Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure 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. – Romans 8:35-39 ESV
This is huge! We know we are sinners, we know we fall short of the glory of God, we know that we can NEVER be GOODNUFF for God on our own. The three enemies of the true Child of God are the devil, the flesh, and the world. All three are effective. The Scriptures instruct us to “Love not the world” (1 John 2:15) and they remind us that to be a friend of the world is to be an “enemy of God” (James 4:4). The “world” is that whole value-system which dominates society, and is contrary to the ways of God. The “flesh” is our human nature with its natural tendency to sin. The “flesh” is sometimes used in the Bible to refer to “meat.” Sometimes it refers to the fabric that covers our bony skeletons (the skin and tissues and blood of the human body). But here the word “flesh” refers to our fallen self-centered nature (sometimes called “the old man” or “the Adamic nature”). Beyond both these powers, is the devil, seeking to hold us in captivity. Satan is the commander of a large host of demons who are opposed to God, and who are dedicated to the task of defeating those who have accepted the Lord’s salvation. The Bible describes him as a deceiver, a liar, a murderer, an accuser, a tempter, a prince, and an evil one. He beguiles and seduces and opposes and deceives and sows tares and hinders and tempts and blasphemes. He is personal; he is intelligent; he is destructive. (2 Corinthians 11:14, Ephesians 6:11)
Leader, the reason why the three enemies are effective against us are because of other truths. The World is effective against us because as human beings we all want to be liked. We want to fit in and we want to be accepted, so the world seeks to make us compromise to fit in. The flesh is effective because we live in it, and we are always talking to ourselves. The flesh wants, what the flesh wants, it is CARNAL. It is where we reside, and it is our constant environment. The devil is effective because he always starts with a basis of truth. We are unlovable, we are at war with God, we are liars, cheats, adulterers…apart from Christ! This is why we must know the truth, and IT WILL SET US FREE! (John 8:32) We must realize two truths. First, God loves us because of WHO HE IS, not who we are, and He loves us because of what HE DID, not because of what we do! Secondly, we only choose God, love God, and DO GOD STUFF, because GOD chose us, loved us, and called us first! For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10)
Conduit, read Ezekiel 16, to read about how loving God is to the people of Israel, the children that He chose as His own, to bless, and to set apart, it was HIM who made them great, it had nothing to do with them. “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) Chapter 16 of Ezekiel is the longest chapter in Ezekiel. It is similar to chapter 23, in that both indict Judah as spiritually immoral. The story of Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness to the love of God is told in all its sordid, vile character. The chapter is so sad and indicting that some of the ancient rabbis did not allow it to be read in public. In this chapter, the nation is compared to a foundling, an infant that has been deserted by its parents. The statement, “thy father was an Amorite and thy mother a Hittite” is of course, not to be taken literally. Rather, it pictures the idolatrous character of the people in Jerusalem. Though the Lord had compassion on her as one would have compassion on a foundling, Jerusalem still loved her idols, and became like a brazen prostitute. God loves us because HE IS LOVE, and HE CHOSE us, and HE CHOSE to LOVE US! In the Lord’s prayer, John 17, Jesus has this prayer for His disciples, and for us. “Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one. While I was with them, I protected and preserved them by Your name, the name You gave Me. Not one of them has been lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I am coming to You; and I am saying these things while I am in the world, so that they may have My joy fulfilled within them. I have given them Your word and the world has hated them; for they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I have also sent them into the world. For them I sanctify Myself, so that they too may be sanctified by the truth.” Nothing can separate us from the LOVE OF GOD! Do not let the lies of your flesh, the world or the devil convince you otherwise!