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?
The subject of this verse is God the Father and His role in our redemption.
I am writing two days after 18 year old Emma Raducanu won the U.S Open Tennis Championship in New York. Her success was phenomenal as she became the first British woman in 44 years to win a Grand Slam Singles title. She did this without even losing a set also becoming the first qualifier to win a major title. I was impressed by her comments afterwards when she emphasised the importance of her team and how dependent she was on them. Emma admitted she would not have achieved success apart from them (although she has since made the strange decision of sacking her coach!).
The illustration has its weaknesses but it helps at least to point to the Trinity, for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were all involved together as a perfect team when the Son entered this world, lived here for thirty-three years before dying for our sin on the cross, then raised triumphantly from the dead ascending to heaven as Victor. The Father was heavily involved with the Son in saving us as was the Holy Spirit. There is unity, intimacy, love, and life eternally shared by each person in the Trinity and which was expressed in their action for our salvation.
What then was the role of the Father in our salvation? The Bible tells us that before the creation of the world, the Father chose many sinners to be saved (Ephesians 1:4) while he also appointed his Son to be the Saviour (1 Peter 1:20). The Father also prepared the Lord’s human nature for his incarnation and did this through the agency of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:5, Luke 1:35). He also fellowshipped with the Son throughout his ministry here (John 5:19, 30, 12:27-32), declaring his delight in his Son in his baptism and transfiguration (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). Again, it was the Father who punished his Son on the Cross and delivered him to die in our place (Isaiah 53:6, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Acts 2:22-24) and then raising him from the dead. The Father also ‘draws’ sinners to Christ (John 6:44). These are only a few of the things the Father does in the scheme of salvation, added to His providential care for his people (Matthew 6:25-34) and the way he directs all things for our ‘good‘ (Romans 8:28).
Yes, the Lord Jesus’s success and triumph for our redemption was wonderful, costly and necessary in God’s loving plan to save us. That sacrifice and victory must not be minimised in any way. Remember, however, the Saviour’s work was undertaken in fellowship with, and dependence on both the Father and the Holy Spirit. Here in this verse, the apostle Paul highlights for us the Father’s role which was extremely costly – I fear too often that he is ‘the forgotten Father’ in our thinking and teaching.
These are things that should make us wonder as we give glory and praise to the Father as well as to the Son and the Holy Spirit! Next time we’ll consider the Father’s costly love.
Dr Eryl Davies (Heath Church Cardiff)