The Father’s LoveNovember 17, 2017
by John Murray
Enjoy this brief excerpt from John Murray’s sermon on Romans 8:32. Order O Death, Where Is Thy Sting? today to read more from the first full collection of Professor Murray’s sermons and prayers.
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He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
The death of Christ upon the accursed tree is the supreme exhibition of the love of Christ. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (Eph 5:25). Christ laid down his life for the sheep because he loved them with such intensity that no obstacle could quench his love (John 10:15). But as we are thinking of the death of Christ upon the accursed tree, we must not so focus attention upon the love of Christ that we overlook the action of God the Father. It is not as if the Son of God gave himself to this undertaking while the Father turned away his face until the ordeal was ended and then received Christ into the bosom of his love again. No, the events of Gethsemane, the events of the arraignment before the High Priest and before Pilate, and the events of Golgotha, were events in which God the Father was intensely involved. Calvary is also the supreme exhibition of the Father’s love.
And it is upon the love of God the Father that the emphasis falls in this particular text. Only of the Father is the Lord Jesus Christ the Son, and thus only of the Father can the apostle be speaking when he says, “He that spared not his own Son.” There are four features of the text upon which we will dwell: first, the uniqueness of the person; second, the extremity of the sacrifice; third, the particularity of the provision; and finally, the guarantee of grace.
So, first, we have the uniqueness of the person. Jesus called God his own Father (John 5:18), which means that no other but the Father stood in this relation to Jesus the Son. Likewise, Paul, in this text, calls Jesus “his own Son,” meaning that no other stands in this unique relation to the Father.
So, in the agony of the garden and the abandonment of Calvary’s tree, our Lord was the unique object of the Father’s love because he was the Father’s own Son fulfilling the Father’s unparalleled commission.
God the Father, of course, has many sons by adoption, but the revelation that God has given us does not permit any confusion to exist between the sonship of the only begotten and the sonship of the adopted. The highest privilege bestowed upon men is to be adopted into the family of God, to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. God will bring to glory all the sons whom he has appointed to that destiny. They will be conformed to the image of God’s own Son that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29). But however high is the privilege bestowed in adoption, there is no confusion in the Scripture between the uniqueness of the sonship that belongs to the only begotten and the sonship that belongs to the adopted. No other but the eternal Son is the Father’s own Son. His is an ineffable and incomparable sonship, as we have discovered in our studies of the last two days. When the Son of God came into the world, there was no suspension of this unique sonship, this eternal sonship. The glory of the Word made flesh, which the disciples beheld, was the glory of the only begotten from the Father, and the revelation of the Father dispensed by him was revelation dispensed by the only begotten. How eloquently John 1:14 and 18 testify to these facts!
Since there was no suspension of this ineffable fatherhood or sonship, there was no suspension of the love that the Father bore to the Son or that the Son bore to the Father. As incarnate, Jesus said, “The Father loveth the Son,” and he also said, “I love the Father” (John 3:35, 5:20, 14:31). These very simple statements point to an infinitude of reciprocal love—love not constrained by ignorance nor quenched by knowledge, but love that is drawn out by the exclusive and exhaustive knowledge that the persons have of each other.
The Son came to do the Father’s will. He came because he loved the Father, and the Father sent him because there was no other who could fulfill such a mission. And throughout all the stages of Jesus’s messianic task, until his work reached its climax in his death upon the cross, the love of God the Father flowed out to him with increasing satisfaction and delight. That is Jesus’s own witness: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again” (John 10:17). It is, of course, necessary to distinguish between that infinite love that flows out from the Father to the Son because of the intrinsic relationship that they sustain to one another and the love of satisfaction that flowed out with increasing intensity to the Son because of his fulfillment of the Father’s commission. So, in the agony of the garden and the abandonment of Calvary’s tree, our Lord was the unique object of the Father’s love because he was the Father’s own Son fulfilling the Father’s unparalleled commission. . . .
Why Believe in God Despite Evil in the World?November 15, 2017
by Scott Oliphint