In Romans 8:37 Paul tells us that in all the sufferings we more than conquer through Christ who loved us. Because of God’s unchanging love for us and the fact that Christ has accomplished everything on our behalf, neither tribulation nor persecution can suppress or defeat us; rather, in all these things we more than overcome and conquer through Him who loved us.
In Romans 8:38-39 Paul declares, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The love of God is the source of His eternal salvation. This love is in Christ and has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit (5:5). Nothing can separate us from this love of God. In God’s salvation this love to us has become the love of Christ, which does many marvelous things for us through the grace of Christ until God’s complete salvation is accomplished in us. These marvelous things provoke God’s enemy to attack us with all kinds of sufferings and calamities (vv. 35-36). However, because of our response to the love of God in Christ, these attacks have become benefits to us (v. 28). Hence, we more than conquer in all our afflictions and calamities (v. 37).
We are God’s beloved ones, and nothing can separate us from His love. Once God loves us, He loves us forever with an eternal, inseparable love. Therefore, God’s salvation is secured by His love. This means that our eternal security is the love of God. We may be assured that nothing will separate us from the love of God, because this love does not derive from us or depend on us but is derived from God and depends on Him. This love was initiated by God in eternity.
In Romans 8:39 Paul points out that the inseparable love of God is in Christ Jesus our Lord. If the love of God were shown apart from Christ, there would be problems, for apart from Christ, even a sin such as losing our temper would separate us from the love of God. However, the love of God is not only the love of God itself but the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Because the love of God is in Christ Jesus, we may be assured that nothing can separate us from it.
God’s salvation in Christ has saved us to the extent that, on the one hand, we are in God’s acceptance enjoying the source of this salvation, which is God’s love in Christ, from which we cannot be separated by any person, matter, or thing; and, on the other hand, we are in God’s life being conformed by the Lord Spirit to reach the ultimate goal of this salvation, that is, to enter into the incomparable divine glory and be glorified together with God (vv. 18, 30).
The first eight chapters of Romans reveal that Christ has divinity and eternal deity, and that the divine person of Christ is in the Godhead. These chapters also show that this Christ who has the Godhead became a man as the seed of David, that He passed through the processes of human living, death, and resurrection, thereby accomplishing God’s redemption and entering into God’s glory, and that through these processes He was eventually consummated to become the Spirit of Christ, who is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of life, and the reality, the essence, of this wonderful Christ. It is as the Spirit of Christ that He can, and does, enter into His believers to be their life, their life supply, and their everything. In summary, Christ as God was incarnated to be a man, and Christ in His humanity with flesh passed through the processes of death and resurrection to become the life-giving Spirit in order to be one spirit with us that we might be a part of His being as members of His wonderful Body.
Romans 9:5 presents Christ as God over all, blessed forever. We need to ponder and experience this aspect of Christ so that we may enter into a rich enjoyment of Him. Christ as a God-man became the life-giving Spirit, and we as men are one spirit with Him and thus may always enjoy Him (1 Cor. 15:45b; 6:17). Yet it is easy for us to neglect or even forget that Christ is nothing less than God Himself. According to Paul’s word in Romans 9:5, the Christ into whom we believe, whom we have received, and to whom we are joined as one spirit is “God over all, blessed forever.” When Paul came to this point in his writing, he was so filled with the glorious person of Christ that he poured out what was in his heart and declared that Christ is God over all, blessed forever. We need to be deeply impressed with the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ is the very God who is over all and blessed forever. Though He came out of the Jewish race in the flesh, He is the infinite God. Concerning Him Isaiah 9:6 says, “For a child is born to us / ...His name will be called... / Mighty God.” We praise Christ for His deity, and we worship Him as God, the complete God, blessed forever.
Christ is out of the fathers of Israel according to flesh in His humanity. Romans 9:5 says, “Whose are the fathers, and out of whom, as regards what is according to flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” This verse tells us that Christ came out of the fathers. The fathers here refers to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others; according to His human nature, Christ came out of the children of Israel. Christ was a man with flesh who came out of the tribe of Judah, a tribe of Israel. It is according to His humanity that Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever, could come from the fathers of Israel.
