1st March 2012

No Man Can Separate Us From God’s Love

“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.”
Romans 8:35, 37 Psalm 44:22, 26 (NRSV)

Paul’s letter to the Romans reminds the faithful that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. In the verses above, he was exhorting and encouraging them to not separate themselves or their congregation from the love of Christ through dissent and argument.

This verse is not just an empty sentiment to be quoted without understanding the context and the source.  The reference, ‘As it is written,’ refers to Psalm 44.  Verse 22 says, “Because of you we are being killed all day long, and accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”  The 44th Psalm in the NRSV is titled ‘National lament and prayer for help.’  The Psalmist is sending forth a cry to a God who has been rejected by his people, calling all Israel back to repentance.  In his letter to the Romans, Paul is, likewise, calling the faithful back to repentance, away from their dissention and strife and evil works.

The audience in Paul’s day would have seen Psalm 44:22 quoted in the context of the entire scroll, which is structured as a prayer of repentance and a call to repentance.  In verse 26 is a Messianic reference:  ‘Rise up, come to our help.  Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.’

O God, in the words of Psalm 44:1-2, we have heard with our ears, and our ancestors have told us what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old.  You with your own hand drove out the nations, but your people you planted; You afflicted the offending peoples but us you have set free.  Praise and thanks be to God.

Study by Velvet Delorey

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