I am persuaded: Neither, nor

Romans-8-38-39

The Verse of the Day for February 18, 2016 is part of the powerful passage concluding Romans 8:

Romans 8: 38-39 (AMP):

For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The celebrated passage offers a series of “neither/nor” statements to express that when we look at the choices between possibilities that two or more things could interfere with our relationship with God, “nothing” or literally, “no thing” will be able to separate us, as believers, “from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Here is how the series unfolds:

“neither death nor life”

Most remarkably, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. In this case the final state that humanity must face is mentioned first, for “it is appointed unto man, once to die. Nevertheless, because of the victory that Jesus Christ achieved when he arose, triumphantly conquering sin and its consequences of sin, including sickness and even death itself, as believers we also share in that mighty triumph.

Hebrews 2:14-15 reiterates that very point about death:

14 Therefore, since [these His] children share in flesh and blood [the physical nature of mankind], He Himself in a similar manner also shared in the same [physical nature, but without sin], so that through [experiencing] death He might make powerless (ineffective, impotent) him who had the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and [that He] might free all those who through [the haunting] fear of death were held in slavery throughout their lives.

In the same way, not even life can come between us and Christ’s love. The life we now live, we live by the faith of Jesus Christ, who is our life, the one who gives us life and more abundant life. In actuality, that life is eternal.

“nor angels nor principalities”

Whether we are talking about deceptive angels of light that seek to distract and throw us off track or whether we are dealing with the powers of darkness, principalities and powers from on high that we wrestle with, not one of these spiritual entities and disrupt our closeness with God and the ever-abiding presence of His love revealed through Christ Jesus.

“nor things present nor things to come”

No present successes nor personal triumphs in any area of our lives, nor can current failures nor shortcomings, destroy the bond that keeps us close. Nothing that we say or do not say, nothing that we do or do not do, can separate us since past, present, and future all converge in Christ Jesus.

One translation of this section states that “no condition of the present life and none of the unknown possibilities of the life to come” can sever our close connection that we have with the Father expressed in Christ Jesus, who loved us and gave himself for us.

Nor height, nor depth

Job 11:7-8 raises these probing questions about God:

Job 11:7

“Can you discover the depths of God? Can you [by searching] discover the limits of the Almighty [ascend to His heights, extend to His widths, and comprehend His infinite perfection]?

Job 11:8

“His wisdom is as high as the heights of heaven. What can you do? It is deeper than Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead). What can you know?

The lyrics of one of the spirituals proclaim this about God:

He’s high (so high you can’t get over Him)
And He’s wide (so wide you can’t get around Him)
He’s so deep (so deep you can’t get under him)

“nor any other created thing”

The phrase “created thing” refers to any other thing in the whole created universe of God.

Romans 1:20 offers this statement regarding God’s creation:

For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense.

So in response to the question, is there “any-thing” that has even the slightest possibility of separating us from God’s love, the answer is clear: absolutely “no-thing” can even come close.

Paul’s response begins with this emphatic expression: “I am persuaded,” title of this musical selection by Natalie Shaver:

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2 Responses to “I am persuaded: Neither, nor”

  1. JD Blom Says:

    Wonderful and timely reminder; beautiful song!

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