The Measure of the Giving of God

The goodness of God ought to be among our foremost, continual meditations. The Scriptures teach us to meditate on His goodness in the spheres of both creation and redemption. The Lord is constantly giving. He gives to all mankind, “life and breath and all things” (Acts 17:25). We freely receive from His hand daily bread in abundance, homes in which to live, transportation, clothing, medical care, and every conceivable comfort under heaven. As Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). While God “richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17), there is yet a greater manifestation of His goodnes–namely, the giving of His Son. God the Father gave up His infinitely beloved Son to redeem sinners. God has also promised to give believers every other good thing for which they hope for all eternity. Scripture encourages believers to measure the goodness of God in the giving up of His Son in order to assure them of the certainty of every lesser gift He has promised them.

In Romans 8:32, the apostle drew a comparison between God’s greater and lesser gifts. Paul’s focus on the greatness of God’s giving of His Son forms the basis for the further assurance of the inclusion of the lesser gifts–the enjoyment of all things in the age to come. In this verse, Paul brings what is arguably the greater chapter in the greatest book in the Bible to a crescendo. He writes, “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)? There are two glorious truths upon which to meditate in these words. The first is that the Son is the greatest of the gifts of the Father. He is the Father’s infinitely beloved Son. There is nothing in all of creation that compares in any sense whatsoever to the infinite value of the Son. The second is that God assures believers that because He has not withheld the greatest gift of His Son we can rest content that He will not refuse to give us any lesser gifts that are good for us. By these two truths, our hearts and minds are lifted up with gratitude to God for the greatness of His giving. 

The greatness of God’s giving of His Son is understood in a variety of ways. First, we see it in the circumstances surrounding Christ’s birth. Jesus was born at a time of great worldwide Roman taxation (Luke 2:1–7). Sinclair Ferguson has helpfully noted, “Jesus’ birth occurred during a census and taxation in Israel. Men continually take, but God graciously gives.” The “giving” of God is seen by way of contrast to the taking of men. When men levy the heaviest tax from one another, God gives the greatest of His gifts to men. 

Additionally, we discover the greatness of God’s gift of His Son in the person of the Son. Jesus is a divine being. His is the gift of God (John 4:10). The Apostle Paul reveals that “Christ. . .is God over all” (Rom. 9:5) and that “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col. 2:9). The Apostle John tells us that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was toward God and the Word was God. . .All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1–3). The greatness of God’s giving of His Son is also understood in light of the many perfections that accompanied the deity and the sinless humanity of the Son. Jonathan Edwards, in his Wisdom of God, Displayed in the Way of Salvation, explained, 

“It was requisite that the person. . .should be one of infinite dignity and worthiness, that he might be capable of meriting infinite blessings. The Son of God is a fit person on this account. It was necessary, that he should be a person of infinite power and wisdom. For this work is so difficult that it requires such an one. Christ is a fit person also upon this account. It was requisite that he should be a person infinitely dear to God the father, in order to give an infinite value to his transactions in the Father’s esteem, and that the Father’s love to him might balance the offense and provocation by our sins. Christ is a fit person upon this account. Therefore called the beloved (Eph. 1:6), He has made us accepted in the beloved.”

Accordingly, we could concieve of no gift higher or more costly than the gifts of the Father’s offerng up His Son to the cursed death of the cross.. The greatness of God’s gift of His Son is seen in the nature of the work accomplished by the Son. Scripture tells us that Jesus was “holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners” (Heb. 7:26). The sinless one would become the substitutionary sacrifice for sinners. As Paul explains, “He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). The Apostle Peter writes, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). 

All of this should give the believer the greatest confidence in God. If God did not spare His Son but gave Him up for us, we can be assured that there is no good thing of lesser value that God will keep from His children. We can be assured of the eternal goodness of God in bringing about the resurrection, the new heavens and new earth, and eternal joy in the presence of Christ. Reflecting on Paul’s statement in Romans 8:32, John Maclurin–the eighteenth century Scottish Presbyterian minister–wrote, 

“There is a great and obvious difference between the bounty of God and that of man. If a man give all things, he will have nothing himself; but God who gives all things can receive nothing, and can lose nothing. So that after he has given the greatest favor, we may expect any other that we need, or that he can spare, and he can spare all that we need. After giving up his Son to justice, He may justly give us all things. And the apostle’s meaning is, that after that gift, the believer who has an interest in it, may freely indulge the greatest and largest hopes, and may expect every other gift from God till he happen to think of a greater gift than his Son.” 

This truth ought to settle our minds and hearts, when they are disrupted by doubts or fears. God has already given up the greatest gift He could possibly give when He offered up His infinitely valuable Son to the cursed death of the cross for sinners like us. If He gives the greatest, we can be sure that He will not withhold the lesser. Christ is the measure of the greatness of the giving of God and becomes the standard by which believers are assured of the guarantee of God giving us every lesser blessing. 

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