38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
38. Persuasus enim sum, quod neque mors, neque vita, neque angeli neque principatus, neque virtutes, neque principatus, neque virtutes, neque præasentia, neque futura,
39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
39. Neque altitudo, neque profunditas, neque ulla alia creatura, poterit nos dirimere a charitate Dei, Quæ est in Christo Iesu.
38. He is now carried away into hyperbolic expressions, that he might confirm us more fully in those things which are to be experienced. Whatever, he says, there is in life or in death, which seems capable of tearing us away from God, shall effect nothing; nay, the very angels, were they to attempt to overturn this foundation, shall do us no harm. It is no objection, that angels are ministering spirits, appointed for the salvation of the elect, (Hebrews 1:14:) for Paul reasons here on what is impossible, as he does in Galatians 1:8; and we may hence observe, that all things ought to be deemed of no worth, compared with the glory of God, since it is lawful to dishonor even angels in vindicating his truth. Angels are also meant by principalities and powers, and they are so called, because they are the primary instruments of the Divine power: and these two words were added, that if the word angels sounded too insignificant, something more might be expressed. But you would, perhaps, prefer this meaning, |Nor angels, and whatever powers there may be;| which is a mode of speaking that is used, when we refer to things unknown to us, and exceeding our capacities.
Nor present things, nor future things, etc. Though he speaks hyperbolically, yet he declares, that by no length of time can it be effected, that we should be separated from the Lord's favor: and it was needful to add this; for we have not only to struggle with the sorrow which we feel from present evils, but also with the fear and the anxiety with which impending dangers may harass us. The meaning then is, -- that we ought not to fear, lest the continuance of evils, however long, should obliterate the faith of adoption.
This declaration is clearly against the schoolmen, who idly talk and say, that no one is certain of final perseverance, except through the gift of special revelation, which they make to be very rare. By such a dogma the whole faith is destroyed, which is certainly nothing, except it extends to death and beyond death. But we, on the contrary, ought to feel confident, that he who has begun in us a good work, will carry it on until the day of the Lord Jesus.
39. Which is in Christ, etc. That is, of which Christ is the bond; for he is the beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased. If, then, we are through him united to God, we may be assured of the immutable and unfailing kindness of God towards us. He now speaks here more distinctly than before, as he declares that the fountain of love is in the Father, and affirms that it flows to us from Christ.