Who Will Separate Us From the Love of Christ?

In my last article, we briefly looked at God's sovereignty, which is to say God is in complete control of all things. Believe it or not, there is no single more significant reason for an assurance of salvation than God's sovereignty when it is attached to His faithfulness.

Do you have an assurance of your salvation? Do you know for certain if you were to die today, you would go to heaven?

In his letter to the Romans, Paul asks the most important question concerning the believer's eternal security. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Romans 8:35) Just before asking about the power of Christ's love, he asked three rhetorical questions. First, "If God is for us, who is against us?" What possible difference could it make if anyone were against us when God omnipotent is for us, which is Paul's point.

Second, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" Paul here speaks of all believers, bought with the death and sufferings of God's beloved Son. There could not have been a more significant cost attached to God's love. The price of God's love is the second in a three-strand unbreakable cord. The third question identifies those upon whom God placed such extravagant love. "Who will bring a charge against God's elect?" The Greek term used for the elect is eklektos, which means chosen, and out of personal preference.

The believer is chosen by God apart from any approval, which otherwise underminds grace. Grace is a gift without cost or merit by the recipient. God's choice, we are then told, was made before the sinner's existence. Ephesians 1:4, "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him." To be holy and blameless before God, we must be identified "in" Christ. The person identified in Christ is as secure as secure can get.

In the following three chapters of Romans, Paul answers the question he knows they will ask, "What about Israel?" If God cast off Israel forever, what about me? Therefore, Paul took three chapters to reveal the absurdity of such a thought. Time does not permit us to consider the entirety of Paul's argument. Suffice to say, Israel is God's first choice. In Paul's words, He made Israel the tree trunk and all other nations the branches.

He began his argument by stating what was given by God to Israel. "to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the [temple] service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh..." (Romans 9:4, 5). God used Israel to bring all these things into the world.

Paul concludes his argument stating the re-establishment of Israel as the natural tree a certainty. "how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?" (Romans 11:24) Paul conclusively proves that all Israel will be saved and again serve God in His redemption plan.

God has chosen to use the Church instead of Israel to bring individuals to Christ for the past two-thousand years. God always saves individuals. The entire first generation of Israelites was lost in the wilderness. Israel has always been hard-hearted and stiff-necked in God's words. It is the nature of man to hate God and reject Him forever. Salvation is by grace alone, no one deserves it, no one can earn it, and no one would ever choose it.

Concerning freedom of the will, Martin Luther wrote, "If by freedom of the will you mean the ability to make a choice, you are using far too grandiose a term." His point is simple; we are only free to make choices about things we can do. You can choose to walk to the moon tomorrow if you'd like, but I wouldn't count on it.

On the other hand, God can make a camel pass through the eye of a needle, and a God-hating, self-righteous, sin-loving, and idol-worshipping pagan a child of God. As such, God saves but secures by identifying His beloved children in the person and work of His self-sacrificing Son. Now that is security.

The sheep that follow Christ have a new nature. Old nature sheep would never follow Christ. New nature sheep will only follow Christ. Don't believe me, believe Jesus. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;" (John 10:27). The gift that Jesus gives is for eternity. He has never been, nor will He ever be double-minded. "and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;" Never sounds re-assuring to me. Jesus has a pretty good grip on that which belongs to Him. "and no one will snatch them out of My hand." The Father has an equally good grip. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." In the final analysis, there are two persons with one mind about a believer's security. "I and the Father are one."

If I find my security in my choice to follow Jesus, I will not fall asleep tonight. My security is in God choosing me. How about you?

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