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As a brief word of encouragement today, let’s look at one of the most profound and powerful chapters in all the New Testament, Romans 8. And let’s look at just the last two verses and see if we can get something for today to help us smile.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
In the middle of these uncertain times, when we seem to have more questions than answers, it is always good to rest and meditate on the certainties in God’s word. And this is one of them.
Nor Any Other Created Thing…
As you read and meditate on these two verses, try thinking about it this way:
For I am persuaded, assured, and convinced, that neither the coronavirus or the possible loss of my income, nor the uncertain future and all that is unknown, nor a stock market surge or collapse, nor the graph of active coronavirus cases in my home town increasing or decreasing, nor having my kids around me 24/7 and not quite knowing how to do this homeschool thing, nor social isolation and canceled church services, nor not being able to hug my grandkids and those I love, nor boredom and weight gain from too much comfort food, nor an ever-growing list of to-do projects, nor loneliness, depression, fear, and despair, nor any other thing that might happen during the next thirty days, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now, don’t you feel a bit better? I sure do.
Yesterday was the second Sunday we met together virtually, and I for one can’t wait until we can put aside social distancing and meet again face-to-face. I miss your voice as you sing songs to the Lord and offer prayers to Him for the sake of others. I miss your attentiveness as we look into His Word together and I especially miss our times of fellowship when we can catch up on things and see how everyone’s doing.
But since it appears this ordeal our nation is going through will last for several more weeks (hopefully not longer), I thought it would be encouraging to remember in the face of uncertainty what we do know for certain, and in our world of constant change, what is unchangeable and will remain forever.
Things We Know For Certain
There are so many things in our life right now that we have no control over. How long will the coronavirus last? What’s going to happen to our economy? Am I going to have enough money to pay my bills and feed my family? How can I protect myself and those I love from all of this? And the list of questions seems to be endless.
There are so many uncertainties right now. And nobody can give us any definite answers.
But there are some things that are certain and will never change, no matter what happens. And as long as we keep our heart focused on these unchangeables, we will not get swept away by the swirling tides of doubt, fear, dread, and depression that often follow.
When we have the discernment that Jesus spoke about to know the “signs of the times” (Matt. 16:3), it becomes clear we are living in the last days. In fact, there are several key signs that bring us to this conclusion.
- The regathering of Israel into their own land
- The surging apostasy
- The coming Middle East peace
- The reuniting of the Roman Empire (East, West, both?)
For the church today, the most important of these prophetic signs is the rising tide of apostasy or defection from God and the Christian faith. We see this happening almost daily within the ranks of the church. As we have already discussed, apostasy means to “depart, revolt, or forsake. It is a deliberate defection from a formerly held religious position.” Apostasy doesn’t necessarily mean a total rejection of God or the authority of His Scripture. Apostasy can come in stages. It usually begins with a defection from a section of Scripture or a specific teaching that is incompatible with the current cultural church mood. Some examples are the issue of homosexuality, divorce, women pastors, abortion, or a myriad of other issues that divide the Body today. And once a small defection takes place, full-blown apostasy is not far behind.
But this shouldn’t surprise us. After all, Jesus said in Matthew 24 the greatest sign of His return was deception. And He warned His disciples about that deception four times (Matt. 24:4, 5,11, 24). He even went so far as to say the deception at the end would be so great that, if it was possible, even the elect would be deceived (Matt. 24:24). And the elect includes Peter, Paul, James and John, Martin Luther, D.L. Moody, Spurgeon, Billy Graham, and you and me. That’s a sobering thought that should not be taken lightly.
So what can we do to prepare for the coming apostasy?