What Shall Separate Us?

Yesterday we were once more singing through John 1 in our 2pm set with Jon Thurlow’s team. Each week as we have sung this passage—for some six months now—a new arrow pierces my heart. This time it was the arrow of the love that was God and the God that was love long before you and I were ever given access or insight into its burnings…

“And the Word was with God” says John (Jn. 1:1). This phrase translates “And the Word (Jesus, the beloved Son) was towards God (the eternal Father).” It denotes relationship and fellowship, a community of essence and sharing in glory. With the words “In the beginning…” John purposefully triggers everyone’s memory to the Genesis account, starting in the same way as the story of creation opens. Yet rather than skipping immediately to creation and to the part that humanity enters the story…he lingers in the story before our story. He pauses in the beholding of the Trinitarian love from eternity past. As though to say, “At the opening of the Great Story, the very onset of all things, let me tell you of the divine heart and passion at the center of all.”

Before we knew God as the God of love He was love from everlasting. Long before man was ever given access or entrance or insight into the vast heights, depths, length and width of God’s love, God’s love—within the Godhead—was eternally immeasurable. And here is the beginning of all things—the Fount and primal Source of all. What God demonstrated in the giving of His Son unto us and what Christ manifested in the laying down of His life for all was something eternally ancient in its goings forth, something God knew long before He introduced us to it.

This brings our hearts into the deep confidence of our inability to alter the love that was never contingent upon our own doings. God has offered us access into a love and fellowship that we did nothing to earn and can do nothing to preserve. Its instigation began far before our invitation to receive it and its preservation is sustained by a power far superior to our own ability to maintain it. Paul expressed this confidence when he said, “What shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…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 created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35 – 39).

John points us to the Love that was before time to settle our hearts in its certainty and press us into assurance. I was not a part of the origin of this Love nor am I able to affect its continuance. My role is to be an active receiver and participator of a fellowship I did nothing to earn—to live as a drinker of so great an ocean. I am to take my place amidst the Great Story, to run wholly and entirely with all of my being into the waters of this love and in such an immersion to rest in the truth that what He began He will finish and that the God of love—who was love from everlasting—is the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.