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?
For several weeks now in my community group at church this verse has been brought up, and it dawned on me this morning that for this verse to have much impact on our hearts we really need to have a high view of the Son that God did not spare. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in this chapter of the Bible–as I am sure many others have–and I’m afraid that because of familiarity I might have the propensity, now and then, to gloss over certain things that should hit me like a hammer. I don’t have the time, space, or expertise to tease out all of the implications of this verse. Rather, I would just like to share with you what God graciously hit me with today.
This verse is a mini crescendo amid a larger crescendo that makes up the end of Romans 8, which culminates with Paul telling us there is nothing in all creation that can separate a Christian from the love of God in Christ (v. 39). This is a passage that should evoke great confidence and assurance in Christians when we grasp what it is claiming for, and about, us. Yet, for it to have that effect on us, and not be something we just read, we must understand what–more rightly, whom–it is God gave up. We must appreciate the value of that sacrifice and by doing so appreciate the price of the penalty he bore. Otherwise it won’t embolden us to approach the throne of grace in times of need, and it won’t give us confidence that God will finish the good work he began in us.
Imagine with me for a moment. Imagine your most valued possession is your academic achievement. You’re at the end of your senior year at a prestigious Ivy League university. You’re going to be the valedictorian of your class. You don’t even have to interview for jobs since companies are recruiting you to come work for them. You have it made. Your future is set and all that you can dream of waits on the horizon.
Now think of the biggest slacker in the senior class. He never studied, never got tutored, never even showed up for class. Social media showed him partying nightly. He definitely wasn’t passing his classes, and he for sure wasn’t going to graduate. He was going to have nothing to show for his college “career” but a mountain of student debt he won’t be able to pay back since he won’t be able to get a job.
Now imagine this: You willingly switch places with him. I don’t mean in a “walk a mile in his shoes” sense. I mean really and completely switch places. Not for a semester, but forever. You get his consequences; he gets your reward. He’s done nothing to earn that favor, and you’ve worked your tail off to get to where you are. Nevertheless, if you go through with it, he’s top of the class and you’re the one who flunked out. He’s the one with the job offers and you’re the one with the debt.
Crazy as it sounds, this is a small picture of what Jesus did for his redeemed.
Imagine giving your GPA to him. Imagine his response. Imagine how deeply he would realize you care for him. Imagine, now that he grasps the depths of your affection, the assurance he would have that you would always seek good things for him as he comprehends the value of what you gave up for him. That is the assurance we can draw from Romans 8:32.
Jesus alone deserved, merited, earned, warranted–add whatever synonym you wish–God’s eternal favor. He alone stood before the Father blameless and righteous. And he gave it up so that we who had done nothing but reject, despise, cast off, and hate God could be welcomed in. Jesus was valedictorian and we failed life. Our debt of sin was insurmountable. It wasn’t a small thing, but even though our sins were as great as the oceans are deep, the worth and value of Christ is greater still.
So let’s draw near to God with confidence. Let’s ask him to equip us to trust he can–and will–do what he’s promised. And by doing so, may we rest assured that nothing can separate us from the end he has appointed for us in Christ–eternity with Him.
Photo Credit: @mrsverenaboga