Romans 8:18-39 (NRSV)
18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
–Julian of Norwich (1342 – 1416)
19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;
In John Milton’s magnificent epic poem Paradise Lost, he describes the fall of nature at just the moment that Eve bit the apple:
Her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat:
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe
That all was lost.
23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Christian people are precious in God’s sight and their prayer is powerful and great, for they have been sanctified by Christ’s blood and anointed with the Spirit of God. Whatever they sincerely pray for, especially in the unexpressed yearning of their hearts, becomes a great, unbearable cry in God’s ears. God must listen, as he did to Moses (Exodus 14:15). There God said, “Why did you cry to Me?” even though Moses couldn’t whisper, so great was his anxiety and trembling in the terrible troubles that beset him. Even Moses did not know how or for what he should pray–not knowing how the deliverance would be accomplished–but his cry came from his heart.
God intends that his promise and our prayer or yearning which is grounded in that promise should not be disdained or rejected, but be highly valued and esteemed.
28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
God’s Love in Christ Jesus
31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
Jeremiah 50:20 (NIV)
“In those days, at that time,”
declares the Lord,
“search will be made for Israel’s guilt,
but there will be none,
and for the sins of Judah,
but none will be found,
for I will forgive the remnant I spare.”
34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“The sin underneath all our sins is to trust the lie of the serpent that we cannot trust the love and grace of Christ and must take matters into our own hands.”
Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heav’n to earth come down;
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter ev’ry trembling heart.
Theologian J. I Packer identified his favorite chapter in the Bible as this one, which begins with “There is no condemnation” and ends with “nothings can separate us from the love of God.” No condemnation. No separation. That is wonderful news!
How can we begin to describe the love of God?! HERE is “Hallelujah (Your Love Is Amazing)” written by Brian Doerksen & Brenton Brown.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.