by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 2 May 13, 2008 Lincolnton, N.C.
(402)Thesis:The Father's Gift is the standard for our expectations.
Introduction:In our look, last week, at the issue in Romans 8:31 regarding Paul's declaration that God is "for us", we focused on two things: first, Paul's intentional terminology regarding the inevitability of God's determination; and, second, Paul's meaning of "for us". No one can defeat "God" in His purpose because it is backed by omnipotence. And, God's purpose "for us" means that we are going to possess what He has intended. In that study we attempted to show that the "for us" phrase boils down to the final reality of Joy.
It is a mistake for us to think in terms of "final realities" in the present. They are our hope, not our current experience. But, Paul's words in 8:32 bring the issue of our expectations back into focus and, this evening, we are going to give some thought to what he wrote. It seems obvious that Paul wanted his readers to develop some expectations based upon the most critical action of God in respect to us; the giving of His own Son. But, because our lives on a daily basis are wrapped up in our "expectations" there may not be a greater factor of present experience than legitimate expectation.
So, what should we expect and why?
I. The Extent of the Commitment of the Father.
A. The greatest measure of "grace giving": His own Son.
1. This is a potent human reality that addresses the Father's "situation" in terms that most people can grasp: one's "own son" brings the issue of "sacrifice" to the forefront.
2. There is the "problem" of just what the Father actually "gave up".
a. In men's eyes, the question arises because of a quick resurrection and Father/Son reunion.
b. When an earthly father gives up a son, the loss is followed, typically, by years of loss and, in the case of sinners, no reunion.
3. The answer exists.
a. It exists in the reality of God's character.
1) God is not free from His own experiential reality which has no "memory loss", or "fading impact".
2) Whatever the nature of the "loss" was, it is not "over".
b. It exists in spite of the ignorance of man.
1) Even if there is such a thing as an experience being "over" for God, there is no standard of measure for the "loss" in any case: How can a man understand what God endures, given His infinity?
2) Even if God "only" experiences a "loss" for a second, or two, what man is there that can tell us what that experience has cost God?
a) If, as Peter says, "with God a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day", what standard of measure does any man have who cannot grasp Peter's meaning?
b) With God a "pin prick" is as a "blow torch to one's eye", or a "slap to the face" is as a "crushing of one's bones with a sledge hammer".
3) Who is there among men who can really tell us what God's "giving of His own Son" means?
c. Only one thing is sure: whatever it means, it is worse than anything any man has ever experienced (actually, than every man collectively has experienced).
4. The fact is this: God chose to use man's "own son" experience to attempt to give men some way to identify with the Gift.
a. Since the Gift included a death sufficient to provide propitiation for Justice for all of the sins of all of humanity over all of Time, and we know that Eternal Retribution is the final experience of every man who rejects his redemption, we know that whatever the Father endured in the Gift of His Son, it was greater than the combined weight of Eternal Retribution for each person who has ever lived under the Justice of God.
b. Those for whom relationships are not important cannot "get" this.
B. The greatest reality of "grace giving": He did not spare Him; He "handed Him over".
1. The word "delivered" is the very word used of Judas in Matthew 10:4.
a. Judas "handed Him over" to the Jewish authorities; the Father "handed Him over" to those same authorities ... with a very significant difference: Judas did it for personal gain; the Father did it as a huge loss.
1) There was "gain" in the minds of both, but the "minds" were significantly different.
2) The Father sought to "gain" lost human beings because of their need; Judas sought to "gain" monetary wealth with absolutely no thought to the issues of lost human beings.
3) The One gave Himself into poverty; the other sought to give Another to increase his wealth.
b. That everyone has an "agenda" in their doings does not make all "doings" equal.
2. The word "spared" is used consistently in the New Testament to refer to "omitting" someone/something from the processes involved.
a. "Not spared" refers to situations where certain entities are going to be included in something painful and the one under specific consideration is not allowed to escape those painful things for any reason.
b. We are "spared" because He was not.
C. The greatest objective of "grace giving": our deliverance (the "for us" phrase).
D. The greatest encouragement of "grace giving": it establishes the "standard" for all subsequent behavior.
1. The foundation of the giving is "grace" -- the mixture of Love and Power exercised in "substitutionary" ways.
2. The extent of the giving -- it includes "all things".
a. This is where the entire issue can go "murky" if we are confused about whence, and how, Life comes.
b. Peter says He has given to us "all things that pertain to Life and godliness".
1) This would have to mean that He does not give anything that pertains to Death and wickedness.
2) Since men have always confused Life and Death and godliness and wickedness, the "all things" becomes a matter of sometimes heated debate and downright unbelief.
3) Consequently, what Paul wrote in this text and what he meant by it needs to be clearly grasped so that we do expect what we ought to expect and we do not expect what we ought not to expect.
c. In light of this confusion, there cannot be much debate about just how confusing the issues of our experience are in this world.