Reading through the Superstars for Jesus lesson stories (again 😉 ) for final edits the other day, I found myself seeing with fresh eyes. I am seeing how timely the life of Paul is, how he stood as a light for God in a time of intense persecution, and how the fire of the Holy Spirit burned bright — right in the midst of an onslaught from the enemy.
That very morning, I had been studying one of Paul’s letters: Romans 8.
In the face of all the persecution of God’s people going on around the world, Romans 8 is one passage that gains special significance.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)
We too may be called to join our persecuted brethren in making a stand for Christ sooner than we think.
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
But Paul reminds us, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
Who is he that condemneth?
Yes, man may think they are making a final judgment call. But even the death of one of His people is “precious in the sight of the LORD” (Psalm 116:15). He cares. And it’s not over until it’s over.
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Certainly, He has engraven us on the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16) and He is not taking this whole thing lightly.
Love has us in His hand
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” because “who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Will it?
Paul says he is absolutely convinced that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nothing. Not “death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature.” Nothing.
Let me put that in other words. Sometimes we fly through a familiar verse way too quickly.
Not even an angel — a devil itself — can separate us from God’s love. Not any earthly ruler — no king or caliph or president or pharaoh — and not his entire kingdom. There is not a power mighty enough to tear us from Jesus’ hand.
He said Himself,
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
I and my Father are one. (John 10:27-30)
Nothing that now exists, nothing that evil minds may still come up with, no mountain or gallows or skyscraper, no dungeon or grave or ocean depth… nor any other creation. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. And nothing can take us from Him.
Not even death — or the threat of it — can take us away from God’s love. And if we are asked to continue our living testimony amidst the heartbreak of our fallen brethren, we are still in His hands.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Victory is sure
One way or another, He will go on completing the work He has begun in us — and victory in this war is sure.
[T]he sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Nevertheless, “we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together.”
We want out. We want this over with. We wait and we work and we hope.
We know this is not the end.
We know there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
We sigh and cry because sin is distressingly evident in this world. Because good people appear to be condemned. But we know there is more to this story than meets the eye.
We know, like Jesus, some of us are called to seal our testimony with our blood. This is war. There is no doubt.
But “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
And God keeps His children.
Stand strong, my brothers! Stand strong, my sisters! Young and old, rich and poor, stand “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might”! (Ephesians 6:10)
Let us keep each other in prayer. Really. And often.
For we know that in the end, “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” As children of God, “if so be that we suffer with” Christ, we will “be also glorified together.”
[I]f the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
“[W]e are saved by hope.” Amen.
No, it’s not over ‘til it’s over.
If you haven’t already, I really encourage you to check into Superstars for Jesus for the children of your community. I believe God’s timing is always perfect.
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