Love Is the Crescendo
It is one of the most wonderful, encouraging, comforting, and motivating passages about God’s grace for us while we live in this groaning world and wait for redemption. It builds to this glorious crescendo:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:31–39)
Why is love the crescendo of this remarkable Romans 8 passage? Why is the zenith of all Paul wants us to know about God’s grace a promise of the love of God? Paul understands something very fundamental that reaches to the height and depth of the life of every human being. The highest human joys are connected to love. The greatest human fears are about love. The most painful of human moments have to do with love. The unceasing longing of every human being has to do with love. Everyone cares about love. Everyone thinks about love. Everyone talks about love. Everyone worries about the vulnerability of love. No one has ever had to teach a child to want to be loved or cry when he or she feels unloved. There is no emotion, no experience, and no quest more authentically human than love.
There are two questions that every human being everywhere has asked, regardless of race, ethnicity, geography, history, age, or economic or social status:
Will someone love me?
Once they get to know me, will they still love me?
In this fallen world, the topography of love is rough and rocky. None of us walk a smooth, straight, and sunny pathway of love. Familial love fails all of us in some way. Marital love, with all of its romantic hopes and dreams, never quite fulfills our expectations. Friendship love never fully delivers what we wish. Online media love is a digital fabrication. When it comes to love, we spend much of our lives disappointed. Again and again, we are disappointed with love, and we repeatedly disappoint people who look to us for love. The point is that, in this fallen world, the kind of love that we long for is fleeting, elusive, and often disappointing.
God gives us the greatest gift ever given—the gift of himself.
This is what is so powerfully glorious about what Paul writes at the end of Romans 8. It speaks to the deepest hunger in the heart of every human being with a promise so amazing that it seems almost too good to be true—there is a love that will never forsake us. There is a love that will never fail in any of its commitments to us. There is a love that is sacrificial and generous all the time. There is a love that is so strong that nothing in all of creation can break it. There is a love that is faithful and true, no matter what. There is a love that is unbreakable, even when we are unloving and undeserving. There is a place where you can find an absolutely unbreakable bond of love, the kind of love you have dreamed of, and that your broken heart has cried out for.
You will never find this love in your spouse, children, parents, friends, or neighbors. There is only one place to find this peace-producing, joy-fulfilling, and heart-resting love—God. What every human heart longs for is the love of God. Only his sacrificial, forgiving, accepting, patient, kind, merciful, wise, and faithful love will ever satisfy the longing of our hearts. Only his love produces the rest, hope, and courage in us that then ignites our desire and ability to love others. When we bask in his love, we want to be visible representatives of his love in the lives of others. In his love, we find our identity. His love gives us new meaning and new potential. His love frees us from our bondage to chasing after love where it will never be found. The experience of his true love protects us from being deceived by counterfeit forms of love. Only his love can rescue us, restore us, and rebuild us. In reconciling us to him, his love has the power to reconcile us to one another.
There simply is nothing like the love of God. It is the most powerful force in the universe. Love is what we need—God’s love, that is. You and I could never earn it, deserve it, or achieve it. It reaches into the sinful muck of humanity, cleans us up, draws us close, and launches us to brand-new living while staying faithful to the end, even if we are not. In loving us, God gives us the greatest gift ever given—the gift of himself.
It is good to stop once in a while and spend time meditating on the glorious beauty of God’s love. This devotional is designed to help you do just that. May it be used to make your heart glad, fill you with courage and hope, and ignite in you a desire to be an ambassador of God’s gorgeous love.
This article is adapted from 40 Days of Love by Paul David Tripp.
The biblical picture of love can differ wildly from how the world defines it. Be set aright and encouraged by these verses and commentary.
God loves his people despite their sin against him. He loves them before they love him back, and before there’s anything in them worthy of his love. But his love doesn’t stop there.
Being a good steward of my time requires that I tune in to God’s heart and see the opportunities to love others that are all around me.
Jesus said that it is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). What comes out of your heart displays what’s in it and what has captured it.