“If God loves me, He will _____.”
What words would you use to fill in that blank? Most often, when we answer this question, whether privately in our hearts or aloud, we limit the love of God in our minds. We attach His love to the circumstances or results we want. We draw a straight line between God’s love and our comfort.
Romans 8 paints an altogether different picture of a love so much bigger, richer, deeper, and more complete than anything we can imagine. It isn’t a contingent love or one designed to dole out creature comforts. It cannot be cheapened by our color-by-number effort to depict it. Romans 8 is a masterpiece of God’s love, which is intended for our good.
What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
In Christ, we live loved. We breathe love and exist ensconced in it. No one can condemn us. No one can judge us. No enemy can assail us. Yes, we will be condemned, judged, and assailed in this world, but no one can remove us from Christ’s love. Our own fears and insecurities, even our own death, cannot remove us from the love of God (v.38).
This profound love of God was ours before we were conscious of it, and it will be ours for all eternity to the fullness of our joy and glorification (v.39). God promised to complete the good work He started in us (Philippians 1:6), and He will—through the transformative power of His love.
In our reading today, we see the fullness of God—Father, Son, and Spirit—offer the fullness of His love to those who believe.
We may never get what we filled in the blank above—that thing we attached to God’s love, that trite and limiting expected sign of His goodness. Instead, we will be more than conquerors in eternal glory, no matter what we face in this temporal life.