What can separate us from the love of God?

by Jacob Ninan

In Ro.8:35-39 we have a passage that encourages and comforts us by pointing out that no matter what situations we face, none of them can separate us from the love that God has towards us. Also, no one, including people and evil spirits, can take us away from the love of God. This is very important for us to know and believe, especially when things seem to be difficult or impossible for us to manage, when the way ahead appears to be totally dark, when we do not know which way to turn or to whom to turn to. We need to remember at such times that even though God has allowed us to face such situations, His love for us has not changed a bit. He has permitted such things to happen to us because He knows that we should be able to bear them with the help of His grace (1Co.10:13). If we love God and are among those whom He has chosen, God will also cause all these things to work together for our good (Ro.8:28).

But did you get the impression from the above passage that 'nothing' can separate us from the love of God? Well, it does not really say that. The passage is only referring to things and powers that are outside of us. In other words, to use a legal term, no third party can separate us from the love of God towards us. And God Himself has promised us that He would never leave us or forsake us (De.31:8;He.13:5).

But don't forget the fact that if we sin, our sin will separate us from God's presence. The wages of sin is death (Ro.6:23). God told Adam that the day he ate of the forbidden fruit he would die (Ge.2:17). One aspect of this 'death' is a separation from God. This was what Adam experienced when he disobeyed God. He lost his fellowship with God and was driven away from Eden.

When Jesus took our sin upon Him and experienced death in our place, we have been brought back to God again. By faith in Jesus our sins have been washed away by His blood. But what happens if we sin now?

In writing to brothers in Christ, Paul said, "If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Ro.8:12,13). This means that we are not exempt from the consequence of sin even after we become children of God. Of course, if we sin we can confess our sins, and God will forgive us (1Jn.1:9). But if we continue in sin without turning away from it - living according to the flesh - our fellowship with God gets broken. This separates us from experiencing the love of God.

Of course, God does not stop loving us even when we sin. If He loved us when we were sinners and enemies to Him, how much more now that we have become His children? But what we lose is the experience of His love, till our sin is confessed and set right. If we hold sin in our heart God will not even listen to our prayers (Ps.66:18). Our sin will separate us from God even though He wants to save us, and as long as there is known sin in our life He will not hear us (Is.59:1,2).

Now that we have been accepted by grace this separation is not in terms of relationship but only fellowship. But let us not take sin lightly. Let us make every effort to obey God's commandments and let us pay attention to every word from the Holy Spirit. Then we can walk in constant fellowship with Him.

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