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BELIEVER IS FOREVER LOVED BY GOD 
Romans 8:35-39
Andres C. Guevara Jr.
January 28, 2024, SUN a.m.
We who are saved by grace through faith in Christ’s gospel had three enemies:
     1. The flesh
In the previous section of Romans, Paul shows us that we believers in Christ are still a sinful and fleshly mess.
Some struggle with their pride.
Some struggle with their speech and cannot seem to control what they say.
Some struggle with their thoughts and let their minds think on things that are not good.
Some struggle with their actions, they do things that aren’t good.
     We are still in our sinful nature and if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to control us, we will be a fleshly mess.
     2. The world   
We Christians still living in this evil wicked world, filled with entertainments, education and enticements that are all purposely designed to pull us away from God.
     3. The Devil
The Devil is trying of use his tactics and weapons with his demonic forces to continually seek to destroy and deceive God’s children.

     With all these strong enemies real in our Christian lives, if it were possible to lose our salvation, we would all lose it, because we sinned daily when our flesh dominates. But, thank God, it is not possible for a person who believed in Christ and got saved to lose salvation. In other words, it is the love of God that send Christ at the cross, it is the love of Christ that He suffers and died for us sinners, and it is the love of Christ that saves us when we believe Him as our Savior, and nothing is able to separate us from that that love of God in Christ. Nothing can take away God’s salvation from us.

     Notice the love of God mentioned three times in these 3 verses:
Romans 8:35,37,39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 39 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.”
     The noun “love” here is agape, not emotional type of love, not brotherly or parental love but it is God’s love, that highest kind of love that loves at the highest good and perfect love. That is the love that God has for His family and cannot be stopped. God may not always be happy with His children, but He will not ever stop loving His children.
     Notice in our text the words in verse 35 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"   
Death involves separation. Death separates us from the love of Christ. Example, the physical body apart from the spirit is dead. The same is true if the believer separated from the love of Christ would be spiritually dead. But it is impossible to lose our salvation:
John 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.”
Notice carefully the word “us.”
     Notice again in our text the words in verse 35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
Is there any force, anywhere, that can come between you and Jesus? Here the apostle Paul answers to the question that many people ask. Is there any way to lose your salvation? Who can remove us from Christ, once we fully come to Him?
     As Paul mentioned many kinds of things that hit Christian and cause them to think that God doesn’t love them. Paul also uses the word “who” in verse 35. Notice that “who” is a masculine, singular, interrogative pronoun. Who do you think the one who would want a believer to think he has been separated from the love of Christ? Of course, it is not one who is a believer, this must be a reference to Satan. Satan wants the believer to think that God doesn’t care that God doesn’t love them and that God abandoned them when they committed sin.
     What are those seven specific, negative catastrophe that may cause a believer think that they are separated from the love of Christ?
     Paul writes two very powerful love realities that God wants His people to understand:
I – NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST – v.35-36
Romans 8:35 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
     Paul had just listed in Romans 8:35 his personal experiences that are representative of what Scripture holds out as the "fortune" of God's people. This truth is 180 degrees opposite the health and wealth gospel that so many bible preachers and religious groups are falling prey to in our day and many people ignorantly deceived and misled around the world. Some denomination or cults hold the doctrine of full prosperity gospel that includes healing or the health and wealth.
     Let’s consider some of these words that are used in this verse:
     A. Some Believers may think that tribulation separated us from the love of Christ – v. 35b
Romans 8:35b “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
     The noun “tribulation” refers to intense pressure brought about by outward circumstances and difficulties. Expectedly, the believers in the first century whom Paul addressed to were in tribulation experience due to severe persecution of Rome against Christians.
Tribulation in Greek “thlipsis” from “thlibo” means to crush, press together, squash, hem in, compress, squeeze in turn derived from thlao which means to break, originally expressed sheer, physical pressure on a man. Thlipsis is a strong term which does not refer to minor inconveniences, but to real hardships.
     Medically, “thlipsis” was used of the pulse (pressure). It is a pressing together as of grapes. It has the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight.
ILLUSTRATION: According to the ancient law of England, those who willfully refused to plead guilty, had heavy weights placed on their breasts, and were pressed and crushed to death, this was literally “thlipsis.” Thlipsis thus refers not to mild discomfort but to great difficulty.
     Satan is out to crush God’s people. Satan is out to put the believers under tremendous pressure in business, relationship, sickness, job, finances.
     When pressure boxes us in, we may begin to think we aren’t loved by God. God says “just remember nothing that separate you from My love.”
     B. Some Believers may think that distress separated us from the love of Christ – v.35c
Romans 8:35c "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
     The word “distress” refers to difficulty, distress, anguish, crushing difficulties.
