Part 2 Chapter 6

Section 7—Romans 8:38, 39.

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 creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If neither death,in any view of it, nor life under any consideration whatever, nor angels,good or bad, nor principalities, nor powers,civil magistrates, ever so potent, tyrannical, fierce and cruel, nor things present, nor things to come,whether good or evil, nor height, nor depth,anything in heaven, earth or hell, nor any other creature,any person, or thing, within the compass of created beings, shall be able to separate from the love with which God loves his people; since it is the love of God,and not man; the love of him who changes not, and is besides in Christ Jesus our Lord;then those who are interested in it cannot perish, or fail of glory; for it is impossible that any should perish, and yet continue the objects of God's love. Now,

1. It is owned,[1] that these words respect not "the love with which we love God, but his affection towards us; and that the apostle only intimates, that such persons continuing in the love of God, shall be preserved by him from the temptations here mentioned; and so supported by his grace and Spirit as to be able to bear them." And if so, since all such who have interest in the love of God, shall continue in it, what should hinder their final perseverance? And whereas it is observed,[2] that "he does not say, the love of no Christian shall wax cold, Matthew 24:12, that none of them shall lose his first love (Rev. 2:4).And were there no cause to fear this, it is asked, why doth Christ exhort his disciples to abide in his love (John 15:9), and his apostles exhort others to keep themselves in the love of God (Jude 1:21), and to look diligently to it, that they fall not from the grace and favor of God (Heb. 12:15), and to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:43)?" I answer, that the love even of true believers may wax cold and yet not cease, nor the love of God cease towards them; nor does the scripture anywhere say, that any of them has lost, or may lose,but only have left their first love;nor do the exhortations of Christ and his apostles, to abide in his love, and keep themselves in the love of God,suppose this, but are made use of as means to prevent it: and as for the two last passages referred to, they are not to be understood, either of the love of the saints to God, or of his love and favor to them, but of the doctrine of grace.

2. It is farther observed,[3] "that the apostle does not say, that nothing can separate true believers from the love of God, or Christ; but only declares his persuasion, that nothing would do it, or that they had no cause to fear these things, or to be shaken from their steadfastness, in expectation of those inestimable blessings God had promised to, and Christ had purchased for them, by any of "these tribulations." But, if this persuasion of the apostle's was a well-grounded one; and if there was no just cause of fearing these things; then it is certain, that nothing can separate true believers from the love of God. And besides, since "they have good ground to hope, that all the evils they shall bear shall conduce to their good, that Christ will still be ready to support them under them by his power, and to help their infirmities by his Spirit, and at last give them the glory prepared for the sons of God;" not only the apostle might well persuade himself, but they also may well persuade themselves, that nothing shall ever be able to separate them from this love of God: nor do the fears the apostle elsewhere expresses, of their being shaken and tempted, so as that his labor would be in vain,and the arguments and motives he offers to prevent this effect of temptations, contradict this persuasion: nor was this persuasion of his concerning them, that they would persevere, and continue steadfast in the love of God, to which they had so great inducements; but that nothing should separate them from the affection of God towards them; which sense this author himself before acknowledged; though he now[4] thinks fit to contradict himself.


[1] Whitby, p. 457; ed. 2.438; Remonstr. Coll. Hag. art. 5:p. 108; Limborch, p. 724.

[2] Whitby, p. 458.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., p. 459.

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