“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)
Do you dote on your children? What won’t parents sacrifice to give their children the best? Look at the time parents give up to shuttle their children from soccer practice to dance rehearsals to piano lessons, and then to games and recitals. I know parents who have paid tens of thousands of dollars every year to send their children to the grade school of their choice. Then there are the toys and electronic gadgets and outings to amusement parks we lavish on them. There is little we spare to benefit our children.
Jesus once observed that we do this even though we are basically selfish and evil. “Who of you, if your son asks for bread will give him a stone, or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children…” Generally speaking, we want to look out for number one. But when it comes to our children, we are willing to put ourselves second to give them what is best, even into adulthood. There is little we would spare to help our children.
How dearly God must love us, then, to spare his Son no evil, to spare not even his own Son’s life, to save us and make us his own! What heavenly advantage did the Father not strip away from Jesus when he sent him into this world? He replaced a glorious throne with a stinking stable and a prickly hay manger. He concealed unlimited power under a weak and vulnerable infant’s body. He replaced endless worship from the angels with death threats and ridicule and betrayal and denial and condemnation by creatures not worthy to grovel at his feet.
But all of that pales in comparison to making his holy Son dirty with our sins, and letting him agonize in our hell, and making him a corpse with our death. When we consider just how far the Father went in not sparing his own Son, it almost makes Cinderella’s wicked stepmother look kind by comparison. But God is no wicked stepfather. The difference lies in this perfect Son’s willingness, even eagerness, to go along with his Father’s plan.
Why? Why would the Father do that to his only Son? “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all…” He gave him up for us all. He did not spare his own Son because in the infinite depth of his love he was not willing to lose us. He so valued us, so desired to have us back, that there was no limit to the price he would pay. And there was no greater price he could have paid than the one he did pay. He did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all.
This isn’t mere abstract theology to be pondered theoretically, a hobby for those who find that kind of thing interesting, a theology that has little impact on our hearts or lives. Christmas changes everything. Good Friday changes everything. Easter changes everything. “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?” God gives us all things. In poverty we are still rich. Terminal diseases are no longer terminal. Even when they bring us to death, that is no longer our termination. God denies us nothing that will truly serve us. He gives us all things.
We may think our expectations of God are too high. Actually, they are too low. We are ready to settle for a few cheap trinkets when God wants to give us real treasures. The gift of God’s Son brings true treasure into focus. In Jesus our Lord has given us all things.