Cornerstone EPC Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734 April 12, 2020
“Why Nothing Shall Separate Us from God’s Love”
Today is Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, where we once again confess that fundamental confession of Christ: “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” Our joy knows no bounds because of this incontrovertible fact. This fact also grounds our sermon’s theme today: Because Jesus Christ is raised alive from the tomb, nothing shall separate us—who are in Him by faith—from God’s love. Let us give our attention once again to the reading and proclaiming of God’s Word in this place.
(HERE READ THE TEXT)
First, note from the text that God is for us—and this not because we deserve His favor, but because He is rich in mercy. The evidence that God is for us piles up from the very first verse of this letter, grows in ever-increasing measure through the early chapters of Romans (which deal with utter depravity [1:18-3:20], justification [3:21-5:21], and sanctification [6:1-8:39]), and reaches its pinnacle in our text and in the verses immediately preceding it.
If God is for us, then who indeed is against us? After all, God, in His infinite wisdom and love, gave His Son up for us all—sparing Him not. We, in God’s gift of His Son, have all other good things as well—things such as eternal life, abundant life, hope, the certainly that God’s promises will come to pass, and many others. Who will accuse the chosen ones of God? Perhaps Satan will—after all, his very name means either accuser or adversary—but our Lord never will. In fact, God justifies us in His Son. He declares us not guilty before His holy bar, because His Son, infinitely innocent in Himself, became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and, hence, guilty in our steads. Who will condemn us who are in Christ? Certainly not Jesus, for the reasons now coming to our attention.
Second, note also from the text that Jesus’ resurrection is the supreme evidence that God is for us. All four of the Evangelists testify that Jesus rose bodily from Joseph of Arimathea’s borrowed tomb. Certainly, those called to be Jesus’ friends testify to His resurrection, but even His enemies testify tacitly to the fact (as, for instance, in Matthew 28:11-15). The New Testament, whose ultimate Author is God, the Holy Spirit, testifies that Jesus, between His resurrection and His ascension to Heaven forty days later, was seen by over five hundred people. Jesus, once again in Heaven after His earthly ministry, now sits (in His Heavenly session) at God’s right hand—where He reigns on high, awaits the cue from the Father to come again to this world, and intercedes (or pleads) for us who are in Christ to His Father and ours.
Therefore, third, nothing will separate us from His love. Hardships, such as those noted in verse thirty-five, will not separate us from His love. Though persecutors, who inflict such miseries upon us, regard Christ’s own—the likes of us—as sheep to be slaughtered, actually we have complete victory through Him Who loved us. Indeed, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus in every circumstance, whether favorable or adverse. Incorporeal beings, such as angels and invisible spiritual rulers—themselves a subset of the demonic horde—cannot separate us from God’s love. Note also the host of other things that do separate, which do not separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus: height, depth, death, life, present things, future things, anything else in all creation. This lengthy list serves as a part—albeit, a large part—for the whole. Truly nothing will separate us who are in Christ from the love of God—and that shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Whom He has given to us (Romans 5:5).
Jesus said to His disciples, on the night of His betrayal, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19b). Jesus speaks of Himself to Nicodemus during their nighttime conversation, saying, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). Therefore, on this day of resurrection, cry out to God, by faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, for salvation, if you’ve never done so before now. Then rejoice, for all promised to those who are in Christ is now yours. Return to fresh, intentional walk with God on this day of resurrection, O believer who has not walked with Him as intently as is meet. Then rejoice, knowing that you were made for such a walk in such a time as this. Continue your ardent pursuit of Christ on this day of resurrection, O faithful disciple, and be diligent not to decline from this way. Then rejoice, and may the joy of the Lord be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Jesus, Who was delivered up for our trespasses, is made alive for our justification (Romans 4:25). This is God’s supreme display that He is for us. Because God is for us, and because Jesus rose from the tomb, we who belong to Christ by faith in Him will never be separated from Him—or from His love. May the Lord bless you one and all both on this day of resurrection and always.