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Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Romans 8:35–39

We who are saved by God’s grace know God’s love for us is constant; it endures. His love never abandons us, even through suffering and death. His love is established and secured in the work of Jesus Christ, and it gives us assurance that we are His and we always will be.


You probably know the lyrics to this children’s chorus:

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Beloved, there is nothing more soothing, more reassuring, more powerful than this simple reminder of God’s unfailing love through Jesus Christ.

Several years ago, I read about a true war-time use of this little chorus. A Korean-American enlisted during the Korean War as a chaplain. Since this young man knew the Korean language, he was assigned to a compound where North Korean prisoners of war were being held. He really did not know where to begin with these soldiers who had been raised as atheists in their communist country.

The Lord prompted him to do something rather unusual. When he arrived, he entered the first holding area and spoke to the men in their own language. They immediately crowded around to hear what this Korean-American had to say. He simply began teaching them how to sing this little chorus, “Jesus Loves Me.” Then he taught them what the words meant. He went from one holding area to another, repeating the same method.

Over the course of the next few months, several thousand soldiers placed their faith in Jesus Christ. After the war, they were released back to their home country. It will be interesting one day to see the spiritual harvest in heaven from the testimonies of these North Korean soldiers.[2]

This little song paraphrases the truth we hear in the closing verses of Romans chapter 8. Paul seems to anticipate somebody asking, “Aren’t there some things that might separate us from the love of God—things that indicate Jesus does not love us after all?”

Paul begins to list some of those things here in verse 35: “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword.” What do we make of that? Well, believers are going to face hardship and suffering. I think of those North Korean soldiers going back to a nation where being a Christian was a death sentence.

Paul even says here in verse 36, “For [God’s] sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” Wouldn’t martyrdom indicate that God does not love us?

This verse gives a prophetic description of the persecution of the nation of Israel, as well as the persecution of believers in every generation. Verse 36 is actually a quote from Psalm 44:22, which is a prophetic description of persecution for those who follow God in every generation.

Paul can sense persecution coming for the early church. Christians will eventually be crucified, beheaded, burned to death, drowned; some will be covered with tar and then lit on fire as the emperor Nero throws another outdoor party.

You would think that Jesus Christ must not love His church! Paul answers this question by focusing our perspective on eternity. We need to take a wider view at who wins this war.

Paul writes, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (verse 37). “We are more than conquerors.”

The Greek term is hupernikaō; it is a compound word that comes from nikē, the word for victory, and huper, or hyper, which means “above and beyond.” We use the word hyper all the time—usually in reference to our children. The Latin translates this “super-victorious.” Christians are not just victorious; they are super-victorious, hyper-victorious.

This compound word appears only here in the Bible—in verse 37.[3] Paul is telling us that no matter what our circumstances on earth look like, we are more than victorious because we are never separated from the love of Christ.

Then in verses 38 and 39, Paul adds to the list ten more things that we might wonder about. First, he writes that death will never separate us from the love of God. For the Christian, death is simply the hand that opens the door of heaven.

Paul then adds that “neither death nor life” can separate us from Christ’s love. Let me tell you, death might be fearful, but life—life can be dangerous! Jesus said, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). That means you never face any danger in life alone. Jesus is with you always.

Next, Paul says that you cannot be separated from Christ by angels. The world Paul lived in was filled with superstition about angels. Rabbis were teaching the people that everything in the physical world, even a blade of grass, had an angel associated with it.[4] They were under every bush and every blade of grass.

The rabbis also taught that angels were a little jealous that God had created mankind, whom they were commanded to serve. Well, Paul is assuring the believer that angels are powerless apart from the hand of God. No angel can interfere with God’s love.

Now Paul mentions “rulers” (archē), a term he often used to refer to the demonic world.[5] So even the devil and his demons—rulers of the kingdom of darkness—cannot separate the believer from the love of Christ.

Paul continues the list, adding, “nor things present nor things to come” can separate you from Christ’s love. There is nothing in your present life or somewhere out there in your future life that can erase your security as a child of God. And that includes some kind of artificial intelligence that people fear might rule the world one day. Nothing in the future can separate you from the love of Christ, who reigns over all things.

At the end of verse 38, Paul includes the phrase, “nor powers. “Powers” is dunamis, the same word in Acts 8:10 used to describe Simon the Magician. He was known to have occultic power. So, Paul is saying that not only does the demonic world not have power to separate you from Christ, but neither do demonically empowered people; they cannot somehow curse you or bind you so that Christ can no longer guide your life.

This list continues in verse 39, where Paul writes that the believer cannot be separated from the love of Christ by “height [or] depth.” Height (hupsōma) and depth (bathos) are astrological terms relating to the height, or zenith, of a star and the depth, or lowest point, of a star.

Paul’s world believed stars had power over the destiny of people. Millions of people today believe the same thing. They know the astrological sign when they were born, and they read the horoscope daily to make decisions about hundreds of things in life. They actually think the height and depth of stars and planets have power and influence over what you might encounter in life.

Paul effectively says, “That is not true; the stars cannot hurt you. They do not have power over you; they cannot influence or determine your destiny. The stars are no match for the Savior.”

Paul adds one final item to this list, when he writes, “nor anything else in all creation.” In other words, just in case he left something out, he appends this one last phrase that covers everything in all of creation.

Beloved, you are eternally secure because God the Son, who created everything, came to die on a cross for everything about you. And since He knew everything about you, and the world you live in today, nothing will surprise Him. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.

So, let us sing it today:

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

[1] Anna Bartlett Warner, “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.” 

[2] Donald G. Barnhouse, Romans, Volume Three (Eerdmans, 1959), 189.

[3] A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. IV (Baker, 1931), 379.

[4] William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans (Westminster Press, 1975), 11.

[5] See Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 2:15.

[6] Warner, “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.” 

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