Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Steadfast Love of God

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:33-39

In Hebrew the word 'satan' means "accuser." So when the Old Testament identifies our enemy by this word it is telling us more than just his name. It is telling us his character. He is an accuser. It is what he loves to do. Just like he did with Job, he accuses the beloved of our God. No doubt he takes great pleasure in accusing us to our Father, to ourselves, and to others. He tries to convince us that we are in danger of losing God's love because we are unworthy of it. He hurls accusations at us, turning our focus toward our failings and then (just like he did in the Garden of Eden) he plants his question of doubt in our minds. "Did God really say He loved you? Did God really say that He would never leave nor forsake you? Did God really say that you were forgiven? Surely God couldn't love someone like you!?"

Our Lord answers these accusations in the passage above by redirecting our attention away from our failings and toward His faithfulness. If He has given us Jesus, if He has declared us justified in His sight, then who can condemn us? No one! Not even ourselves. It is true that we are unworthy of God's love, but God has given it to us anyway. To doubt it now is not to doubt ourselves but to doubt the steadfastness of our Father's love. He is no fickle lover moving from one to another day after day. He has chosen us as His own and no one can snatch us out of His hand.

Because this is the case we are strengthened and enabled to endure any trial in this life. We will not turn our back on so great a love as this. Even though our enemy whispers in our ear "God doesn't love you. If He did, He wouldn't let this happen to you." Even so we will take up our crosses and carry them proudly. For the New Testament tells us that Satan is the father of lies. And what is more we know that in these trials and even in death "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Death does not separate us from our Father's love. To the contrary it gives occasion for us to receive the full inheritance of His love. In this life we only have the down payment, in the life to come we will receive the full measure. Now we see as in a mirror, there we will see Him face-to-face. So rest easy dear saint. No one can take away your most precious treasure for it has been laid up in heaven for you and it awaits your arrival. 
For further reading...
  • Job 1-2: Check out Satan's accusations of Job and God's faith in him.
  • Genesis 3: Refresh your memory on how Satan operates and guard against those questions of doubt.
  • John 10:27-29: No one can snatch us out of His hand.
  • II Corinthians 5:4-6: The Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.
  • I Corinthians 13:12: Now we see as in a mirror.

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