Corrie ten Boom, the Dutch saint whose Christian family hid Jews from the Nazis and eventually survived Hitler’s concentration camp in which her family perished, understood true security. “Look around and be distressed,” I once heard her say. “Look within and be depressed. Look at Jesus and be at rest.” The apostle Paul, who also paid with his life for his devotion to Christ, would certainly agree. Romans chapter 8 provides a window into the security of everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ for right standing with God. This reassuring chapter opens with “no condemnation,” ends with “no separation” and in the middle sets out a multitude of reasons why the believer can live in confidence of unending life with God.
Paul begins with the promise that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). Not that God turned soft on sin — indeed, he condemned sin in the person of his Son who became flesh and offered himself as a sin offering for all who finally would be saved (v. 3). Paul closes this same chapter with the assurance that nothing in all creation (which is all that exists, besides God himself) can separate us from God’s love which he has demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate through all eternity in our Lord, Jesus the Messiah (v. 38-39).
This is all true even though we now have bodies that die (v. 10-11), now endure suffering for the sake of Jesus Christ (v. 18-22) and often do not even know how to pray (v. 26-27), But we do know this — that God is working everything together for our ultimate good in keeping with his eternal purpose for which he has called us to himself (v. 28). He knew us in love before we were even born and predetermined that we would come to resemble his Son (v. 29). In eternity to come we will share Christ’s splendor, a fact so certain Paul affirms it in the past tense (v. 30). And although we cannot now see any of those divine deeds occur, we know they include us because we have experienced God’s call and his judicial acceptance that are part of the same single unified sequence of gracious events (v. 30).
Indeed, God is for us and, having given us his Son already, is intent on giving us everything else that is good (v. 31-32). No one can reverse God’s justifying verdict. Jesus who died for us now lives to plead our cause in God’s presence in heaven (v. 33-34). Our confidence is not in ourselves or our activity but in God and his working. Our assurance is not in our own perseverance but in God’s, who will ensure that we persevere. Regardless of any earthly circumstance or personal failing, we can entrust ourselves to God with these words from John Campbell Shairp: “Let me no more my comfort draw from my frail hold on Thee. In this alone rejoice with awe — Thy mighty grasp of me!”