God’s love will never change
When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church in Rome, he had never been to that city. The Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) knew the spiritual difficulties that these believers faced on a daily basis. Many of them had come out of a life of paganism. Their idolatrous lives had been bound by the powers of superstition and demonic forces. There is no direct scriptural indication regarding the individuals, whom God used, in establishing this group of believers in the imperial city.
The apostle addressed this letter “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.” Romans 1:7. All believers are “called to be saints” — holy ones. When one first accepts Jesus Christ of Nazareth as his or her personal savior, that one is given a “new Nature.” “Therefore if any man (one) be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
As we look back over our lives, we begin to wonder about the first changes that we knew. Even though we may allow our lives to “drift back” into our old way of thinking and action, that is not the divine design. How can a “holy nature” be known? By using our own abilities, we will never become “holy.” These attributes come only as we allow the life of Christ to be seen in us. “But of him (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30. Granted, we can “learn” religious rituals and practice sacred acts. However, these actions must “spring from the heart” that has been changed by the power of God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. Thus, the apostle pointed all readers to the source of our help. See Psalm 121:2.
Human compassion can cause one to desire to reach out to those in need. Yet, our limit of human activity is quickly reached. Divine help is unlimited. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6. Our reaching out to others can only stretch so far. “For scarcely (with difficulty) for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7, 8.
The means of our personal salvation from the eternal consequences of sin has been provided by our Heavenly Father — the creator of the universe. Our father sent his only begotten son to die for our sins. John 3:16. This fact was not some kind of “divine afterthought.” The record tells us that this plan “was foreordained before the foundation of the world (system).” 1 Peter 1:20.
The death of Jesus Christ of Nazareth had been seen in symbol throughout the whole Old Testament. Every lamb, bullock, or dove that was sacrificed was a picture of the coming one. John 1:29. Paul wrote, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 5:9.
It is easy for unregenerate mankind to attempt to provide for his or her salvation. Human methods did not work in the past, and they are no more effective in our day. “For if, when were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10. The “life” that the apostle described is “life on the highest plane.” This is the “life” that was lost in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6), but was renewed by our Lord.
The spiritual relationship that is now available to all mankind has come to us through the “atonement.” “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:11.
The first readers Rome knew that they had received forgiveness for personal sins. Their lives were now to be lived as “perfect” before God — not perfect the human level. Paul reminded these people that they could now live “free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2. The “law of sin” no longer had dominion over them. See Romans 7:25. These believers needed assurance — “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
All believers can rest in the divine plan. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.” Romans 8:32, 33. Humans can hurl all kinds of accusations toward any other individuals. There seems to always be “open season” on the people who are serving God. Paul wrote, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34.
The apostle asked a question that has been debated in religious circles for centuries. The answer is simple, if one will read the Record with an open mind — “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Romans 8:35. The list of outward conditions can never touch the “love of God,” regarding the human race. He loved our race enough to provide a Savior. That love has never changed. Paul concluded, “Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37. Thus, circumstances cannot “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39.
Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P.O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478, 299, 2068. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.