The Greatest Chapter in the Bible
Adapted from Why I Love the Apostle Paul by John Piper
By John Piper
The greatest chapter in the Bible is Romans 8. Why? Because Romans 8 spells out all that God is for us in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:32 says, “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?” What are the great obstacles between us and everlasting happiness? One obstacle is our sin. We are all sinners (Rom. 3:23), and the wages of that sin is eternal death (Rom. 6:23). Another obstacle is the wrath of God. If God is justly wrathful toward us in our sinful guilt, then we have no hope of everlasting happiness.
When Paul calls Jesus God’s own Son, the point is that there are no others like him, and he is infinitely precious to the Father. The point of Romans 8:32 is that this love of God for his one and only Son was like a massive, Mount Everest obstacle standing between God and our salvation. Here was an obstacle almost insurmountable. Could God—would God—overcome his cherishing, admiring, treasuring, white-hot, infinite, affectionate bond with his Son and hand him over to be lied about and betrayed and denied and abandoned and mocked and flogged and beaten and spit on and nailed to a cross and pierced with a sword, like an animal being butchered and hung up on a rack?
The unthinkable reality that Romans 8:32 affirms is that God did it. He did hand him over. God did not spare him. In this passage Paul is saying the most unthinkable thing: God handed over his Son to death. “This Jesus [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). God himself handed over his Son. Nothing greater or harder has ever happened. Or ever will.
Therefore, God has done the hardest thing to give us everlasting happiness. He did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. What does this guarantee? Paul puts it in the form of a rhetorical question (that means a question he expects us to immediately answer correctly): “how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” “All things” is not a promise of a trouble-free life. Four verses later Paul says, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” (Rom. 8:36) Instead, “all things” means all things we need to be eternally happy in God. Since God did not spare his own Son, all things will work together for our good (8:28), we will be glorified (8:30), and nothing, not even persecution or famine or danger or death, can separate us from the love of God in Christ (8:35-39).
Paul said, “All the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus]” (2 Cor. 1:20). That is because the Father did not spare his Son. He did it so that all things—all these promises—would be absolutely certain for those who trust him. I have fought all the battles of my life with the promises of God—battles against fear and lust and greed and pride and anger. Battles for courage and purity and contentment and humility and peace and love. All of them by the word of God—the promises of God. Behind every one of those battles is the logic of heaven: “I did not spare my own Son; therefore, my promise to you cannot fail. I will help you. Go. Do what I have called you to do.”
This promise isn’t just for me. It’s for anyone who reads it and receives, by faith, Jesus Christ as their Savior, their treasure, their hope, and their joy.
If you want to receive Jesus Christ as your treasure today, thank God right now that you have this desire. It is a wonderful gift. Then call out to him in prayer and tell him what is in your heart. Perhaps with these words:
O God, I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son, and that you have opened the eyes of my heart to see the truth of Christ and my great need for him. I see that I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I see that Christ died for sinners and rose again. I see the wonderful promise that all who believe in Christ receive this forgiveness and eternal life. So I do believe, and I appeal to your mercy to save me from my sin, and welcome me, as you promised, into eternal life with you. Put your Spirit within me, I pray, and give me all the help I need to follow Jesus as Lord, and obey his teachings. Please lead me to a Bible-believing church where I can grow in faith and with others who love Jesus. Amen.