Notes for March 30-31
God is for His people: Throughout the Old Testament, the writers often spoke of God being “for” or “with” His people (Ps. 56:9; Is 33;21; Ez 34:30). God takes on the cause of those who are a part of His flock or nation.
Inherit all things: Abraham was told that he would inherit the land – this was interpreted by the rabbis to mean that the descendants of Abraham would one day be given the entire earth or all things. This idea of the people of God being given someday the entire earth or all things could refer to the new heaven and the new earth in which the elect are given the new earth to care for and subdue.
Day of Atonement: In Judaism, the Day of Atonement is the day in which God foreshadowed the eventual atonement of sin in which He took on the sins of the world through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. God the Father, out of His great love for us, gave His most treasured Son, to die for us. God has vindicated, justified and set us free by His own work on our behalf.
Hardship Lists and Martyrdom: This was a common literary approach to demonstrate the trials and tribulations one had endured. In this case, Paul is giving us a list of hardships and trials, stating that none of these things can separate us from God’s love whether it be persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or death by the sword. In other words, even martyrdom would not separate us from God.
Powers of Evil: Principalities, fallen angels or demons, ruling powers in this passage are the forces of evil which come against the believer. None of these will keep God’s love from reaching us, as nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Height and Depth: This could refer to the heavens and space (Heights) and the ocean and earth below (Depths) and is the image that we can never get far enough away that God’s love can’t reach us.
Chiasm in VV. 35-39: Paul has put together a literary structure (poetic form) in these verses in which there are parallel verses with a midpoint:
v. 35a: Who shall separate us from Christ’s love
v. 35b - 36: Shall tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, sword, killed, sheep to be slaughtered?
v. 37: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
v. 38 – 39b: For I’m certain, neither death, life, angels, rulers, things present or future, powers, height, depth
v. 39b: none of this will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus
What are the questions being asked in this passage? Write them out.
Now what answers does Paul give to each of these questions?
Why does Paul raise these questions and then answer them? What is he trying to communicate?
How might the forces and hardships in vv. 38-39 try to interfere with our trust in God’s love for us?
Give examples as to how these forces may have disrupted your trust in God or been used to cast doubt in other people’s lives about God’s love for them.
How have you seen God at work in the midst of trials, and evil forces that have worked against you and your faith?
How can our faith in God and His love for us grow when attacked or in the midst of hardships? Explain and Give Examples.
What is Paul’s message to us from this passage?
How can this message of God’s undying, all-pursuing, conquering love for us reach our hearts and minds?
How does this message that nothing can separate you from Christ’s love impact the way that you pray, live, and share your faith?
What does it mean to be “more than conquerors through Christ Jesus”?
How might you communicate this message of God’s overpowering love for others to people in your family, neighborhood, church, and workplace?
How has this passage encouraged you?