Although in His humanity Christ came out of the fathers of Israel according to flesh, in His Godhead He is God over all, blessed forever. The Christ who is our Savior and our life is the complete God. In Romans 9:5 three matters are covered. First, Christ is God. Since Christ Himself actually is God, there is no difference between Him and God. John 1:1 says that the Word, which is Christ, was with God and was God. Jesus, a carpenter from Nazareth, was God over all and blessed forever. The only way for us to contact God and enjoy Him today is through Christ and in Christ.
Second, Christ is God over all; this refers to His headship which is unique and eternal. As God, Christ is over all things: man, angels, the heavens, and the earth. Christ is God who has been and will be, over all, blessed forever.
Some heretical teachers argue that there are different ranks within the Godhead and that Jesus Christ as God occupies a lower rank in the Godhead. They contend that according to Psalm 82:6, angels are gods. They say that this means that the angels are gods on a lower level in the Godhead, and that like the angels, Jesus Christ as God occupies a lower rank in the Godhead. However, according to Romans 9:5, Jesus Christ is God over all, blessed forever. Certainly, this cannot be said of the angels, for they are neither over all nor blessed forever. Jesus Christ is God over all, including the angels.
Third, Christ is not only God over all but also God blessed forever. In the universe only God Himself is worthy of being blessed. As God, Christ is blessed forever, that is, eternally. Christ is God over all, blessed for eternity. No one can deny the truth that although Christ was incarnated to be a man, Christ is God Himself over all, blessed forever.
It is a shame that certain so-called Christians argue about the deity of Christ and debate whether or not Christ is God. In Christian history there have been so-called Christian teachers who deny the deity of Christ. For instance, modernists do not believe in the deity of Christ, thereby denying His Godhead. Twisting the Holy Scriptures, some believe that although Christ was a perfectly good man, He was not the complete God. They deny the deity of Christ and do not enjoy His headship because they do not realize that the trinity of the Godhead is not merely for people to understand as theological knowledge but for the Triune God to dispense Himself into us for our enjoyment. Conversely, if we see that the trinity of the Godhead is not mainly for theological understanding but for the divine dispensing, we will never doubt that Christ is God. We must hold the truth that Christ is God.
Christ is not only God but also the embodiment of God. God is mysterious, abstract, and invisible, yet He is embodied in Christ. Whatever God is, has, has done, has obtained, has attained, is doing, will do, will obtain, and will attain are all embodied in Christ. In Christ we see creation, incarnation, redemption, resurrection, ascension, and the dispensing of the Triune God into us for our enjoyment. It is in Christ that we can enjoy the Triune God through His divine dispensing. If we see this revelation, we cannot deny the deity of Christ. If we deny the deity of Christ, we deny the entirety of God’s divine economy.
In keeping with this thought, the apostle John in 1 John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar if not he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” To deny that Jesus is the Christ is the heresy of Cerinthus, a first century Syrian heresiarch of Jewish descent educated at Alexandria. His heresy was a mixture of Judaism, Gnosticism, and Christianity. He separated the maker (creator) of the world from God and represented that maker as a subordinate power. He taught adoptionism, saying that Jesus was merely God’s adopted Son and had become the Son of God by being exalted to a status that was not His by birth; thus, he denied that Jesus had been conceived by the Holy Spirit. In his heresy he separated the earthly man Jesus, regarded as the son of Joseph and Mary, from the heavenly Christ and taught that after Jesus was baptized, Christ as a dove descended upon Him, and then He announced the unknown Father and did miracles. Further, he taught that at the end of His ministry Christ departed from Jesus, and Jesus suffered death on the cross and rose from the dead, while Christ remained separate as a spiritual being, and, finally, that Christ will rejoin the man Jesus at the coming of the Messianic kingdom of glory.
To confess that Jesus is the Christ is to confess that He is the Son of God (Matt. 16:16; John 20:31). Hence, to deny that Jesus is the Christ is to deny the Father and the Son. Whoever so denies the divine person of Christ is an antichrist.
In 1 John 2:23 John goes on to say, “Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who confesses the Son has the Father also.” Since the Son and the Father are one (John 10:30; Isa. 9:6), to deny the Son is to be without the Father, and to confess the Son is to have the Father. Here to deny the Son is to deny the deity of Christ, to deny that the man Jesus is God. This is a great heresy.
