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He Did Not Spare His Own Son

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“HE DID NOT SPARE HIS OWN SON”

Rom 8:31,32 ~ Dec 14th, 2008

We have considered in their setting these two phrases:

            God Sent Forth His Son

            Though He were a Son

Today we consider in a somewhat startled, almost shocked frame of mind this phrase:

            He did not spare His own Son ~ Rm 8:32.

These words are to be found in this sub-section of Romans 8 vv 31-39 which has been described as “magnificent and exalted”.   In commenting on v.31 Erasmus, (writer, scholar, humanist), asked, “What has Cicero ever said more grandiloquently?” In other words, not even the Roman orator rose to such heights of eloquence.

Within the context of this chapter the apostle places before his readers:

            The Provisions of Grace – 8:1-9

            The Path of Godliness – 8:10-17

            The Prospect of Glory – 8:18-25

            The Purpose of God – 8: 26-30

There is much to stir the heart and strengthen the hope of a believer as the sight of heaven is glimpsed from afar, which whilst it is alluring, it can be lost sight of by alarms arising from:

            The Remainder of sin – 8:12,13 ~ put to death the deeds of the body.

            The Rigours of suffering – 8:18 ~ The sufferings of this present time.

There are wars within and wars without. Opposition to the gospel and the grace of God is great. So great at times are the assaults made upon us that we doubt our character as a child of God; we doubt our calling by grace and claim to glory; and we doubt constancy to endure to the end ~ 8:15-17; 28-30; 25.  In order to confirm and comfort the saints with unshakeable assurance, the apostle piles argument upon argument all of which are designed to shift attention from our perceived wretchedness and a persecuting world, so that we may focus upon God.

THE EXCEPTIONAL NATURE OF GOD’S GRACE‘He who did not spare his own Son.’  The statement in the original has an intensive, emphatic ring to it, He surely, who did not spare his own Son. The word translated ‘spare’ in the Greek OT is found in Gen 22:12 ~ you have not withheld your son.  Abraham’s son Isaac was spared, but God did not spare his own son.   Consider his restraint toward Israel:    In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.  Isaiah 63:9 (ASV). But God the Father did not spare his own Son,  that is, one’s own special and precious possession.

 Back in the days of the Great Depression, a Missouri man named John Griffith was the controller of a great railroad drawbridge across the Mississippi River. One day in the summer of 1937, he decided to take his eight-year-old son, Greg, with him to work. At noon, John Griffith put the bridge up to allow ships to pass and sat on the observation deck with his son to eat lunch. Time passed quickly. Suddenly he was startled by the shrieking of a train whistle in the distance. He quickly looked at his watch and noticed it was 1:07--the Memphis Express, with four hundred passengers on board, was roaring toward the raised bridge! He leaped from the observation deck and ran back to the control tower.Just before throwing the master lever he glanced down for any ships below. There a sight caught his eye that caused his heart to leap into his throat. Greg, his son, had slipped from the observation deck and had fallen into the massive gears that operate the bridge. His left leg was caught in the cogs of the two main gears! Desperately John's mind whirled to devise a rescue plan. But as soon as he thought of a possibility, he knew there was no way it could be done in time.Again, with alarming closeness, the train whistle shrieked in the air. He could hear the clicking of the locomotive wheels over the tracks. That was his son down there--yet there were four hundred passengers on the train. John knew what he had to do, so he buried his head in his left arm and pushed the master switch forward. The great massive bridge lowered into place just as the Memphis Express began to roar across the river.John Griffith sacrificed his son to save four hundred passengers on that train. Likewise, God sacrificed His son to save you and me.

THE EXTREME MEASURES OF GOD’S GRACE.  “but delivered him up for us all.”   It is possible that Paul may have Isa 53 rather than Gen 22 in mind, a place in which there is the startling scene of One handed over, of One handed up, of One to whom is handed down a sentence accompanied by stripes, wound and welts, disgrace and death as of One smitten by God and afflicted ~ he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him ~ the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Paul again may have this place in mind when he tells us that Jesus was delivered up because of our offences – Rm 4:25.

            See the Offerer – God the Father. It is the Heavenly Father. Father like he tends and spares us, well our feeble frame he knows. That’s comforting to know isn’t it?  Who would hesitate to hold the hand of Father like that?  See then the Father guiding as it were by the hand His Son ­– He leadeth me! O blessed thought! O words with heavenly comfort fraught! Whate’er I do, Where’er I be, Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me. But where my Father are you leading me? Why are You wearing the vestments of priest?  What offering do You bring? Why, My Father, do You hide Your face from Me?

            See the Offering – God the Son ~ the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. His Only begotten Son, the Son of His love ~ sinless, spotless, stainless, the sacrificial victim who would not be spared. The sword of Justice was no sword of Damocles hanging by a thread, but held in the hand of the Father who plunged its razor-edges into the heart of His Son who was substituted for us.

            See the Offenders – Guilty sinners – for us.  He didn’t spare His Son, because He sought to spare us. The innocent in the place of the guilty. The Holy One in the place of the sinful. In my place condemned He stood. He was the bleeding sacrifice on the altar upon whom the fire of wrath fell.

THE EFFECTUAL GUARANTEES OF GOD’S GRACE . ‘How shall he not with him also freely give us all things.”        If God has given the greater will He not give the lesser?   Remember the “all things” of v.28.  Crosses are not losses. 

GOD IS FOR US ~ IN THE COUNSEL OF ETERNITY

GOD IS FOR US ~ ON THE CROSS OF SHAME & SCOFFING RUDE

GOD IS FOR US ~ IN THE COURT OF HEAVEN

GOD IS FOR US ~ IN THE CONQUEST OF DIVINE LOVE

GOD IS FOR US ~ IN THE CONSOLATIONS OF HIS WORD AND COMMUNION OF THE SPIRIT WHO CONVEYS TO OUR SOULS THE PROVISONS OF GRACE AND TO SUSTAIN THE PILGRIM PLODDING NEARER HOME.      

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