by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 7 September 17, 2017 Humble, Texas
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1901 ASV Translation:
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I. For I Am Persuaded.
A. This verb is a Perfect Passive Indicative, indicating a completed accomplishment in the past with continuing results and with the verb's "subject" being the recipient of that past labor.
1. There are occasions when the translators only give us the present result ("I am persuaded") without letting us know that this present result is the outcome of someone else's "perfected" activity in the past ("I have been persuaded so that I now stand persuaded"). This is not a small matter. We, as people, are often presently "convinced" of a "truth" and have no clue as to how we became so sure of ourselves. Ignorance of the roots of a persuasion can actually set us up for a failure of confidence. Just because I "believe" something today does not mean that I will believe it tomorrow.
2. Thus, we ask the obvious: How did Paul become so sure of himself?
a. Romans 14:14 declares, "I have been persuaded by [en] the Lord Jesus that...".
b. Romans 15:14, using different grammar in Greek, is translated by the Authorized Version translators, "I am persuaded of you my brethren...".
B. This verb follows hard on the heels of Paul's claim that we are far more than mere victors because our victory is found in The One Who Loved Us.
1. That this overwhelming victory is "through the One Who Loved" indicates once again just how critical our position in Christ as the only effective agency of that shift of position actually is.
2. No one who depends upon him/her self can legitimately claim to be "in Christ".
II. The Territory Covered By This Persuaded Condition.
A. Death and Life (opposites). How would either of these even hold the possibility of an ability to "insert a wedge" between us and the Love of The God which is "in" Christ Jesus"?
B. Angels and Archons (general category pushed into the most influential members of it). Same question, but with a hint of an answer: "angels" and "archons" are noted for being "powerful". This would put the issue as one of omnipotence vs. creature power(s).
C. Things already in place and Things that may later inhabit the landscape (realities and possibilities). Same question, but putting the players into a "circumstance-control" mode.
D. Powers (a stand-alone).
E. Heights and Depths (opposites). Same question. How can up/down distance issues be any kind of threat?
F. Any other (different) created thing (all inclusive stand-alone).
III. The Actual "Conviction".
A. None of the above have the ability to drive a wedge between us and The Love of The God.
1. At the core of our experience of The Love of The God is His decision as to whether, or not, He will pull back from His willingness to share His Joy of Life with us.
2. As referenced earlier, it is not merely some "external" separator, though there is real evidence that external agents do have some levels of ability to interfere with our experience of the Love of The God (Daniel 10:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Job 1-2; 1 Corinthians 5).
3. However, humanity's greatest problem is its own "internal" realities that drive the real wedges and if God hasn't "handled" those, then nothing else matters: all is lost.
a. The essence of the New Covenant is the creation of a "new heart", by which real fellowship can take place, and without which nothing really changes.
b. That Paul himself declared the "security" of some of those who professed faith and the "danger" for some of those who professed faith means that there is some level of ambivalence when it comes time to apply these truths to a specific person.
B. This "Love" is deliberately closely defined: "that [Love] which [is] in Christ Jesus the Lord of us".
1. This is not the general love of God for all; it is the specific love of those in Christ Jesus who obtain significant benefits from its presence.
2. Being "separated" from this love strongly implies being placed outside of the benefits it brings to those "in" Christ Jesus.
IV. The Impact of This Conviction.
A. For those who possess it, a relationship with God is present and healthy.
B. For those who do not possess it, life is filled with conflicts, strivings, and fears.