From Romans 8:
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Intern is a movie about a man named Ben Whitaker who is 70 and retired. His wife has passed away, and He has used all of his frequent flyer miles to see the world. When he comes home from these trips, he feels bored. Retirement is not what he had imagined.
So, He finds a flyer calling for retired people to be interns at an internet clothing site in his neighborhood. He ends up making a romantic connection with the masseuse who works for the company. The first place Ben brings Fiona (Rene Russo) is a funeral service. That is a strange location for a first date!
The contrast is striking; Ben has lost a friend (separation), but is connecting with a new person on the same day! Your English teacher might call this juxtaposition.
Life is very often like that. Children grow up and leave for college then spouses become closer. Friends move away and new friends enter in. Co-workers retire and new co-workers arrive. Unless we make the effort to continue connecting with those who left, the relationships drift into fond memories.
Paul gives us good news in Romans 8 (see above). He wants you to know that there is nothing that will separate us from the love of God ‘in Christ Jesus’. How powerful is that? His own confidence is translated into forceful language given to the church of his time. And, that church was certainly suffering. Persecution and execution were the order of the day. In fact, Christians face persecutions for 300 years before the Emperor Constantine came into power.
The early church faced separations as the people they loved were imprisoned, tortured and killed. Not a pleasant thought! Even today, Christians are being persecuted and executed all over the world. They are separated from family and church. The losses are staggering to those who love them.
Yet, Paul is telling the church of his era and the church of our era, “Take courage!” “You might think that these situations can separate you from God, but they can’t!” He tells us the following things cannot separate us from the love of God:
- Death – the most dreaded and feared of our enemies in this life
- Life – persecutions from the world and rejection
- Angels – Lucifer and his minions cannot divide us from Jesus
- Rulers – Governmental authorities can imprison and do other things, but cannot separate you from Jesus
- Things present nor things to come – frightening situations, calamities, disasters
- Powers – groups or governments
- Height nor depth – being stranded or isolated by geography or position
- Anything else in all creation – what other situation or entity can you think of? This also includes guilt, shame, depression, confusion, doubt, despair, fear, etc.
Now, take a sharpie™ and cross out each one of these, saying, “_______ cannot separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus” out loud.
How can we cross these things out when they are part of our present existence?
Because the cross of Jesus utterly defeated them at the cross. Jesus has bonded himself to you in baptismal waters. There, you were buried and made a new creation by the work of the triune God who has resurrected you in this life. He has made you His daughter. He has made you His son. He signed the adoption papers at Calvary in His blood, and now you are His own.
He gives us this promise as we see the forces of separation bearing down on us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Continuing on, the author of Hebrews quotes from Psalm 118 and 56:
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
Take courage brothers and sisters! Nothing shall separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!