What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
– Romans 8:31-32, NIV-1983
There are times I read scripture, familiar scripture, and the words flow through my eyes to my brain, and my brain subconsciously says, “Yup. Yup, been there. Read that. Got the wall hanging.” I have to purposely pause . . . stop . . . reflect and ask, “What is really being said here? What are the implications of that?”
I had just such an experience this afternoon with Romans chapter eight.
For those of us who know Jesus as King, as Lord, as Savior, has it really sunk in that in giving us Jesus and the finished work of the cross, God has already given us the most gut-wrenching and costly thing he could possibly give us? Because that is the heart of the argument in this passage!
If I already took a bullet to the chest for you, and survived that, how could I then refuse to buy you an ice-cream cone? The parallel is just about that absurd. What more could God possibly give than what he has already given?
I’ve already given you my Lamborghini. But asking for my tennis shoes as well? No, I’m sorry. That’s just too much.
Through the gift of God, in the work of Jesus, we are now adopted children in the family. We are joint-heirs with Christ, the Son.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
– Romans 8:16-17, NIV-1983
It is in that context that we cry our “Abba Father.”1
I believe it is important for each of us to recognize our condition when this “not sparing his Son” took place. Consider the impact of this verse:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
– Romans 5:8, NIV-1983
It is easy to love those who are good to us—those who have done us no wrong. It is an entirely different matter to love the one who is spitting in our face. That is the heart of the verse above. God did not wait for us to stop spitting in his face. God demonstrated the depth of his love for us in that while we were still spitting in his face, Christ died for us.
We habitually chose to kick God in the shins, ignoring his love, his goodness, his holiness, as we chased after the lusts of our flesh,2 wide-eyed and our tongues hanging out. Yet, Christ died for us. We were, by nature, chldren of wrath.3 Yet, Christ died for us. We were enemies of the cross.4 Yet, Christ died for us.
We were enemies of the cross right up to, and including, the very moment we were reconciled to God through the death of Christ.
For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled shall we be saved through his life!
– Romans 5:10, NIV-1983
Does it not follow, then, that the one who, out of his love, has done the most difficult thing for us, will continue to show that same love now that we are adopted into his family?
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
– Romans 5:31, NIV-1983
1. Romans 8:15
2. 1 John 2:16
3. Ephesians 2:3
4. Philippians 3:18