God’s love is a remarkable thing. We, as Christians see it at work in our lives. We have seen it in the undeserving forgiveness that we experienced at salvation, to the daily blessing of His love in our lives. We see and feel God’s love in so many ways. But try to define it. Like many things in life, to feel something and know that something is real is often different than trying to define it. I think it is difficult for us to define such a thing as God’s love. It is something that is best left for the experience rather than the mental understanding of it. In Paul’s writing to the Roman church he takes a moment to ponder the greatness of God’s love for us. He highlights the strength of it and what that means for the believer today. I think many of us are aware of the presence of God’s love in the world and in our life. But what often are not living within the bounds of it, that is to say with an awareness of it. Here is what Paul says:
Romans 8:35-39 (NASB Strong’s) Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
WE were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You will see four things that Paul uses in describing God’s love.
- It is Sovereign- God’s love is supreme, it is all powerful, nothing can overcome it or dilute it. God’s love has been present and will always be present. It is typified by what Jesus did on the Cross for each and everyone of us. He loved us enough that He chose to die for our sin. We need to learn to live within the bounds of His love by trusting the sovereignty of His love’
- It is far Reaching- God loves everyone regardless from where they come or what they have done. The gift of His love is not just reserved for the religious or the righteous. It is there for everyone, anyone, all people. It is not up to us to choose whom God’s love is for or who we think deserves it, thankfully. What kind of world would it be if we got to choose who was deserving of God’s love? A very distorted world! We don’t have the capacity to understand the depth of God’s love and the nature of it. This includes the availability of it for all persons. This is why God does not rely on us to approve His love for others.
- It is unconditional- God’s love is not based on merit. We can never do anything that would cause us to deserve it. There are not enough good works in an entire lifetime that would qualify us for the gift of His love. He gives it to us, without condition. We never have to worry about whether He still loves us or is maybe wavering in His love for us. The great part of His love is that we can’t interfere with it.
- It is eternal- God’s love is everlasting, it will never be extinguished. It won’t burn out or limited in any way. God’s love has always been, is still and will always be present. We must accept this love and learn to live within the bounds of it.
The message of Paul to the Roman church is one that we as believers living today need to hear and take to heart. We may be aware of God’s love and even rely on it on a daily basis. But the question is are we living within the bounds of it? Are we living like we are loved children of God? I think when we are living within in the bounds of it, we are shaped by it. It transforms us and completes us.