An Unusual Quotation- Romans 8:36

Romans 8:28-39 is a passage of Scripture which details for us the love of Christ, describing for us how God is on our side in all things and how nothing can separate us from His love. It begins, in verse 28, by telling us that God works “all” things for (Greek eis-unto) the good of those who love Him, that no matter what happens God uses it for our ultimate good. We then find, in verse 29, that we are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, and since God has “predestined” this nothing can keep it from happening, that the “all things” of verse 28 work to conform us to the image of Christ. We then learn, in verse 30, that all of this ends in our ultimate glorification, that God somehow guarantees our ultimate conformity to the image of Christ and our ultimate glorification and that nothing can prevent either of them from becoming a reality. Paul then moves, in verse 31, to telling us that God is for us and therefore no one can be against us, that since God has guaranteed our ultimate glorification and conformity to the image of Christ no opposition can keep them from happening. He then tells us, in verse 32, that since God sent His own Son for us all, will He not graciously give us all things? God did not withhold His Son from us, so how would He withhold any good thing? The obvious answer here is that He would not. In verse 33, we find that no one can bring any charge against us, that God has justified us and permanently delivered us from any condemnation. In verse 34, we see that Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us, ensuring that everything just mentioned takes place. In verse 35, we find that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, that trouble and hardship do not separate from His love, that He is with us and loving us in the midst of the trouble and hardship. What we must take note of here is that it says that trouble and hardship do not separate us from the love of Christ and not that the love of Christ separates us from trouble and hardship. The love of Christ is with us in the midst of the trouble and hardship, so the trouble and hardship are part of the “all things’ of verse 28 and somehow for our good. We then find Paul quoting a Psalm in verse 36, beginning with “as it is written”, which is his way of identifying when he is going to quote an Old Testament passage. The quote he chooses is as follows: “For your sake we face death all day long, we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered”. This seems a rather odd thing to quote in the midst of a passage which describes to us the love of Christ, how that love assures our glorification, how God works for us in everything, and which concludes by telling us we are “more than conquerors” (verse 37) through His love. Why would Paul quote such a “negative” passage in the midst of such a triumphant section of Scripture? The quote here is Psalm 44:22, and our next post will examine this Psalm in order to understand why Paul quotes it here and what he means by it, in hope that we will discover that this quote is not as odd or unusual as it seems, but that it relates to us a critical dimension of God’s love that we would not see if this unusual quote were not here.

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