In 1 John 2:24, John continues, “As for you, that which you heard from the beginning, let it abide in you. If that which you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” In this verse, that which you heard from the beginning is the Word of life, that is, the Word of the eternal life that the believers heard from the beginning (1:1-2). Not to deny but to confess that the man Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (2:22), is to let the Word of the eternal life abide in us. In so doing we abide in the Son and in the Father and are not led astray by the heretical teachings concerning Christ’s person (v. 26). This indicates that the Son and the Father are the eternal life for our regeneration and enjoyment. In this eternal life we have fellowship with God and with one another (1:2-3, 6-7) and have our being in our daily walk (2:6; 1:7).
In summary, 1 John 2:22-24 reveals that if you deny that the man Jesus is Christ as God, you will have neither the Father nor the Son. Consequently, you will not have eternal life, which is in the Son (5:11-12), and you will not have any experience and enjoyment of Christ. If you deny Christ’s deity, you will have no way to experience and enjoy Him.
The reason many heretical teachers deny the deity of Christ is that they have never enjoyed Christ. But we who have experienced and enjoyed Christ cannot deny His deity. We know that Christ is God, not by mere theological doctrines but by our personal experience. Since we have experienced Christ as God, we know Him as our Redeemer (Gal. 3:13); we know that His death is all-inclusive and eternally effective (Heb. 9:14); we know that as the infinite God mingled with a genuine man, He died for all men, especially for all His believers (1 Tim. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:14-15); and we know that He is God over all, blessed forever (Rom. 9:5). Because we have experienced and enjoyed Christ, we can and must testify of our rich enjoyment of Christ as the mighty God who is our righteousness, our holiness, our meekness, our wisdom, our way, and our everything.
In this message we will cover three more aspects of the experience and enjoyment of Christ revealed in Romans 10.
In Romans 10:4-13, Christ is presented as Christ, the Word, and the Lord.
Verse 4 says, “For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to everyone who believes.” This verse indicates that Christ came to be the end of the law unto righteousness to everyone who believes in Him.
Christ is the end of the law. As such, He fulfilled the law, completed the law, and replaced the law, thereby ending the law (Matt. 5:17). When He died on the cross, Christ completed and terminated the law. The law ended in Him. Since the law was terminated on the cross of Christ, we should no longer be under it.
The Jews treasured the law and tried to keep it that they might establish their own righteousness before God. They did not see that the law had been fully completed and terminated by Christ. If they had seen this, they would have stopped their attempts to keep the law. They would never again have tried to establish their own righteousness before God.
The principle is the same with many Christians today. After being saved, they make up their minds to do good to please God. As a result, they spontaneously make regulations for themselves, regulations which may be considered self-made laws, and they endeavor to fulfill them in an attempt to be pleasing to God. Like the Jews, they do not see that Christ is the end, the termination, of all regulations and that they should take Him as their life that they may live righteously before God.
If we desire to experience Christ, we must realize that most of us are under certain laws, including our self-made laws. We need to see that when Christ visits us, He comes to us as the end of our self-made laws. When He grants us a gracious visitation, we will be stopped from trying to keep our self-made laws. His visitation will stop all our activities as well as all our desires, intentions, and even schedules made by ourselves.
Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness. The termination of the law is unto, or results in, righteousness to everyone who believes in Him. This means that the result of Christ terminating the law is that God’s righteousness is given to everyone who believes in Christ. He replaced the law that we may believe in Him to have Him as our righteousness. We need to see that the only genuine righteousness before God is Christ, the One who has terminated the law that He might be the living righteousness to everyone who believes in Him. Everyone who believes in Him receives God’s righteousness, which is Christ Himself. He is the end of the law so that we may gain and enjoy Him as our real and living righteousness before God.
Romans 10:5-8 reveals Christ as the word: “For Moses writes concerning the righteousness which is out of the law: ‘The man who does them shall live by them.’ But the righteousness which is out of faith speaks in this way, ‘Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven?’ that is, to bring Christ down; or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ that is, to bring Christ up from the dead. But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of the faith which we proclaim.” In these verses, the word is used interchangeably with Christ, indicating that this word is Christ. Christ was incarnated by coming down from heaven and was resurrected by coming up from Hades. Thus, He has become the living Word, the Spirit (Eph. 6:17), to be in our mouth and in our heart, just like the air, the breath, that can be taken into our being. He is near and He is available.