The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 9 : Romans (Commentaries on the Book of Romans)

[Chapter 8-13] (Romans 8:35-39) Who Shall Separate the Righteous from the Love of Christ?

(Romans 8:35-39)
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
‘For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
 
 
Verse 35 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Who could separate us from the love of Christ, given to those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has the righteousness of God in it? Could persecution and troubles cut off that love? Could the seven-year Great Tribulation separate us from that love? Of course not!
No tribulation or distress in this world can cut us off from the love of our Lord that has saved us from our sins. Even when we wish, in our tiredness, to be left alone, and someone asks us whether Jesus has saved us from our sins or not, we would all respond that Jesus has indeed saved us and that we are without sin. Regardless of how weary and troubled our hearts may be, He has still saved us and is still our eternal Savior. Even if we were too tired or ill to steadily hold up our own bodies, we would still confess our thanks for the righteousness of God. No weariness can separate us from the righteousness of God that has delivered us from our sins.
Neither persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor the sword can cut us off from the righteousness of God. That we are sometimes shunned and condemned by religious people is the persecution that we face. Our persecutions consist of our friends, neighbors, relatives, and even our own family members leaving us because of their accusations of us being heretics. Could these persecutions separate us from the salvation of Jesus Christ? They most certainly cannot!
Regardless of how severely we are persecuted, it cannot cut us off from the righteousness of God that has saved us. Because God’s righteousness has made us sinless, and because this is the unchanging truth, no one and nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Famine, whether spiritual or physical, could not separate us. Because we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, what always remains in our hearts is the righteousness of God—that is, the faith in our Lord that He has made us sinless with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This faith is the faith and the blessing of believing in the righteousness of God. “Because the Lord has made all my sins disappear, I have no sin! God has made me righteous and sinless, clothing me wholly in His own righteousness!” This is why our faith in the righteousness of God will not disappear, no matter how severe the famine may be.
 

