by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 8 June 24, 2008 Lincolnton, N.C.
(414)Thesis:It is impossible for a believer to be separated from the love of God.
Introduction:For months we have been studying Romans 8. Tonight we come to the final sentence and our final study in this chapter. For the last few weeks we have been considering the question of whether we (God's elect) can be separated from the love of God/Christ. The central issue in the question is what it means to be separated from that love. We answered that question in our studies of what God has done to keep any accusations from being able to bring about the accuser's intention. Since "justification" is the first act of God in the frustration of the accuser, we know that a key element in the accuser's intention is to bring the wrath of God into play. As a Just Judge, God has to "handle" any charge of evil that is levied against anyone. Since it is the Judge Who has "justified" the elect, it is impossible to bring wrath to bear unless it can be shown that the foundations of justification are flawed. Those foundations are the Person and Works of Christ. So, to succeed, the accuser must be able to establish some attitude or act of Jesus as evil so that the foundations of justification can be revealed to be a violation of Justice. But, the issue is the question of the accuser's intention: to bring the wrath of Justice to bear against one of God's elect. So, to be separated from the love of Christ/God means to be moved beyond the protection of love into subjection to wrath. Paul's question has been this: Can this happen? And his answer has consistently been, "No".
One might be tempted to ask why Paul did not "just say 'No'"? The answer to that is revealed by this fact: the majority of visible Christendom posits the possibility of the answer being 'Yes', in spite of Paul's words and grace theology. If a simple 'No' would have sufficed, it would have been given, but men are so terribly disposed to be unbelieving that Paul felt compelled to add verses 38 and 39 to his already given denial of the possibility.
This evening we are going to consider Paul's final words on the subject.
I. The "Persuasion".
A. Paul claims that he "stands persuaded".
1. The implication is that he did not formerly believe this.
2. The question is: What persuaded him?
3. The answer has to arise from what he has written to the Romans.
B. The "persuasion".
1. His grace theology is pervasive and all-inclusive.
a. Paul's grace theology is that God does for the object of His grace what His own character demands of that object and gives that object credit for the accomplishment at the point of faith.
b. It is this issue -- the point of faith -- that becomes the weak link in Paul's argument for those inclined to not only be unbelieving, but to also promote their unbelief for consumption by others.
c. But, the theology of grace is that God does for us what He requires of us so that if "faith" is a requirement, He must produce it if grace is to remain in the picture.
2. His own experience validated his grace theology.
II. The Extent of the Persuasion.
A. Beyond Death and Life (the realm of the experience of wrath and grace).
B. Beyond Angels and Principalities (the realm of the exercise of authority).
C. Beyond what is current or about to be (the realm of Time).
D. Beyond Powers (the realm of the exercise of power).
E. Beyond Height and Depth (the realm of distance).
F. Beyond any "Other" created reality (the realm of everything not mentioned).