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? (Rom. 8:32)
Inquisitive and tender, vivacious and loyal—that is how I’d describe my son and daughter respectively. They’re both intelligent and fun, undoubtedly two of the greatest gifts the Lord has given my husband and me.
We couldn’t love them more—which is why the stories of Abraham and Isaac and the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus are absolutely remarkable to me.
I just can’t imagine offering up my kids for anyone or for anything.
Imagine longing for the gift of a child, waiting patiently year after year, only to have your hopes disappointed. (For some of you, this isn’t hard to imagine, because you are currently experiencing that ache in your heart.) That was Abraham and Sarah’s experience for many decades, despite the fact that God had promised them offspring. But then, well into their old age, their son Isaac was born (Gen. 17:19–22; 21:1–7). They were both overjoyed—until God told Abraham to take Isaac and offer him as a burnt offering (Gen. 22:1–2).
What a scary thing to be asked to do! I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have done it. But Abraham set out to obey God. He took Isaac up on a mountain, prepared to make the sacrifice, and was just about to kill Isaac when an angel of the Lord told him to stop (22:12). The angel directed Abraham to a ram as a substitute sacrifice (22:13), and Isaac’s life was spared.
Can you imagine what life would have been like for Abraham and Sarah if Abraham had actually had to sacrifice Isaac? We know, because God tells us that they loved Isaac greatly, so we can imagine the loss would have been devastating. Abraham was a God-fearing man, but he was still a man and would surely have mourned for the rest of his life.
But Abraham didn’t have to give up his son Isaac. God spared him that. And yet God had an eternal plan to sacrifice his own Son for the sin of the world, and he didn’t spare either himself or Jesus.
It was a wrenching moment. Just before he died on the cross, Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). His Father could no longer be in his presence because Jesus had taken our place and become “sin who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). This was the ultimate sacrifice.
To add salt to the Savior’s wounds, Jesus didn’t die for friends, for people who loved him, or for the godly. Instead, he willingly died for wretched sinners:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:6–8)
In view of this great sacrifice, Paul asks an important rhetorical question in Romans 8:32: “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?” There is no greater sacrifice than for a parent to give up a child—nothing. If God was willing to sacrifice his Son for us, why would we ever doubt anything else that God says or does? Why would we not trust his promise to give us “all things”?
Although I do believe that “all things” in our text refers to both physical and spiritual provision, I’d caution us not to assume that God is going to provide everything we want. Second Peter 1:3 clarifies this point a little by telling us that God’s power has “granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” In other words, God will provide all we need, and ultimately what we need most is a right relationship with God. That’s exactly what God has provided through his Son. There is nothing we need that hasn’t already been accomplished for us. Hallelujah!
You and I may sometimes have to fight to believe this truth. It’s easy to say, but not to live out. We may sometimes need to pray, as yet another loving father once cried out to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). And the Lord understands. He knows we sometimes struggle to believe him, which is why he reminds us repeatedly through his Word to rest in the work that he has done. It’s as if he is saying to us, “Come on! I have done what you could never do, and isn’t that enough?”
It’s enough. It’s more than enough. May we be people who respond in gratitude and proclaim with confidence: “If God is for us”—and sent his only Son to die on a cross on our behalf—“who can be against us?”