One of my favorite verses is 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?
It reminds me of God’s love and commitment to me. It gives me hope in gospel blessings. It’s a verse that provides a lot of comfort. God almighty is for me. He’s proved it in the gospel.
But, when life is hard that message becomes more difficult to believe. Trials can erode my sense of God’s commitment. There have been times where things didn’t work out how I would have preferred and I’ve thought, “all things, huh?” Where are all those blessings? Where is God’s commitment to me?
Maybe you’ve wondered the same thing?
But, hang on… where in verse 32, does it say that “all things” are GOOD things? Sometimes we assume that’s what it means, but we shouldn’t. If we work our way backwards through Romans 8, we’ll find the phrase “all things” again. Romans 8:28 famously says that “for those who love God all things work together for good.” There, we are being taught that even difficult or evil things will be turned to our ultimate good by our sovereign God. Even evil is in God’s power to turn to our benefit. It doesn’t say that all things are blessings. It says that God can and will use them for our good.
If we go back a little further, we’ll see why verse 28 gives that encouragement. Verse 17 says that every child of God will suffer in this life before glory. Suffering then glory was also the pattern of Jesus’s life. Should we expect something different than our Lord (cf. 1 Peter 2:21)? Verse 18 and following is about creation groaning because sin.
Actually, this chapter is all about struggle with sin. It’s about futility and dysfunction. God gave us Romans 8 so that we won’t doubt him or be disillusioned when things don’t work out the way we wished. God offers us the comfort that even sufferings, indeed, all things, will work together for good for those who love God.
In verse 32, God assures of his total commitment to us––that “he who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all” … (now I’ll paraphrase) … “there is no limit to what he’ll give us in his grace…. He’ll give us all things.” But, “all things” in context is referring to suffering and glory. It’s referring to the things that are obviously blessings, but also to the trials that God sends our way. Even those trials are grace, says verse 32.
How could that be true?
Because “all things” work together for good for those who love God. It’s true for the same reason that James 1 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
God has proved his commitment. He delivered up Jesus for our salvation.
Far from allowing hardships to suggest that God isn’t for us, we should see that he also gives those to us, because he’s gracious. He gives them because he wants us to be steadfast, immovable, and committed to him.