by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 5 August 20, 2017 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(109)Thesis: Nothing can separate us from The Love of The Christ.
Introduction: In our studies of this final paragraph in Romans 8, we have seen that Paul asks and answers seven questions that all swirl around whether, or not, we believe that God is "for us". The first question calls for our reaction to the ministry of God's Spirit to us and its implications, and the remaining six all bring up the issues of "believing" that God is "for us" in the face of daily circumstances. He made the "standard" of God's "for us" reality by pressing the issues of the cross, and then He systematically addressed the issues of the tactics of those who are "against us".
This evening we are going to look at the sixth and seventh questions. Both have to do with whether, or not, we can be separated from The Love of The Christ.
I. The Statement of the Questions.
A. Who shall separate us from The Love of The Christ?
1. The idea of "separation" is that of some kind of wedge driven between two (or more) so that their relationship is broken.
a. The wedge can come in multiple forms (there are seven listed in this text, but in 2 Corinthians 11:26 there are eight types of "perils" listed so that we may safely say that there are multiple issues of each of the seven forms listed).
b. The wedge is between "us" as "God's elect" and "The Love of The Christ".
2. There is "someone" behind all of these forms of wedges.
B. Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
1. In Luke 8:13 Luke pulls two of these issues (tribulation and persecution -- given by Matthew 13:21 and Mark 4:17) down into one: "temptation").
a. Luke's term indicates a "proving" of harmony between speech and action.
b. Luke plainly says that, in the case of those who "believe for a season", the temptation is effective.
c. When we compare the previous verse (Romans 8:34) and its focus upon the intercessory ministry of The Christ on our behalf to Luke 22:31-32, we see why these wedges are ineffective: Christ intercedes for God's elect (He prayed for Peter, but not Judas).
2. This list of seven addresses all three of the weaknesses of the human condition (body, soul, and spirit) in multiple ways.
II. The Underlying Reality.
A. None of the seven listed "wedges" have any "wedge-power" in and of themselves.
B. The danger is, in effect, the potential "failure of faith" indicated by Luke in both Luke 8 and 22.
C. Thus, the "wedge-power" is the ability of extreme "negatives" in our experience that challenge our "faith" that God is "for us" and that "The Love of The Christ" actually reaches beyond Calvary to the "all [lesser] things" that God will graciously give us.
D. Thus, Paul's focus is upon both the fact of Christ's death on the cross and the extension of the "all things" and upon the ineffectual "temptations" of the list of seven in all of their variations so that "we" may confidently say, "God is for us".
III. The Proof: Psalm 44:22.
A. The claim of the psalm is that it is the "norm" for the list of seven to be a part of our experience.
B. The argument is that this "norm" simply does not have any "wedge-power" if it is understood.