St. Paul continues his profound reflection on God’s love in Romans 8: 28-39. (You might want to stop here and read these verses in your own Bible.)
Rom 8:29 the first-born Jesus is the eldest brother in the family of faith. As God’s adopted children, we look up to Jesus as the perfect image of Sonship and the perfect example of filial obedience to the Father.
St. Paul explains in this verse, that the goal of the love we have for God is “to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the first-born among many brothers.”
In Romans 8: 31-34, St. Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions.
- (8:31) If God is for us, who is against us?
- (8: 32) If God did not even spare His own Son, will He not give us all things?
- (8:33) Is there anyone who can bring charges against God’s elect?
- (8: 34) Isn’t Christ, who rose from the dead, interceding for us?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution, or famine or nakedness or peril, or sword? (Rom 8: 35)
St. Paul answers his question by returning to the love of God. As you read these verses (Romans 8: 37-39) note how strongly Paul’s various acts of faith are firm statements of trust in God no matter how difficult life becomes. His conclusion should become ours. God’s love for us is absolute so we should fear nothing!
Romans 12 and 13
St. Paul invites us to act in love. We should think and act humbly as humility is the foundation of the kind of Christian love that Paul tells us about. We should use our gifts for the sake of others in the Church. We should love in concrete ways: “contribute to the needs of the saints; practice hospitality” (Rom 12: 13); “bless those who persecute you.” (Rom 12: 14)
Finally, in Romans 13: 8-10, Paul links love to the commandments. He asserts in Romans 13: 9 that all the commandments “are summed up in this sentence ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” As St. Paul explains, “love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom 13: 10)
Next time: James 2: 14-26 Faith and Works
Meditation: Ephesians 3: 17-19 What is another insight from St. Paul, about the relationship between faith and love?