I Am Persuaded
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, not any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38, 39.
In 1556 a young man named Claes experienced a dramatic conversion. Studying Scripture in his Belgian home, he was overwhelmed with God’s love. He concluded that salvation was through faith in Christ alone. Christ filled his heart and radiated from his countenance, and he just could not keep silent. The Christ whom he so passionately loved led him to share that love with others.
Church and state were united in sixteenth-century Europe, and the state church did not tolerate the slightest dissent. Claes was arrested and brought to Ghent because he challenged the church’s view on salvation. The authorities tried to talk him out of his beliefs before burning him alive. He knew the only way he could avoid the stake was to give up those beliefs. But he held fast. Claes wasn’t intimidated by the power of the state looming over him. He couldn’t be coerced.
Claes was asked, “What is your faith?” He replied, “I believe only in Christ Jesus, that He is the living and true Son of God, and that there is no other salvation, whither in heaven or on earth.” Claes kept his eyes on the Lamb of God, who had shed His blood for him. That was his security and strength. That was his purpose. He took great comfort in the promise Jesus made in Matthew: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20, KJV).
Jesus came through in Claes’s darkest hour. And Claes could have joy in the Lord his God. In the last moments of his life, just before his execution, our Lord gave him an unusual peace. Claes wrote, “My heart kindled within me with joy to the Lord my God, so that all my trouble and anxiety were driven from me as dust is swept from the street.”
Claes went to his death secure in Jesus’ love. He was at perfect peace.
All the demons in hell cannot separate us from God’s love. Sickness cannot do it. Tragedy can’t accomplish it. Misfortune and mistakes are not powerful enough to separate us from God’s love. Divorce, disease, discouragement, disaster, and death itself are not strong enough to separate us from God’s love. In our darkest moments God’s love is still there. Like Claes, you too can exclaim, “Lord, Thou art faithful to Thy promise.”
from On Solid Ground
Mark Finley | Review & Herald (2003)
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