So today we come to the end of our series on Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. And if you’ve only taken one thing away from the whole series, I’d like to think that it is this: Paul’s theology, Paul’s understanding of God and his understanding of our place before God, is completely caught up in the idea of grace.
So in Christ, we talked about last week, in Christ we are one body, each of us members of one another. This unity, Paul reminds us, is something we have, like everything we have, by grace; we did not create the unity of the people of God (let’s face it, we’re actually pretty rubbish at creating unity) – it’s not a human organisational unity, but a profound theological truth. Whatever it looks like, however we feel about it, we are one body in Christ.
Last week we came to the end of the first half of the book of Romans, the conclusion of Paul’s argument from grace; that we, each of us, stand before God justified, adopted, beloved children of God by God’s free gift, given to us in Jesus Christ, received by faith; a gift that nothing can take away from us, a love that nothing can separate us from.
And so today we come to one of the great promises in the book of Romans – a passage that I think I’ve probably had read at the vast majority of funerals that I’ve ever presided at:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord