The Great Giver
The above verse supplies us with an instance of divine logic. It contains a conclusion drawn from a premise: the premise is that God delivered up Christ for all His people; therefore everything else that is needed by them is sure to be given. There are many examples in Holy Writ of such divine logic.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?Matt. 6:30
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.Rom. 5:10
So here in our text the reasoning is irresistible and goes straight to the understanding and heart.
Our text tells of the gracious character of our loving God as interpreted by the gift of His Son. And this, not merely for the instruction of our minds, but for the comfort and assurance of our hearts. The gift of His own Son is God’s guarantee to His people of all needed blessings. The greater includes the less: His unspeakable spiritual gift is the pledge of all needed temporal mercies. Note:
The Father’s costly sacrifice
This brings before us a side of the truth upon which I fear we rarely meditate. We delight to think of the wondrous love of Christ, whose love was stronger than death, and who deemed no suffering too great for His people. But what must it have meant to the heart of the Father when His Beloved left His heavenly home! God is love, and nothing is as sensitive as love. I do not believe that Deity is emotionless, stoic as represented by the Schoolmen 1of the Middle Ages. I believe the sending forth of the Son was something that the heart of the Father felt – that it was a real sacrifice on His part.
Weigh well, then, the solemn fact that premises the sure promise that follows: God “spared not his own Son”! Expressive, profound, melting words! Knowing full well, as He only could, all that redemption involved: the Law rigid and unbending, insisting upon perfect obedience, and demanding death for its transgressors; justice, stern and inexorable, requiring full satisfaction, refusing to “clear the guilty” (Ex. 34:7). Yet God withheld not the only sacrifice that could meet the case.
God “spared not his own Son,” though knowing full well the humiliation and ignominy of Bethlehem’s manger, the ingratitude of men, the not having where to lay His head, the hatred and opposition of the ungodly, the enmity and bruising of Satan – yet He did not hesitate. God did not relax ought of the holy requirements of His throne, nor abate one whit of the awful curse. No, He spared not His own Son. The utmost farthing was exacted; the last dregs in the cup of wrath must be drained. Even when His Beloved cried from the Garden, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me,” God spared Him not. Even when vile hands had nailed Him to the tree, God cried,
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd.Zech. 13:7
The Father’s gracious design
“But delivered him up for us all.” Here we are told why the Father made such a costly sacrifice: He spared not Christ that He might spare us! It was not lack of love to the Savior, but wondrous, matchless, fathomless love for us! O marvel at the wondrous design of the Most High! “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Verily, such love passes knowledge. Moreover, He made this costly sacrifice not grudgingly or reluctantly, but freely out of love ... He “delivered him up” – to shame and spitting, to hatred and persecution, to suffering and death itself. And He delivered Him up for us – descendants of rebellious Adam, depraved and defiled, corrupt and sinful, vile and worthless! For us who had gone into the “far country” of alienation from Him, and there spent our substance in riotous living (Luke 15:13). Yes, “for us” who had gone astray like sheep, each one turning to “his own way” (Isa. 53:6). For us “who were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” in whom there dwelt no good thing (Eph. 2:3). For us who had rebelled against our Creator, hated His holiness, despised His Word, broken His commandments, resisted His Spirit! For us who richly deserved to be cast into the everlasting burnings and receive those wages that our sins so fully earned (Rom. 6:23).
Yes, for you, fellow Christian, who are sometimes tempted to interpret your afflictions as tokens of God’s hardness, who regard your poverty as a mark of His neglect and your seasons of darkness as evidences of His desertion. O, confess to Him now the wickedness of such dishonoring doubtings, and never again question the love of Him who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.
Faithfulness demands that I should point out the qualifying pronoun in our text. It is not God “delivered him up for all,” but “for us all.” This is definitely defined in the verses that immediately precede. In verse 31, the question is asked, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” The “us” are the high favorites of heaven, the objects of sovereign grace: God’s elect. Yet in themselves they are, by nature and practice, deserving of nothing but wrath. But, thank God, it is “us all” – the worst as well as the best...
The Spirit’s blessed inference
Ponder well the glorious “conclusion” that the Spirit of God here draws from the wondrous fact stated in the first part of our text, “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?” How conclusive and how comforting is the inspired reasoning of the Apostle. Arguing from the greater to the less, he proceeds to assure the believer of God’s readiness also freely to bestow all needed blessings. The gift of His own Son, so ungrudgingly and unreservedly bestowed, is the pledge of every other needed mercy.
Here is the unfailing guaranty and talisman 2of perpetual reassurance to the drooping spirit of the tried believer. If God has done the greater, will He leave the less undone? Infinite love can never change. The love that spared not Christ cannot fail its objects nor begrudge any needed blessings. The sad thing is that our hearts dwell upon what we have not, instead of upon what we do have. Therefore, the Spirit of God would here still our restless self-communings and quiet the repinings of ignorance with a soul-satisfying knowledge of the truth – by reminding us not only of the reality of our interest in the love of God, but also of the extent of that blessing that flows there-from.
Weigh well what is involved in the logic of this verse. First, the great Gift was given unasked; will He not bestow others for the asking? None of us supplicated God to send forth His Beloved, yet He sent Him! (Therefore,) now we may come to the throne of grace and there present our requests in the virtuous and all-efficacious name of Christ.
Second, the one great Gift cost Him much; will He not then bestow the lesser gifts that cost Him nothing save the delight of giving? ... If a loved one made me a present of a precious jewel, would he refuse a little box to carry it in? How much less will He who spared not His own Son withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly (Ps. 84:11)?
Third, the one Gift was bestowed when we were enemies; will not then God be gracious to us now that we have been reconciled and are His friends? If He had designs of mercy for us while we were yet in our sins, how much more will He regard us favorably now that we have been cleansed from all sin by the precious blood of His Son?
The comforting promise
Observe the tense that is used here. It is not “how has he not with him also freely given us all things,” though this is also true, for even now are we “heirs of God” (Rom. 8:17). But our text goes further than this: “How shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The second half of this wondrous verse contains something more than a record of the past: it supplies reassuring confidence both for the present and for the future. No time limits are to be set upon this “shall.” Both now in the present and forever and ever in the future, God shall manifest Himself as the Great Giver. Nothing for His glory and for our good will He withhold. The same God who delivered up Christ for us all is “without variableness or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
Mark the manner in which God gives: “How shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” God does not have to be coaxed. There is no reluctance in Him for us to overcome. He is ever more willing to give than we are to receive. Again, He is under no obligations to any. If He were, He would bestow of necessity, instead of giving “freely.” Ever remember that He has a perfect right to do with His own as He pleases. He is free to give to whom He wills.
The word freely not only signifies that God is under no constraint, but also means that He makes no charge for His gifts, He places no price on His blessings ... no, blessed be His name, God’s gifts are “without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1) – unmerited and unearned.
Finally, rejoice over the comprehensiveness of this promise: “How shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The Holy Spirit would here regale us with the extent of God’s wondrous grant. What is it you need, fellow Christian? Is it pardon? Then has He not said, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)? Is it grace? Then has He not said, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8)? Is it a “thorn in the flesh”? This too will be given: “There was given to me a thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7). Is it rest? Then heed the Savior’s invitation, “Come unto me ... and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Is it comfort? Is He not the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3)?
“How shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Is it temporal mercies that the reader is in need of? Are your circumstances adverse so that you are filled with dismal forebodings? Does your cruse of oil and barrel of meal look as though they will soon be quite empty (1 Kings 17:14-16)? Then spread your need before God, and do it in simple, childlike faith. Think you that He will bestow the greater blessings of grace and deny the lesser ones of Providence? No, “my God shall supply all your need” (Phil. 4:19).
True, He has not promised to give all you ask, for we often ask “amiss.” Mark the qualifying clause: “How shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” We often desire things that would come in between Christ and us if they were granted; therefore does God in His faithfulness withhold them.