Great Promises of the Bible: Romans 8:38-39

Feb 20, 2024 | by Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee

Great Promises of the Bible:

Romans 8:38-39

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee

Spiritual Life Officer, USA Southern Territory

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).


            Paul has been writing a theological symphony in his epistle to the Romans that finds its climax in these verses. The message is unmistakable. God’s love triumphs!

            The apostle first declared that he was convinced. This word is spoken not in some rookie’s enthusiasm but from a veteran who has gritted his way through horrendous trials, betrayals, and dangers, who never knew if he was going to be carried on shoulders as a victor or escorted one last time to a violent death. Though the earth sway beneath his feet, Paul was totally convinced he stood on the solid ground of God’s love.

            To drive home his point, he reviews the powers that arrayed themselves in battle formation against it.

Death Powerless

            Death cannot separate us from the love of God. Death comes and when it does it separates. All the marshaled hosts of medical personnel, devices and cures must finally yield to its power. No determination can ultimately defeat it, no human love holds it off forever. But Paul says that even this great inevitability surrenders to the love of God. To his audience, the specter of martyrdom with its cruel torments preceding death was a real fear.  But the executioner can only do so much. Whether death’s onset sneaks in quietly or squeezes pain out of every nerve cell, its power is eventually spent. Death might beat its fists against us, but the love of God remains in each moment of our dying.

Life Powerless

            Life cannot separate from the love of God. More Christians are defeated by pebbles in their shoes than mountains they must climb. The little things, the small irritations, the seemingly innocent compromises are the forces that cause Christians to drift away from God far more than earth shattering events. One of the early Church Fathers, Arles, wrote, “Spiritual souls are not separated from Christ by torments, but carnal souls are sometimes separated by idle gossip. The cruel sword cannot separate the former but carnal affections remove the latter. Nothing hard breaks down spiritual men, but even flattering words corrupt the carnal.” There is no external force that can shake us free from the love of God. In that we are secure. But not mentioned by the apostle are the personal choices people make that cause them to drift away. For Judas it was 30 pieces of silver. For too many it is a much cheaper price like an extra hour of sleep on a Sunday morning. Paul says that none of the things that come in this life are powerful enough to separate us from the love of Christ. The sad truth is that all can be lost from making a poor choice. Adam and Eve serve as terrible examples of the unintended consequences of a selfish decision.

Supernatural Powerless

            Neither angels nor demons can separate us from the love of God. The mention of angels seems strange to us but in Paul’s day angels were not always viewed favorably. Bible commentator William Barclay speaks of the ancient Jewish belief that angels were everywhere, so much so that even a blade of grass had it own angel. And the angels, because they were jealous of man’s favored status in God’s eyes, were antagonistic toward humans. Demons were largely believed to be angels who had fallen when Lucifer rebelled. Without regard for God the demons were the enemies of all humankind. Paul says that even these spiritual beings with whatever powers they may possess could no more hold their ground against people than the waves on the beach could fail to retreat with the tide. The child of God is protected so he neither fears the demons nor has to regard the angels.

All Possibilities Powerless

            The present and the future cannot separate us from the love of God. Whatever problems dog us, whatever weaknesses assert themselves in our everyday, whatever stands against us cannot take God’s love from us for a moment. Here is a mother whose child has wandered off in a crowded mall. Scanning everyone and everything around her, straining to hear her child’s distinct cry, she forgets everything else but that lost child. She searches until at last the child is found. And what does she do? She scoops that child in her arms and hugs him and rejoices that this one she loves is safe. Whatever your circumstances right now, be confident that God is searching through all that would stand in the way to hold and hug and cherish you in this very moment. And the future? He is already there. He knows what awaits you and knows that His love is there for those unknown moments.

Astrology or Aliens are Powerless

            Height and depth cannot separate us from the love of God. These are astrological terms referring to the positions of the stars when they had the greatest and the least of their powers over people. Astrology is clearly false and is forbidden by the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:19). Paul is saying we are not to fear the stars, the bumps in the night, charms or curses offered to quell superstition. Our destiny is not written in horoscopes or found in palm reading or magic potions and spells. Our destiny is found in the love of God who stands true over the ashes of all that is false.

            Any imaginable or unimaginable thing cannot separate us from the love of God.  Paul now says, “Fill in the blank.” Can you think of anything else? It doesn’t matter. It cannot place a roadblock on the highway of God’s love.

            Suppose that tomorrow our world is invaded by aliens, as Hollywood has been picturing for years. The love of God would flow unabated. What if the laws of physics were changed and all that is solid became liquid and all that is liquid became solid? The love of God would remain unchecked. And if our money was suddenly useless, electricity lost its power, and pages could not hold print, as distressing as that would be the child of God could lay his head upon his pillow knowing that he was falling asleep in the love of God. And no matter what the new day brought; the love of God remains constant to carry him through.

Our Corporate Prayer

Dear Father, I thank You that through Jesus Christ we can stand with confidence in Your love. We can know that we are kept safe in You through all circumstances if we hold Your hand, obey and dwell in You. There is no safety without You but there is absolute safety with You. Help me to remember that. You have kept me through so much. I thank You for the promise that You will keep me going forward.
I pray for those I love. I pray that they will all know You as their Good Shepherd. If any are going astray, help them hear Your voice as you bid them return to the safety of the fold. As the Good Shepherd, I know You are seeking the ones that have left and when You find them, You call upon all Heaven to rejoice when they are returned safely. I pray for those wandering this day, dear Lord. If I am to do something, show me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Our Worldwide Prayer Meeting
Spain & Portugal Territory


Thinking Through

Sometimes it is easier for us to think about loving others than to think about being loved. Take some time to think about God loving you, about His affection set on you, about the joy He felt when you received Him as Savior, how He has been pleased with your progress in Him and how, one day, He will rejoice to receive you in Glory.

Notable Quotables

I believe the rocks will turn gray with age. The forest will become unmoored in the hurricane. The sun will shut its fiery eyelid. The stars will drop like burned-out ashes. The sills will stagger and go over. The seas will heave their last expiring groan. The world will wrap itself in a sheet of flame. But God's love will never die. - General Evangeline Booth


Consider "How Deep the Father's Love for Us."



We would appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions on how to improve these devotionals. Please email comments to: [email protected] or by going to our website:
We would love to hear from you.

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee
Territorial Spiritual Life Development Officer/THQ Chaplain
USA Southern Territory

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