What child of God has not turned with holy rapture to the praise-giving truth of the tenth chapter of John, in order to find that, in view of the subtle working of the thief and the wolf and the hireling, each seeking his own selfish ends in the ruin of the sheep, he has the double security of the hand of the Son and the Father. He rests in eternal safety in the palms of these two almighty hands. None can pluck him thence; and in his preservation from every foe the Father and Son are equally engaged. “I and my Father are one,” says our blessed Lord and Saviour, in the custody of every lamb and sheep that is enclosed in this “double grip.” Herein lies our perfect confidence. They are “one,” assuredly, in every divine purpose and operation, but not least in the safeguarding from every conceivable foe of those for whom, as the Good Shepherd, Jesus died, and in whom they trust.
If, in this precious chapter, we have the security of the hand of God the Son and of God the Father, we have also, in the eighth of Romans, our inseparability from the love of Christ and the love of God. This is, perhaps, even more blessed. The challenge is made: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” And the answer is given, in the deep heart-persuasion of the Apostle, writing by the Spirit: “I am persuaded that”—and then in thought, sweeping through the wide range of all hostile powers from the highest heights to the lowest depths; from death with its sting to life and its snares; from the wiles of the Serpent to the hidden and unseen energy of opposing principalities and powers; from the terrorizing influence of things seen to the unknown possibilities of things unseen; and, finally, summing up every imaginable adversary, he says: “nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The love of God finds its anchorage, not in the feeble faith of His people, but “in Christ Jesus our Lord.” No storm can drag the anchor thence. It is assured for ever more.
Separation from that love is impossible. We are held by its “double grip.”
Oh! how strong is the love of Christ; how mighty the love of God in Him!
The strength of His hand and the love of His heart may banish every fear, and lift the oft-burdened head from a sense of disaster to one of rest. But it is not only security, not only the conviction of the favour of the Godhead that exhausts this glorious persuasion. There is the personal enjoyment of this wondrous love.
One would almost think that the last five verses of Romans 8 had been written for our day of sorrow. They certainly were intended for the comfort of troubled hearts at all times. “Tribulation” is written big on the face of the world today; hearts are torn; eyes are weeping; homes are desolated. And who should feel this tribulation more than the children of God, who, because of their divinely-given place as intercessors for others, have the privilege of dealing directly with God, and thus of feeling with Him the effects of the sin which lies at the bottom of it all. Persecution for Christ’s sake may not be their portion; but there is the unquestionable activity of the devil, as, with malicious zeal, he raises nation against nation to the misery of all. This they should feel most keenly. It should be, and, no doubt, is the burden of their constant prayers. They may not know exactly what “to pray for as they ought,” but they can prostrate themselves, together with the groan of creation, before God that He may exercise that mercy which He loves to show. This is their duty and high privilege.
But be their tribulation, their sorrow, their famine, their bereavement what it may—and they share it in common with humanity at large—they have the precious assurance that they possess one thing which, when all else may go from them, abides as their everlasting and inalienable portion. They are the objects of the love of Christ and of the love of God which is in Him.
What a rest for their troubled hearts! What a pillow for their weary heads! Look up, dear distracted, distressed, bewildered brother and sister in Christ. You may see no apparent issue; your hopes may have all been blighted and the greatest tribulation may have befallen you. But think not that you are forsaken, nor forgotten of God. Whatever separation may have occurred there is no power on earth or in Hell able to separate you from the love of God.
Could a higher climax be reached than these closing words of Romans 8? Could a broken heart find greater comfort in the wide universe of God? All else may fail but His eternal love. Worlds themselves may perish, but not so “the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” and that love is set upon you for all eternity.