Day 311 “Saved” 8:18 – 10:21
November 8, 2021, 9:00 AM

Day 311 “Saved” 8:18 – 10:21

I am tempted just to paraphrase, or maybe even just retype, much of what Paul writes. For me this is the heart of the scripture teachings that help me/us understand the bigness, the surpassing nature, the impossibility of what Jesus has done for us. I may end up using a lot of the same words, because my words will fail me here, unlike Paul’s words.

These verses are the ones I would take with me to a desert island, the ones I would want to have memorized in case I am separated from my Bible for any period of time. Why? Because they seem to speak my language in a way that directly reveals to me the God I love, the God who loves each of us. These verses in chapter 8 give me the deepest, strongest and most enduring hope I have and I don’t have to do a thing but love Jesus in my heart, and speak that truth with my lips.

First, the very beginning lines of chapter 8: “the sufferings of this time are not worth comparing to the glory about to be revealed to us,” (18). I’m not a pie-in-the-sky Christian; I’m a boots-on-the-ground Christian and this line acknowledges that earth is hard work (if I could print a bumper sticker with that message I would), but eternal life is going to be beyond worth it. We will finally understand the full definition of glory, which is literally impossible to understand here and now.

We will also see “the creation itself…set free from bondage” which reminds me of the renewal of the earth. In our desperation over climate change, over summers that burn hotter and storms that dump flooding rains in places that cannot sustain it, something new and perfect is going to be born.

Have you heard all the recent news stories about the Spotted Lanternfly? Kill it! Step on it! Obliterate it! And that’s only one of many species that, when placed incorrectly in our world, begin to do damage to native plants and trees. You know what else? For all my blabbing about how afraid I am of snakes, I want to see a world where snakes and I  become buddies. I want there to be no need for my ‘heel to crush his head’ to go back to Genesis, nor for the snake to strike out at me as I go by. Poison will evaporate, venom will be gone. No hospitals or doctor visits. No need for dental work to restore old teeth gone bad. No hunger. No sadness. No anger. No death.

This does not sound boring to me. This sounds like what my heart has hoped for and believed in my whole life.

We then read verses later in chapter 8 that remind us who God is and what his son, Jesus, accomplished out of love for us, to give us that non-boring hope in eternal life in the middle of our current messy world. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (31b).  I want to put that in my pocket like a special coin or token that I can pull out to hold onto, not because it is magic but because it is TRUE. The humility of being human overwhelms me at times, and I desperately need to remember the simplicity of this verse.

I have two big fat apologies that I need to make sometime in the near future that are going to humble me to the soles of my feet, and I don’t want to do either one. I want to be strong and self-righteous, even though I am wrong, but if I stay here, in the knowledge of my ‘wrongness’ then God is never going to be able to break through with healing for me or for others. I hate this and I love this. Yet I know that God calls me to do more to bring healing, and if I remember that God is for me and not against me, I have strength beyond my human inclinations. I am relying on God’s love for me to fill in the gaps, which will help me accept my own humanity and even promote healing in places of brokenness, my own and others.

But these verses, my friends, these verses…

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

God is not the author of those terrible things listed. He is the holy stronghold in the midst of them. He is the anchor and the one who helps us rise above when we are in the midst of them.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neight death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (37 – 39).

At my ordination to the Diaconate, the committee putting on the reception asked me for my favorite Bible verse, and I gave them this one. Little did I know they wanted to put it on a CAKE! And this verse is not cake-friendly.

So here’s what my cake said, simply and perfectly:

“Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

It worked then. And it still works now. Nothing. Nothing at all can separate us from God's love. I believe this is the one-directional love that God gives to US. It does not refer to whether or not we accept it. So I believe this it true for ALL people, everywhere. I believe that God's love is constant and our decision to acknowledge it is a separate thing. That means your relatives and your friends, regardless of their religious beliefs, regardless of their acceptance of this message--they are loved by God. God is equally present to all of us, equally loving, equally our creator, equally reaching out to those who are lost or left out or lonely as well as to those who are joyful and noisy and faithful.

The equality of God's love in these verses is what fuels my ministry every, every, every day.

Be blessed, and be a blessing to others,


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