There are some parts of scripture that have been particularly life-saving to me. Romans 8:28-39 is one of those. In verse 31, Paul asks a series of questions: 1] If God is for us, who can be against us? 2] Who can bring a charge against us? 3] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
All these questions are about opposition. Paul knew that if you were determined to follow Jesus, you would at times be worn out by all sorts of opposition. It's a part of the Christian life, and we can expect it. Paul faced all kinds of opposition: death threats, suffering, demonic oppression, the struggle with his flesh and weakness, persecution, shipwrecks, etc. The bad news is we fill face opposition. The good news is that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
Who can separate us from the love of Christ? He answers his question in verses 38 & 39.
Death can't. Life can't. I had someone say to me once, "I'm afraid of only two things: life and death." Some of us are afraid of death; others are afraid of life. While our fears can keep us from peace and joy and seize us up, those fears can't take the love of God away from us. In fact, the perfect love of God is intended to drive out fear. [1 John 4:18]
Angels can't. Demons can't. Paul is talking about the unseen powers. We often feel attacked by unseen forces, and we use terms like 'oppression' and 'attack' to describe our intense spiritual battles. But those unseen powers are created beings, and they do not have the power to take what God has given. They are not powerful enough to take the love of Jesus away from you.
Present can't. Future can't. What has been written in our story and what is not yet written can take God's love away from you when you are in Christ. Some of us struggle with peace over our past; others struggle with peace regarding the future, but to be 'in Christ' is to be in the eternal nature of Christ. Everything past, present and future are in Jesus. We need to learn to let go of our past and rest in the love of God.
Powers can't. These 'seen' powers are those who hold sway over the world, those who have either been given power or who have taken power. These powers can control your life, imprison us, and even kill us. We've seen the abuses that come from oppressive governments, those who own our debt, and societies influential people. These powers can take everything from you...except for the love of God that is found in Jesus.
Heights can't. Depths can't. The best way I can describe 'heights and depths' is in mysterious and astronomical ways. Simply put, there is nothing in the universe that can take God's love away from you when you are in Christ. There's no place we can go where God isn't. I'm almost certain Paul had Psalm 139:7-12 in mind when he wrote these words. Jesus is in those places beyond our understanding, and there's no place we can go to escape the love of God.
Created things can't. People hold a lot of power and influence over us, but they can't take God's love from us. No created thing can.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
That's a life-saving kind of love.