What does Romans 8:38 mean?
ESV: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
NIV: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
NASB: For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
CSB: For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
NLT: And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
KJV: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Verse Commentary:
Paul doesn't want his readers to feel an ounce of insecurity about God's love for them in Christ. He has built the case for why God is for us as Christians. He has already created a list of the worst things that can happen in this life to make the point that none of them demonstrate a loss of Christ's love from us (Romans 8:31–37). Those things may happen, but as he wrote in the previous verse, they cannot conquer us in any way that matters. Those who are saved by faith in Christ (Romans 3:23–26; John 3:16–18) can continually endure, in the power of His Spirit.

Now Paul begins a new list. This covers virtually everything anyone might think of to challenge God's love for His elect (Romans 8:29–30). Paul begins with death, which for the believer in Christ can only bring us into God's glory more quickly (2 Corinthians 5:8). He continues to include life, angels, and rulers. This last concept is from the Greek word archai, usually used for a political leader or magistrate, and often applied to certain kinds of demons. In other words, absolutely nothing, whether natural on this earth, or supernatural from heaven or hell, could ever cause God to stop loving us.

Paul continues his list with the present and the future. Nothing that could happen now or tomorrow or a thousand years from now could change God's commitment to love us in Christ. Next he lists "powers," referring either to supernatural powers like Satan and his demons or earthly governments like Rome.

As it turned out, Paul himself was eventually killed, so far as we know, by the "powers" of the Roman government. They did not conquer him, though. Nor did they not separate him from God's love for him, in Christ.
Verse Context:
Romans 8:31-39 is one of the most encouraging and affirming passages in all of God's Word. Paul has established that God is for all of us who are in Christ; for those who have been saved by their faith. No charge or accusation made against us can stand, because God has provided for our justification and Christ is interceding for us. Paul makes two lists of all of the things in the universe that cannot separate us from God's love for us in Christ. Hard things will happen, indeed. Yet, none of them will cause our Father to stop loving us, nor are any of them signs that He has abandoned us. Our salvation is entirely, absolutely secure on account of His great love.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 8 begins and ends with declarations of the Christian's absolute security before God. There is no condemnation for those in Christ, and nothing will ever be able to separate us from His love. Having believed the gospel, we now live in the Spirit of God. That allows us to call God Abba Father. We suffer with Christ, and we suffer along with all creation while we wait for God to reveal us as His sons. With the help of the Spirit, we are confident that God is for us and loves us in Christ.
Chapter Context:
In Romans 7, Paul revealed his frustration of trying to do good only to be thwarted by his sin. He begins Romans 8, though, with the triumphant statement that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. We live in the Spirit, and we relate to God as a child does to a father. The Spirit helps us in this season of suffering along with all of creation while we wait for our adoption to be complete with the redemption of our bodies. We are confident, though, that God is for us and nothing can separate us from His love.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
Accessed 4/16/2024 12:12:35 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com