May 5, 2008

The God Who Did Not Spare His Own Son…

Posted in Christian life, Gospel, Jesus Christ, Reformed Theology, Theology at 9:14 pm by Dan Lowe

The epistle to the Romans is basically the Apostle Paul’s systematic exposition of the gospel message.  In the first three chapters (Rom 1:18-3:20), the apostle Paul lays out a devastating indictment against all mankind.  We are all idolaters… we worship created things rather than the Creator (Rom 1:18-23.)  We sin against our consciences which contain fragments of God’s Law written upon it (Rom 2:12-16.)  There is no one who is righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands or seeks after God.  We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:10-23.)  Despite this, God has given His Son as the sacrifice for our sin.  While we were helpless to save ourselves… vile sinners at war with God… Christ Jesus died for us (Rom 5:6-10.) Through our relationship with Christ, we have died to sin and we walk in newness of life (Romans 6.)  There is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1.)

After this detailed exposition of the gospel, Paul comes to a climax of majestic proportion in Romans 8:31-39

Romans 8:31-39 (ESV) – 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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.

Although there is much that could be said regarding this passage of Scripture, I just want to highlight the teaching of Paul in one specific verse…

Romans 8:32 (ESV) – 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

What would you not give up for your children?  Our children are some of the most blessed gifts which God bestows upon us in this life.  They are precious to us.  Is there anything you wouldn’t give up for your children?

Probably not.  But let me ask a different question.  What would you give your children up for?  Who would you give your children up for?

Paul tells us here that God did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all.  We… who were His enemies.  Vile, wretched sinners.  He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us.

Behind this statement of Paul lies the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22 (Paul is quoting Gen 22:12 from the Greek translation of the Old Testament):

Genesis 22:1-12 (ESV) – 1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. 9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

The Hebrew implies that Abraham had every intention to follow through with the sacrifice of Isaac, but God spared Abraham’s son.  But God did not spare His own Son.  God provided the lamb for a burnt offering for our sin… His only begotten Son Jesus.

Isaiah 53:5-6 (ESV) – 5 But he (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

God did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all… but notice the consequences of this: “How will He not also with Him graciously give us all things.”

Notice three things here:

1)      Paul promises that God will give us “all things.”  Not some things.  “All things.”  This is not a promise that God will give us earthly prosperity (read verses 35-36… Paul describes these things as the present tense experiences of believers.)  The promise here is that God will give us all things that are necessary for us in the Christian life (cf. 8:28-30.)

2)      All things are graciously given to us.  We don’t earn the blessings which God bestows upon us.  All the blessings which God heaps upon us are free gifts of His grace.

3)      All things come to us freely “with Christ.”  Every blessing that we receive in the Christian life comes to us in Christ.  Apart from Him there are no blessings in the Christian life. (Read Ephesians 1:3-14, then read the post dated May 1, 2008, entitled “The Centrality of Christ in All the Christian’s Blessings, found here https://mbcpastoringlobe.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/the-centrality-of-christ-in-all-the-christian%e2%80%99s-blessings/ )

Now read this verse in context.

How do we know as Christians that we will not be condemned when we stand before God (Rom 8:34)?  Because He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously justify us.

How do we know that tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword will not separate us from the love of Christ (Rom 8:35)?  Because He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously keep us near Him.

How do we know that we will be more than conquerors as we face the trials and tribulations of life (Rom 8:37)?  Because He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us victory over our trials.

How do we know that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, 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 (Rom 8:38-39)?  Because He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things.

All of our blessings, both now and in eternity, are grounded in God and they flow to us through Jesus Christ.  We can be assured of these blessings… not because of anything in us… not because I am a good churchgoer… not because I do good works… we can be assured of these blessings because God has demonstrated His immeasurable love for us in that while we were yet sinners, He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all.

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