Second Reading: Romans 8:31-35, 37-39

The Power of God's Love

Popular Translation

31b If God is on our side, who is our enemy? 32 God didn't stop his own Son from being killed for us. So, how can he stop himself from giving us everything good, along with Jesus? 33 Who will bring charges against God's favorite people? God is the One who freed us from any charge. 34 Who will say we're guilty? Jesus Christ is our defender. He died and, more important, rose again. He is right at God's side. And he asks favors from his Father for us. Who will separate us from God's love? Our pain and suffering? Those who hurt us? Hunger or a lack of clothes? Danger or the threat of death?

37 We have overcome all these things because of Jesus. He loves us that much. 38 I am totally convinced that nothing will separate us from the love of God. Death or life will not. God's angels or earthly rulers will not. Current or future events will not. 39 Powers of nature or some other creature will certainly not. Nothing will keep us from the love God showed us in Jesus Christ our Lord!

Literal Translation

31b If God is for us, who (is) against us? 32 (The One) who did not spare (his) own SON, but for all of us gave HIM over, how can he not also give everything to us with HIM? 33 Who will call in (the debts) against the favorites of God? God (is) the (One) making (us) right (before himself). 34 Who (is) the (One) condemning (us)? JESUS CHRIST (is he) the (ONE) having died, but even greater having been raised, who is also at the right (hand) of God, who is also begs (God) for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Affliction or anguish or persecution or hunger or nakedness or danger or the sword?

37 But, in all these we are more than victors, because of the (One) having loved us. 38 For, I have total confidence that neither death nor life, neither angels (of God) nor (earthy or demonic) rulers, neither the present nor the (events) about to happen, 39 nor powers nor height nor depth nor some other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God, the (love) in Christ Jesus our Lord.

8:32 "(The One) who did not spare (his) own SON" This verse echoed Genesis 22:16. God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his only son, Isaac, and replaced human sacrifice with that of a ram.

How much can we depend on love, human or divine? This is one measure of faith.

In this section of Romans 8, St. Paul tries to explain the doctrine of justification, the belief that we can do nothing to merit God's favor; everything, including salvation, is a gift of God. Justification is a result of God's overwhelming love for us. Indeed, God's love is the entire basis of St. Paul's theology and writings. Everything God does for us can be explained by his love.

In 8:31-34, Paul uses the image of a ruler for God; God is favor-giver and judge. Like a benevolent favor-giver, God has turned his face toward us [31]. He gave his only Son for us; with so great a love, how can he deny us anything else? [32] God the judge has acquitted us [34]; his Son, God's prosecuting attorney has become our defense attorney [35]. Before we were the condemned outcasts; now we are the court favorites.

If God is for us, neither human misfortunes [35] nor any of the inferior spiritual powers (that, in the ancient mind, caused such suffering) nor even the universe itself [38-39] will oppose us.

Note, Paul does not say that God will save us from human misfortune or the powers that oppose and oppress us. That belief is both immature and unrealistic. Paul did say that none of these can separate us from God's love; we can take comfort in God's love and his constant fidelity. His love will see us through all our trials. Such is the power of his love; such is the love we can believe in.

What gets in the way of God's love for you? How can you put these things aside?