II Corinthians 4:8 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;”
     The word “distress” in Greek “stenochoria” from “stenos” means narrow and “chora” means place, is literally a narrow space and figuratively describes the “tight places” believers have to go through. “Stenochoria” has in view the distress which arises from within and usually caused by thlipsis (tribulation or intense pressure), such as anguish or discomfort.
     The word “stenochoria” has to do with mental anxiety. This word “stenochoria” emphasizes things that cause mental stress.
ILLUSTRATION: A person finding themselves in a tight corner without the possibility of escape, this severe confinement or constriction causing anguish or severe distress.
There are moments when a man seems to be in a situation in which the walls of life are closing round him. Most people do not know what to think or where to turn when they find themselves under stress.
1) Billions of money people spent a year on treatment for psychiatric problem.
2) Millions of money people spent a year to calm the mind of person caused by mental drugs.
3) Many people are undergoing nervous breakdowns.
4) Some people are trying to cope with stress that turn to alcoholism.
5) Many deaths ended the lives of people who committed suicides for they cannot cope mentally stresses of life.
     Paul knows that these believers in Rome who were experiencing distresses due to heavy persecution of Rome, can possibly think if God cares, so Paul wants them not to forget that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
     One of the reasons why people experienced distresses is that people do not feel loved. When this mental anxiety attacks, it is critical for a believer to think, that “Jesus loves me and nothing can separate me from that love of Jesus.”
     C. Some Believers may think that persecutions separated us from the love of Christ – v.35d
Romans 8:35c "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
     The word “persecution” refers to a person being persecuted or pursued because of their faith in Christ. Persecution means chasing after believers to hurt and to harm them as believers they desire to live a godly life in Jesus Christ, but these persecuted believers are not forsaken by the Lord and not destroyed without God’s permission (2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”; 2 Corinthians 4:9 “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”).
     The word “persecution” in Greek “diogmos” from “dioko” to pursue which means to put to flight or to pursue with repeated acts of enmity. The books of the Gospels teach that persecution “diogmos” arises because of the word Mark 4:17  And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.”; Mark 10:30 “But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
     Paul reminds Christians that persecutions are not electives (II Corinthians 1:6).
II Corinthians 1:6 “And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.”
     Persecutions are part of the required curriculum of discipleship in the school of Christ.
Listen to Christ’s warning to His disciples:
John 15:19-20 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
Luke 21:17 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.”
     In this school of discipleship even a man enemies will be the members of his household.
Matthew 10:36 “And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.”
     Paul faced the persecutions of his old friend everywhere that caused imprisonment or chains and afflictions awaits him.
Acts 20:23 “Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.”
     When we find ourselves in the situation that we are being persecuted, it is critical to know we are love by the Lord, this is the same case with the persecuted believers in that first century who were the recipients of Paul’s Roman epistle.
     D. Some Believers may think that famine separated us from the love of Christ – v.35e
Romans 8:35c  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
     The word “famine” refers to a disaster in which a famine hits and food production stops.
The word “famine” in Greek “limos” from “leipo” destitute which means to fall short, be destitute or be in need and it can refer to a literal hunger or famine, and in a metaphoric sense one’s mind might be said to be “hungry, starved.”
     The believers suffer and experienced severe famine in the first century being not valued, despised, oppressed, being persecuted by the Romans government and society administered by Claudius Caesar knew what famine was all about, but not even natural disasters can separate us from the love of Christ.
Acts 11:28 “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.” The word “dearth” here is the same word for famine.
According to this verse, a literal famine did hit the Roman world during the reign of Claudius (AD 41-54) and it certainly would have affected many believers. When you are wondering if you will have enough food, it can cause you to wonder if God cares. It may cause believers to think that famine separated us from the love of Christ.
     E. Some Believers may think that nakedness separated us from the love of Christ – v.35f
Romans 8:35c  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” 
     This word “nakedness” in Greek “qumnotes” from “gumnos” that is naked which means to be destitute condition, destitute of convenient or decent clothing, lack of sufficient clothing, deficiently clothed or partly clothed or without clothing, extreme poverty. Then it meant a lack of clothes simply because one had no ways or means of getting any.
     Now for the most part, the concept of nakedness in our day is connected to immorality, not so much poverty. However, in the first century, nakedness was connected to poverty. Many of the Believers had very little financially and had trouble having sufficient clothing due to intense persecution against Christianity that affects their daily food and poverty that they cannot even buy their clothes as they were rejected by the society under the reign of Claudius Cesar of Romans. That pitiful situation, Believers thinks about nakedness in their lives.