The righteousness of God by the gospel of the water and the Spirit
 
Unless one believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, there is still sin in his/her heart. But one who believes in the righteousness of God has no sin. This is why our Lord said that we could know a tree by its fruits. Those who do not believe in God’s righteousness give up their faiths in Jesus when they face the slightest difficulty, famine, persecution, or tribulation.
There are people who think, “Although Jesus was judged on the Cross on behalf of my sins, only the original sin was removed, and I must daily ask for forgiveness of the other sins I commit everyday.” Those who have this kind of faith are actually sinning against God by not believing that Jesus has taken away all their sins, and in the process, they condemn and corrupt themselves. These are the very people who deny Jesus and who do not believe in the righteousness of God.
But those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are those who believe in God’s righteousness, and regardless of the circumstances that they face, they will firmly hold onto their faith, saying, “God has surely saved me from all the sins of the world. I am sinless!” Even if we are to face death in the last days of our spiritual famine, we will never deny that God has made us sinless and that we have become His people. The righteousness of God that has taken away all our sins will still remain in our hearts as our faith. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is that powerful and great. No matter what kind of tribulations we face in our lives, because the righteousness of God is in Christ, we will never be separated from the love of Christ.
What is it meant by “nakedness” in the above passage? Nakedness refers to losing all our possessions. Until the Medieval Ages, when there was trouble in a village or a nation in the European countries, people often engaged in witch-hunts, using scapegoats to blame for all the troubles; people took everything away from them and accused them of being heretics. This is why Paul used the word “nakedness” here.
In those ages, it was possible to accuse someone of heresy, and with only one or two witnesses, to condemn the accused to be burnt at the stake, confiscate all his/her possessions, and wipe out his/her reputation.
Even if we are driven to our nakedness in such a manner, lose everything we own and are put to death, the righteousness of God that has, in His love for us, taken away all our sins, will never disappear from us—this is how complete the gospel of the water and the Spirit is.
Neither peril nor the sword can separate us from the love of Christ. Even if we are put under the sword and are killed by it, we who believe have no sin. Many Christians in the Early Church were falsely accused of having set fire to Rome and were publicly executed in the coliseum by being fed to lions. Even as they were dying, they praised the Lord who had saved them. They were able to praise because they were believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Those who have been redeemed by believing in the truth that God has loved them and has taken away all their sins can praise the Lord, even while they are being killed and eaten by lions.
This strength comes from the faith in God’s righteousness that has taken away all our sins and in His love. It is because God is in us, speaks to us, holds us strong, protects us and comforts us that such strength can be found. Neither peril nor the sword, nor threatening, nor martyrdom can separate us from God’s love.
Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are those who believe in the righteousness of God and who are the people of Christ. Those who believe in the righteousness of God are those who are loved by Christ. But some people turn Christ’s perfect love into mere emotional love, looking only at His death on the Cross, saddened by and crying over His sufferings. But human emotions can change overnight.
Though our emotions change every morning and every night, the love with which our Lord has saved us cannot be changed or altered by anything. His love is forever unchanging. This is how powerful the gospel of the water and the Spirit is, and this is how great the righteousness of God is. No one can separate us from our Lord, who has made us whole and has clothed us in His perfect love. This is the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit and it is also the power of our faith in God’s righteousness.
The Greek word for “gospel” is “euaggelion,” and it was said to have the “dunamis”―this Greek word means strength, power or ability, from which we get the word “dynamite”―of God. A handful of dynamite is enough to bring down a house to its foundation and crumble it to dust. A Tomahawk missile launched from a warship can destroy a large concrete building and turn it into oblivion. No matter how fortified the building may be, it is no match for the missile’s destructive power.
Two civilian airplanes brought down the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. What happened when the planes hit the buildings? Ignited by the explosion of the planes, the fire fed by the jet fuel was so intense that it melted everything in the floors that were penetrated by the planes. Because the floors’ steel structures and columns that supported the buildings were all melted down, the floors suddenly collapsed, and the buildings could not bear the weight of these collapsing floors, so finally, they disintegrated in their entirety. Had the floors come down slowly, the buildings would not have collapsed. But because the floors fell suddenly and swiftly, the columns and other supporting structures collapsed, and the whole buildings were, as we all witnessed, brought down in a matter of seconds.
The power of God’s gospel is that of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is also the power that has His righteousness in it. Perhaps it is not fit to use this tragedy to illustrate the righteousness of God, but the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the righteousness of God is like dynamite that can completely wipe out all the sins. The righteousness of God is that our Lord has saved us by taking away all our sins by coming to this earth, being baptized, dying on the Cross, and resurrecting from death.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the righteousness of God with which Jesus has taken away all the sins that mankind has committed, from the very beginning of the universe to its end. This is why nothing can separate God from those who are loved by Him through their redemption by their faiths in the gospel of the righteousness of God. Paul’s faith, too, was one that believed in God’s righteousness.
Can we, then, receive God’s righteousness by the gospel of just the blood of the Cross? We cannot. Believing only in the gospel of the blood of the Cross alone cannot give us the righteousness of God. Those who think otherwise will easily give up their faith in Jesus at the slightest provocation.
For instance, when their earthly possessions are taken away, or when they encounter difficulties at work because of their religious orientations, they will easily succumb to renounce their faith. This is an inevitable outcome and is applicable to many Christians. Those who, by not believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, do not have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and are not redeemed from their sins, are bound to capitulate at the smallest threat.
The reason why today’s Christianity is so weak in this world is because of this faith that is limited to only the blood of the Cross. This kind of faith is one that has not received God’s righteousness through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
A righteous believer who has been redeemed from all his/her sins by receiving the righteousness of God can work for many souls. Since he/she believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and has the Holy Spirit, and because God is with him/her in His Word, that person can do many spiritual works and turn many lost souls back to God. This is the faith in the righteousness of God, the faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is given by God, not by our own works, and thus it is also through God that we can do His works.
Verse 36 says, “As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’” Among those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are those who are actually treated in this manner while living on this earth. In fact, believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are often hated by others, particularly by those with wrong faith, who claim to be Christians themselves.
The born-again Christians are, in other words, hated more by nominal Christians than by Buddhists. This passage, that “for your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter,” is the Word of God spoken to believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even our Lord, by following the Father’s will with His baptism and death on the Cross, was “accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” The Lord saved us by coming to and living such a life on this earth.
 

