For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God[.]
Charles Wesley’s classic hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” draws its concluding verses from this passage:
The Father hears him pray, His dear anointed one; He cannot turn away The presence of his Son: His Spirit answers to the blood, And tells me I am born of God.
To God I’m reconciled, His pardoning voice I hear: He owns me for his child, I can no longer fear: With confidence I now draw nigh, And Father, Abba Father! cry.
There have been several modern-day musical arrangements of this hymn; one is by Twila Paris:
Romans 8:32, 38-39
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? … 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, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Michael Card’s Christmas classic “Immanuel” tells the story of the incarnation, drawing from Isaiah 7 for the first verse and chorus and from Isaiah 9 for a triumphant bridge. The second verse—which, in a rather unusual song structure, actually follows the bridge and its chorus—is a response to the Incarnation drawn directly from Romans 8:32 and 8:38-39.
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, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8 offers an embarrassment of riches to the seeker of expository songs, especially in its concluding verses. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll highlight two—a classic hymn and, first, a song more suited for a solo vocalist.
Babbie Mason’s “What Can Separate You?” is an excellent treatment of the passage. Unlike so many songs that pull a memorable verse out as a proof-text, Mason and her co-writer, Donna Douglas, show their respect for the context of this passage in the first verse: “And before the birth of time / Jesus had you on His mind / so you never need to question His concern.” This is a smartly worded reference to Romans 8:29-30, acknowledging God’s foreknowledge in layman’s terms that any Christian should be able to affirm.
James Small’s beloved hymn “I’ve Found a Friend” concludes with the assurance this verse offers us:
I’ve found a friend, O such a friend! So kind and true and tender, So wise a counselor and guide, So mighty a defender! From Him who loves me now so well What pow’r my soul can sever? Shall life or death or earth or hell? No, I am his forever.
Here’s a lushly orchestrated performance of the hymn’s classic melody from the London Fox choir and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra:
If coffee-shop singers and folk instrumentation are more your cup of tea, here’s a new, alternate melody from Remedy Collective:
Hallelujah (Romans 8:1-2) (1978) Steffi Rubin, Stuart Dauermann | Popularized by Liberated Wailing Wall Lyrics | Amazon
No Condemnation (Romans 8:1) Geron Davis | Popularized by The Ruppes Lyrics
The Rule of the Spirit (Romans 8:2) (1999) Don Francisco | Popularized by Don Francisco YouTube | Amazon
Should we be debtors to the flesh (Romans 8:12-17) Lyrics
Abba Father (Romans 8:15) Michael Card | Popularized by Michael Card YouTube | Amazon