Things Present, Things to Come

Romans 8
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure 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.

There was one particular part of that passage that caught my attention – “nor things present nor things to come….”– and it’s the main focus of this message. Very simply stated, Paul was talking about present and future circumstances of life. But what about the past? The past is as much a part of our lives as the present and future. When we think of the very essence of time itself, we think of the past, present, and future. So wouldn’t it seem logical for Paul to have said that neither the PAST, present, or future could ever separate us from the love of God? Yet Paul made no mention of the past, and I believe the reason is very simple: I don’t think Paul was the least bit concerned about the past.

The Bible tells us that when a sinner repents and accepts Christ, God no longer remembers the sins of that person’s past. The author of Hebrews recalled this promise by quoting Jeremiah 31 verse 34, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”. It’s recorded not once, but twice in Hebrews, in chapter 8 and again in chapter 10. Micah 7:19 tells us: You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Now the past isn’t changed. It’s not erased. But there is simply no need to remind ourselves of the sins of our past when God Himself promised not to remind us of those sins! When God casts our sins into the sea, He puts up a ‘no fishing’ sign. We have been set free from the past. That’s why Paul made no mention of the past in that passage from Romans. There was no need to. The past is done.

While we cannot change the past, we do have the freedom and ability to make decisions that can impact our present circumstances AND change the course of our future; things present and things to come. The most important decision we ever made of course, was the decision to follow Christ. At that moment, our future in this world was changed, and our future in Heaven was assured. Jesus said in John chapter 5, Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. No other decision we make today, or any decision we make in the future, will have as great an impact on our lives as the decision we made to ask Jesus to be the Lord of our lives.

Not only did we change our future, but present circumstances became bearable. We’ve all had to endure a season (or seasons) of difficulty and hardship in our lives. Some of you may be going through some sort of hardship at this very moment. But the grace by which we were saved is sufficient to see us through those seasons of difficulty when they come. God reminded Paul of this truth when Paul asked Him to remove the thorn from his flesh. How did God respond? “My grace is sufficient for you.” God has given us His grace in abundance, and it is greater than any difficulty we will ever face, now or in the future. And that explains why Paul said neither things present nor things to come can ever separate us from God’s love.