I love the mountains! I love the rugged beauty. I love the quiet presence of nature. I love the trees, mountain brooks and rocky cliffs. I love just about everything about the mountains. One of the things that I enjoy most about the mountains is their power and grandeur. When I stand on the cliff and look over a mountain valley, I see just how big God is and just how small I am. Mountains are as challenging to climb as they are beautiful to view.
I have climbed mountains all over the world. I’m been on enough mountains to appreciate the challenges that they put on the human body. There is a toughness in people who live in the mountains or climb mountains for a challenge that I don’t see in many other people. Summit mountains are so tough that very few human beings on earth will ever be able to conquer them. Professional mountaineers lose their life every year trying to summit Annapurna, K2, Eiger, or the Matterhorn. Some of the fittest athletes in the world will never be able to make it to the top of these mountains. It is the sheer challenge that these mountains present to the human body that causes some men and women to risk their lives on these mountains.
One of the most quoted verses in the Bible is found in Romans 8:35. It is often quoted in difficult situations to the people who follow Jesusto each other. Moreover, it is often quoted by the people who follow Jesus to themselvesduring difficult times. Meaning, this verse is highly quoted by Jesus’s people- for good reason. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Let’s take a look at exactly what this verse is saying to those of us that are going through some hard times right now. Maybe by spending a minute examining this verse we can figure out why it is so highly quoted by followers of Jesus:
Taller than your situation
I’m going to use mountains as an analogy to describe what Romans 8:35 is really trying to explain to us about Jesus’s fierce love for us. The word affliction in this passage refers to any kind of distress. The type of distress this verse is referring to might be physical, mental, or social, or economic. Basically, this one word is referring to every type of situation where life gets difficult. Affliction can also mean pressure. It’s the kind of situations in life where you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. It’s easy to forget the love of God when life is rough. This verse is reminding God’s people that Jesus still loves you even when life feels heavy.
Taller than a sword
When Romans 8:35 was written Christians were being martyred for their faith. In fact, in some parts of the world today, people are still putting their life in jeopardy by publicly admitting that they follow Jesus. The Roman government put Christians to death by setting them on fire, turning wild animals loose against them in the Colosseum, and sometimes it was just as quick to use the sword against them. Few of us can imagine the challenges that this would present to your faith when swearing allegiance to Jesus Christ will also cost you your very life. Romans 8:35 was written to remind us that the call to be a disciple of Jesus is the call to lay down everything- Even your own life if necessary- for his glory.
Taller than suffering
I don’t have time to cover all of the ideas Romans 8:35 implies about the difficulties that people go through in life. I’m going to use the word sufferingto refer to the rest of the difficulties that this verse implies. The word dangerin Romans 8:35 refers to the various other kinds of difficulties that will come in a person’s life. No one knows what may be waiting around the corner for us. Maybe it’s a health crisis for you. Maybe it’s a family emergency for someone else. I could keep going but you get the picture. Romans 8:35 is written so that the follower of Jesus doesn’t start to feel like God is mad at them because of the suffering that they are experiencing. Suffering is part of the universal human condition. We all experience suffering as a result of the consequences of human sin.
Even though suffering came into the world as a result of sin it doesn’t mean that God leaves us to face the consequences for sin on our own. According to Romans 5:8 God loved us even in the midst of our greatest sins. He loved us enough to rescue us from our sin by sending his son Jesus to pay our penalty by dying on the cross. The cross on which Jesus died is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love towards us. It is God’s way of saying, “I won’t let anything stand in the way of my love towards you.”
Romans 8:35 is saying – “Ain’t no mountain high enough” for God’s love toward you. (Boom! That’s right… I just used a Marvin Gaye song to describe Romans 8:35.) Marvin Gaye was singing about fierce love. Let me show you why I just used this song to describe the fierce love of Jesus: Separateis one of the most important words in this verse. The word describes forcibly pulling something apart. The verse is actually asking the question who can pull something out of the hands of God? When you think about it, this idea is foolish. God, by his nature, is all powerful. Therefore, it is impossible for something to be more powerful than God. The writer of this verse is making a connection between God’s power and God’s love. God’s love is as strong as his power over your situations, over sword, or over suffering! Keep this in mind as you go through difficulties … Just like no one can beat God in an arm-wrestling match, Romans 8:35 is saying nothing can pull you away from the love of Jesus Christ.
Christian Standard Bible(Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), Romans 8:35.