The righteousness of God has won over all the sins of the world
 
Verse 37 says, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” How can we win over all these things? We claim our victory by the power of our faith in God’s love.
One who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit has the power of God. But one who does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit only has sin in his/her heart. The faith and salvation of those who are with sin cannot but have ups and downs because of their emotions, and thus, they have no power. But those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have the power. They do not have power by themselves, but they have the power of the gospel given by God, and with this power, they can withstand and triumph over all persecutions and tribulations. The righteous must engage in a spiritual battle against sinners and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them. The righteous must also tolerate living and being persecuted for the gospel as their natural lot. A life that lives for the Lord is our lot.
An oriental proverb says, “Were one to miss reading for a single day, he would speak out stinging words.” What about us then? We, too, are prone to rush into corruption if we let a day go by without living for God and His gospel. This is how we would live our lives until our deaths. But if we live for Christ, sacrifice ourselves and are persecuted for God, and if we wage a spiritual war against the spiritual forces of evil, our hearts will be filled with spiritual food, from which we will find new strengths to go on.
When Christians fall, it is because they did not live for the Lord. But when we live for the Lord, our spiritual strengths grow even more, and our physical health and strengths also become stronger.
Verse 38-39 says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As a believer in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, Paul was convinced of this. The same truth applies to us: neither death nor life can separate us from Christ.
In the old ages, those wielding worldly power, such as Roman emperors, tried to persuade Christians to renounce their faith and report their fellow believers to the authorities by offering all kinds of enticements, from high offices, wives and properties, all in return for their renouncement. But the true believers in the gospel never yielded to the temptation of power, property or honor.
Faith is not something that can be exchanged for what the world can offer. If someone were to show us a blank check and say to us, “I will give you this check, if you stop spreading the gospel,” we would be able to reply, because of our hope for the future and our strong faith in God, “You will need it yourself, so spend it; to me, it is nothing but a piece of paper.”
 

Only the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the gospel that has the righteousness of God
 
