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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Romans 8:26–39

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither 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. (NRSV)

Reflection
What does it mean for us to live in God’s love?

Paul, the author of this letter, was attempting to put in words an answer to this challenging question for the people living in Rome at the height of the Roman Empire. His answer is some of the most beautiful and thoughtful writing of the entire New Testament. He writes, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Living in God’s love means that we can trust God is in charge, not ourselves, and that love will always triumph over all evil.

Paul writes, “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? It is God who justifies, who is to condemn?” Living in God’s love means that we do not face a wrathful judge doling out condemnation or punishment; there is only love.

Paul goes on to say, “For I am convinced that neither 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.” Living in God’s love means there is no separation between that love and ourselves, there is no separation between us and God, there is no separation between each one of us living in that love.

Can you imagine a world living in that love? What a world it would be—heaven on earth.

Prayer
Dear God, help me to fully live in your love, to see that love spreading through all of creation and in all people, until I am lost in only your love. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music


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