When Christians live in this wicked world that supports and promotes indecency, abominable and become proud of immoral things, Christian may have a tendency to think that they alone and no one understand and God doesn’t care.
When Christians live in this world that features some celebrities who don’t care about God, who spend thousand and millions of money for Louis Vuitton shoes or thousands amount of money on a Louis Vuitton dress or thousands or even millions amount of money for Rolex watch, or spend millions and millions amount for most expensive car Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, whereas we are trying to juggle income to give to the Lord and pay bills and buy groceries and put gas in the car, then we can begin to think we God doesn’t care about our needs and situation. We don’t see God’s goodness and faithfulness upon us!
     F. Some Believers may think that peril separated us from the love of Christ – v.35g
Romans 8:35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”    
     The word “peril” in Greek “kindunos” from “kineo” to move which means danger. In fact, peril means jeopardy, perilous danger.
I Corinthians 15:30 “And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?”
The word “peril” implies a dangerous thing that puts one in peril to try and survive.
     The Greek word “kindunos” mentioned 9 times in 2 verses (Romans 8:35; II Corinthians 11:26).
Romans 8:35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
II Corinthians 11:26 “In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;”
     There are times Christians face dangerous, life-threatening situations. Mass shootings, robberies, dangerous surgeries, illnesses, accidents, situations, people and environment all can threaten Believers. On those moments, the Lord Jesus wants to say to all Christians “I want my beloved people to know that I love them no matter what.”
Paul writes to this first century Christians during the reign of Claudius Caesar of Rome that intensify the extreme persecution that put the believers in perils that threaten their lives. This is the condition where some believers may think that those perilous dangers separated them from the love of Christ. Thus, Paul encouraged them and made them aware of the unfailing love of God.
     G. Some Believers may think that sword separated us from the love of Christ – v.35h
Romans 8:35c  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
     The word “sword” in Greek “machaira” if applied literally would speak of execution. The word “sword” refers to death by the sword. The “sword” or “Machaira” was a weapon used for murder and killing. There are brutal people and things in this world that will kill us and as we see and experience it, we can begin to ask if God cares for us and are loved by God. The devil wants the believers to think that sword separated us from the love of Christ.
Acts 12:2 “And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” Speaks of king Nero killed James. James the brother of John was certainly thankful for encouraging truth of Romans 8:35 that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
     To apply execution literally, it is the only item on the list that at first Paul had not yet personally experienced in the course of living for Jesus and preaching the gospel (I Corinthians 4:11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;”; I Corinthians 15:30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?”). However, according to tradition since Paul was a Roman citizen, so Paul could not be crucified like the way Peter and other Apostles was crucified, and thus at later times of his life Paul experienced execution by beheading, Paul’s head was cut off like John the Baptist as he was executed with a sword.  
     This word “machaira” was found in 26 verses:
Matthew 10:34; Matthew 26:47; Matthew 26:51; Matthew 26:52; Matthew 26:55; Mark 14:43; Mark 14:47; Mark 14:48; Luke 21:24; Luke 22:36; Luke 22:38; Luke 22:49; Luke 22:52; John 18:10; John 18:11; Acts 12:2; Acts 16:27; Romans 8:35; Romans 13:4; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Hebrews 11:34; Hebrews 11:37; Revelation 6:4; Revelation 13:10; Revelation 13:14.
     Paul in order to make his point, he quotes Psalm 44:22 in Romans 8:36 of our passage.
  • Israel was faithful during those years – Psalm 44:22 “Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.”
  • Israel boasted in God – Psalm 44:8 “In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.”
  • But in spite of that, God allowed Israel to suffer – Psalm 44:9-13 But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies. 10 Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves. 11 Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen. 12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price. 13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.”
  • But in the midst of all those sufferings, Israel remained faithful – Psalm 44:17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.” As we see that time, Israel was not prospering, and was being hunted by the persecutors. The world looked at Israel as if the Israelites was a sheep headed to slaughters, but Israel was the elect nation of God and truly Israel was continually loved by God.    

     These complete sevenfold series of catastrophes listed in Romans 8:35, all of which were experienced by the apostle Paul, and have been common experience of many believers as well. These seven items in the list could be in various ways taken and used by Satan and tempt believers to have hatred and think that God doesn’t care but in reality these things mentioned cannot interrupt and separate us from the love of Christ.
     The writer of this book of Romans experienced personally all these items in the list and could speak from experience (II Corinthians 6:4-10; II Corinthians 11:26; II Corinthians 12:10). In spite of tremendous battles with these things, yet Paul learned in those things that God loved him so much and Paul knew that the love of God in Jesus Christ could reach and sustain the heart through them all. So, Paul wrote to these Christians during severe persecution against Christians who were suffering into the hand of the Romans, to think that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
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