan has no knife sharp enough to cut that love. He has no
strength to tear its tendrils out of our hearts. He cannot
burn those cords that hold us. Even all his legions can not
touch that love, if we trust it and trust ourselves in God's
Then he says, "Nor things present." O my
brother, sister, do you believe that? Do you believe that the
things of this hour, whatever they may be, cannot separate you
from the love of God? "Things present;" How many things there
are present. How many things there are, that press in upon us!
How many discouragements there are in life! How many
perplexities! How many things that trouble! How many things
that would draw us away! Yet, if we keep our trust in God,
none of these things will make him turn his back upon us.
"Nor things to come." Do you look into the
future with dread? Do you see with forebodings the things that
appear there? Do you think, "How shall I ever pass through it?
How shall I ever overcome?" Ah, those things that are ahead of
you cannot separate you from God's love. That love is going to
securely hold you through them all. That love is going to be
your strength and your safeguard, your hope and your all. Cast
away your forebodings. Look to God with confidence until the
confidence of Paul enters your soul and you can say with the
same assurance that he did, "I am persuaded."
Again, he says, "Nor height, nor depth." It
matters not if God is in heaven, high above us. It matters
not, if he is so great, so majestic, so powerful. His height
above us shall not prevent his love from reaching us and
holding us up. "Nor depth." It matters not to what depth we
sink, whether it be depths of fear or depths in the feeling of
our own helplessness. It matters not if God is very high and
we are very low, if he is very great and we are very small;
our depth shall not separate us from his height. His love will
bridge the gulf.
O soul, trust in that love. Rely upon it. It
will never fail you. It will securely hold you in the gales of
life. Tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or
nakedness or perils or storms--none of these things shall be
able to separate you from him. And the apostle continues to
say, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him that loved us" (v. 37). Love will bear us up as
with eagles' wings. It will make smooth the rough paths. It
will give strength to the fainting heart. It will preserve us
while in the midst of temptation; and even when we have come
short of our expectations, when we realize that we have in a
measure failed, that love will not cast us off, but will hold
us safe and secure until the end. Let us look to that love,
and be confident, and rest in full assurance of faith, knowing
When the storm-winds rage, and the rain falls
And the clouds hang low above,
I shall be secure
till the storm is past,
For I trust my Savior's
And he knows the way, and he holds my hand,
will not let it go.
He will lead me home to that better
Just because he loves me so.