by Kathy Howard
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 NLT
In August 2021, flash flood waters overwhelmed Waverly, Tennessee, killing more than twenty people. Almost two feet of rain had fallen in 24 hours—nine inches in three hours alone. The area’s network of rivers and creeks could not contain the deluge. A tidal wave of water barreled through the community like a freight train. One mother and her five children clung to a clothesline as the deep water roared through their home. But the torrent ripped her two-year-old son from her arms and carried him away. The power of the water was stronger than the mother’s arms.
In Romans 8:39, Paul beautifully assured those first-century Roman believers—and believers today—that nothing can rip us away from God and His unconditional, unfailing love.
Yes, wickedness, hardships, and threats fill this life. Sometimes we fall into deep pits with no visible means of escape. We face enemies that gain ground and push us back. In those moments, we may feel as though God has forgotten us, that we stand outside His love.
But, praise God, it doesn’t matter how dire our circumstances appear. The strength of our enemies and the size of our problems are irrelevant in light of God’s power and the nature of His love. This wasn’t just intellectual knowledge for Paul. He spoke from experience. Paul had suffered imprisonment, beatings, a stoning, shipwrecks, persecution, hunger, and a myriad of dangers (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). Yet through it all God held him in His loving hands.
The Greek word translated as “love” in Romans 8 is “agape.” According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, agape is an act of the will, not an emotional feeling. God chooses to express His love to us. Agape is not based on the merit of the recipient. God’s love flows from His unchanging holy character. We cannot earn God’s love, but He gives it freely.
God’s love is unconditional because it depends on Himself and nothing else. Therefore, we can have complete assurance in God’s love for us. Nothing can dampen, derail, or defeat it. Nothing can separate us from God’s love—not even ourselves.
We see God’s love best demonstrated in our salvation. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV). This ultimate act of agape love secures and guarantees our eternal salvation. God has declared us righteous through the saving work of Christ. Therefore, no one can accuse or condemn us. There is no court of appeals. God is the final and ultimate judge.
There will be times in our lives when we don’t sense God’s presence, seasons when we don’t see Him working. In those moments, let’s reflect on this incredible truth: Nothing can separate us from God and His love. Christ has already won the battle, and victory is ours.
[This post was adapted from Kathy’s upcoming devotional book, Deep Rooted: Growing through the Book of Romans.]
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate, richest coffee, and cherished stories of faith. She also digs deep into Scripture, mining God’s eternal truths. Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education and has taught the Bible for more than 30 years in a wide variety of venues. Kathy is the author of 12 books, including Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith and the “meaty” devotional series Deep Rooted. Kathy and her husband live in north Texas. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and one accidental dog. Find free discipleship resources at www.KathyHoward.org.
Have you lost the wonder of your salvation? Maybe you’ve forgotten the abundant riches of God’s grace. The Gospel isn’t just a statement of faith. It is more than hope for eternity. The Gospel of Jesus is the power of God for your life today. Recapture the awe of your life in Christ with this 40-day pilgrimage through the book of Romans. Like the rest of the Deep Rooted devotional series, the Romans volume uses the 4-R Bible study framework to help you learn how to interact with and respond to Scripture, not simply read it. These meaty, daily devotions will increase your hunger for God’s Word, encourage spiritual growth and stability, and lay the groundwork for a life-long, spiritually-healthy habit.
Join the conversation. What do you do when you lose a sense of God’s presence?