There are many people who have said to me, “If you just admit that our faith in just the blood of the Cross is also a right faith, we, too, will then approve your faith. Not only will we stop accusing you of heresy, but we will actually help you.” These so-called religious leaders in particular have sought such compromises from me. But the righteousness of God is precise and certain when measured by His Word. What is wrong is wrong, and what is the truth is the truth. Giving recognition to a wrong faith is in itself an act of rebellion against God, and so I am not only unable to approve their faith, but I must also constantly point out its fallacies.
“You believe just in the blood of the Cross? Then you must have sin in your heart. You are bound to hell. I can’t help it even if you think that I am too serious and unyielding; what is the truth is the truth.” Because of such words, people keep their distance from me—more precisely, they cannot be close to me. Many people used to approach me, thinking that I was like them. But each time, I have told them, “You are false shepherds and swindlers who trade in God’s name to elk out a living, merely simple thieves.” Who would have liked me when I said such things? But what is not is not, and this is why I have been so firm and unfaltering in my stand.
I have also been tempted by those who say that if I only believed in the blood of the Cross, they will give me such and such authority. But as the above passage says, “nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing,” we have no need for any authority, height or depth. We don’t need the healing power that some swindlers claim to have. Those of us who are born again have no need for such things, and we don’t even like them.
The passage also tells us that no other created thing can separate us from the love of God in our Lord Jesus Christ. Even if there were aliens in this universe, they wouldn’t be able to separate us from the love of God that has saved us.
There are some Christians who believe in the existence of extraterrestrial beings. Even among pastors, many believe in their existence. But there is no such thing as an alien. When I was attending seminary, one of my professors, who taught Greek, believed in the existence of aliens. So, I asked him, “Can you support your belief with any evidence from the Scripture?” Of course, He could not come up with any answer to my objection. There are absolutely no aliens. God loved the world so much that He gave us His only begotten Son. If there were indeed aliens, there would have been no need for Jesus to be born only on this earth.
After massive investments and research, we have already been able to reach the moon, and our probes have landed even on Mars, but we have not discovered a single evidence that indicates the existence of life forms outside the earth. I can confidently assert, based on the Scripture, that regardless of how developed mankind’s scientific and technological capabilities become, and regardless how extensively we search the universe, we will never find extraterrestrials. The Bible tells us that no other created thing can separate us from the love of God in our Lord Jesus Christ. What, then, is this love of God? This is no other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is God’s love. The salvation that has saved us and made us sinless with the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the love of God, and nothing can separate us from this love.
Paul speaks of faith again in chapter 9, but it is in his conclusion of chapter 8 where the apex of faith is reached. Chapters 1 through 8 of the Book of Romans form a theme, and with chapter 8 as its concluding chapter, it is here where the height of faith is reached. As the Word of God in chapter 8 shows us, only those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can become inseparable from the love of God.
Those who do not believe so, however, will never be so. They may perhaps be able to live for the Lord temporarily, but they cannot defend their faith and live for Him until their deaths. They may live religiously for 10, 20 years, but their faith will eventually decay and die out, rendering them completely separated from and having nothing to do with God. It is not that their works are lacking, but that the love in their hearts for Christ will disappear from them. Since they do not have the Holy Spirit in their minds, they neither have love for the Lord in their hearts. There is, in short, sin in their hearts instead.
As days go by, I realize even more how deep and how perfect the love of salvation is, with which our Lord has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When I first met the Lord, my depth of appreciation for Christ’s love was quiet and calm, as a stone thrown into a lake causes small, barely perceptible waves. My response was only a quiet realization of the fact that Jesus took away all my sins, and that I had thus become sinless. But while living a life of preaching the gospel since then, the waves in my heart have become unimaginably larger and deeper, as if a bomb had gone off inside my heart.
Who says that we should believe only in the blood of the Cross? Did Paul say this? In the Book of Romans, Paul clearly and unambiguously spoke of the gospel of the water and the Spirit: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
Isn’t this gospel of the water and the Spirit utterly great and thoroughly perfect? Regardless of how small one’s faith is, if one believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then he/she is saved from sin. Regardless of how many shortcomings you have, your faith is made whole by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Regardless of how weak you are, you are saved by your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even though we have no power of our own, if we live for God and with God, all the filth will be removed from our hearts.
But those who do not believe from the start will in the end turn against God and leave Him, even if they heard of this gospel and lived with it for 10 years. Those who have decided to neither see nor hear the truth of God by closing their eyes and shutting their ears are so foolish for rejecting God’s blessing with their own hands and heading toward their own deaths. They crucify Christ everyday with their sins, even though there would have been no death on the Cross were it not for the baptism of Jesus.
I realize with every passing day just how great and perfect this gospel is—the weaker I get, the more I realize how awesome and whole the love of our Lord is, shown by this gospel, and I thank Him even more for it. The more I preach this gospel, the louder I become; the more I preach this gospel, the stronger I become; and the more I preach this true gospel, the more convinced I become.
Even if you are born again, if you do not listen to the Word of God and do not serve Him, weeds will start growing in your mind, and because of these weeds, your mind will become desolate. When this happens, sing your songs of praise again and think of Jehovah. By singing praises to God, your mind will be cleansed, and you will be able to raise your spirit again.
You should shake your mind to discharge it of everything that is impure and renew your heart again by filling it with the Word of God. Our hearts are already cleansed, but when the impurities of the world enter our minds and tries to confuse and disorient us, we can worship God and pray to Him again by singing praises of the Lord, renewing and re-raising our hearts.
Regardless of where we may find ourselves, praising God is a joyful and exhilarating experience. There is no sin in the minds of those who have been redeemed, so praising and rejoicing comes naturally from their minds. Our joyful hearts’ songs of praise can make the weeds that grow in our minds disappear.
At times, our weaknesses are revealed. Because our thoughts and feelings can easily change through different circumstances, though we may be happy and in a good mood when we are with our brothers in Christ, we may have unclean and impure thoughts when we are by ourselves. This is why Paul cried out, when looking at his own flesh, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Paul had become whole by being saved by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, even though he was still weak in his flesh. Was Paul the only person who was like this? I, too, am like Paul. Are you not also like him?
When worldly people gather together, the men usually like to drink, often talking about their jobs and who got promoted and who didn’t, and so on, while the women busily boast of their husbands, children, homes, and so forth. But the conversations among the righteous are qualitatively different from those of the worldly people. Even as we share our bread together, we talk about the souls that were saved throughout the world: in India, Japan, Europe, Africa, the United States, and so on, praising God and sharing fellowship with our minds.
When reading the Book of Romans, we can experience and share in our hearts Paul’s own faith. We can also find out how great the salvation given by God is. We can feel the awesomeness of the gospel. We can understand the passages and discover the meanings hidden in the text. Because we realize how complete and perfect the salvation of our Lord is, we cannot help but praise His righteousness.
Even if the whole world were to change right now, the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has saved us from our sins would remain unchanged. Because the love of Christ has saved us, and because this love has never left us and still remains in us, all we have to do is turn our hearts away from the world and focus on God again. We are weak, and because of this weakness, we sometimes fall into the ways of the world, but every time this happens, we only have to turn our minds toward God and believe in the truth that our Lord has saved us. Our flesh has yet to change and still lives under the law of sin. We must thus continuously deny our flesh and live our lives by our spiritual thoughts. In order to stop the weeds from growing in our hearts, we must always return to God and praise His righteousness.
Do you now realize how powerful this gospel of the water and the Spirit is? Since the entire Book of Romans is based on the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we cannot unlock the Word of God without first believing in this gospel.
I thank the Lord for allowing us to open and see the secrets of this Word. No one can separate us from the righteousness of God, which is the love of Christ. If you want to believe in the righteousness of God, believe in the baptism of Jesus by John and His blood on the Cross as your redemption and salvation. You, too, will then receive the righteousness of God.
May the blessings of the righteousness of our God be with you.