Archive for the ‘Romans 8:32’ Category


(6.25) But are you afraid of the uncertain twists of life and the plots of the adversary? You have the help of God, you have His great liberality, so great that He did not spare His own Son on your behalf.1 Scripture made use of a beautiful expression to proclaim the holy purpose toward you of God the Father, who offered His Son to death. The Son could not feel death’s bitterness, because He was in the Father; for Himself He gave up nothing, on your behalf He offered everything. In the fullness of His divinity2 He lost nothing, while He redeemed you. Think upon the Father’s love. It is a matter of His goodness that He accepted the danger, so to speak, to His Son, who was going to die, and in a manner drained the sorrowful cup of bereavement, so that the advantage of redemption would not be lost to you. The Lord had such mighty zeal for your salvation that He came close to endangering what was His, while He was gaining you. On account of you He took on our losses, to introduce you to things divine, to consecrate you to the things of heaven. Scripture said, too, in a marvelous fashion, "He has delivered him for us all,"3 to show that God so loves all men that He delivered His most beloved Son for each one. For men, therefore, He has given the gift that is above all gifts; is it possible that He has not given all things in that gift? God, who has given the Author of all things,4 has held back nothing.

(6.26) Therefore, let us not be afraid that anything can be denied us. We ought not have any distrust whatever over the continuance of God’s generosity. So long and continuous has it been, and so abundant, that God first predestined us and then called us. Those whom He called, He also justified; those whom He justified, He also glorified.5 Can He abandon those whom He has honored with His mighty benefits even to the point of their reward? Amid so many benefits from God, ought we to be afraid of certain plots of our accuser? But who would dare to accuse those who, as he sees, have been chosen by the judgment of God? God the Father Himself, who has bestowed His gifts-can He make them void? Can He exile from His paternal love and favor those whom He took up by way of adoption? But fear exists that the judge may be too harsh-think upon Him that you have as your judge. For the Father has given every judgment to Christ.6 Can Christ then condemn you, when He redeemed you from death and offered Himself on your behalf, and when He knows that your life is what was gained by His death? “Will He not say, ‘What profit is there in my blood,’7 if I condemn the man whom I myself have saved?" Moreover, you are thinking of Him as a judge; you are not thinking of Him as an advocate. But can He give a sentence that is very harsh when He prays continually that the grace of reconciliation with the Father be granted us?

Ambrose, “Jacob and the Happy Life” in, Seven Exegetical Works, trans. Michael P. McHugh (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1972), 135-136. [Underlining mine; footnote values modified; footnote content original.]


1Cf. Rom. 8.32.
2Cf. Col. 2.9.
3Rom. 8.32.
4Cf. Ibid.
5Cf. Rom. 8.30.
6Cf. John 5.22.
7Ps. 29 (30).10.


John Brown of Broughton (1784-1858) on Romans 8:32

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


The premise is, “God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.” The expression “spared not,” is plainly borrowed from Gen. xxii. 12, where it is used to express Abraham’s readiness to offer up Isaac in sacrifice at the command of God. The purport of the apostle’s argument restricts the words “us all,” to all justified by believing. This is not one of the passages in which the general reference of the atonement is stated. Us all, plainly refers to those predestinated, and called, and justified, and glorified. The whole discussion refers to them only. God spared not His Son–His own Son–a person one in nature with Himself, and infinitely dear to Him. He spared Him not; He did not withhold Him; He did not refuse to allow Him to undertake our apparently hopeless cause. There is here what grammarians call a negative phrase with a positive meaning. He spared Him not, is equivalent to, He freely gave Him. Some have supposed that the phrase refers not only to the free gift of the Son to be the Savior, by the Father as the God of all grace, but also to the Father’s not dealing, as righteous judge, more gently with Him in the character of the victim for human guilt, than if He had not been His own Son. As it has been expressed, “He not only did not spare Him from being a sufferer, but He did not spare Him when He suffered.” This is a truth, but it may be questioned whether the phrase means so much. It is implied, however, in the second clause, “He delivered Him up for us all.” He devoted Him to be a sacrifice for the sins of men: “God so loved the world, that He gave His Son to be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.” He was “delivered for our offences”–devoted as a sacrifice in our room, for the salvation of all the justified ones.

The conclusion from this premise is, “God will freely with Him give us all things;” that is, God will, in connection with Him, give us, without desert on our part, freely–in the exercise of abundant grace on His part, all things that are necessary for our happiness.

John Brown, Analytical Exposition of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1857, 256-257. [Some spelling modernized; footnote values modified to run consecutively; italics original; and underlining mine.]

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Object. VIII. From such places of Scripture as argue and infer salvation and actual benefits, such as reprobates never enjoy, from the Death of Christ, and they are Isa. liii:11, “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities.” If therefore he bear the Sins of any he will certainly justify them, or else we must argue the Holy Ghost of inconsequence, Rom. v. 8, 9, 10, “If while we were Enemies we were reconciled by the death of his Son: much more being now reconciled, shall we not be saved by his life?” Where Christ’s death and reconciliation, and Salvation are inseparably connected, Rom. viii. 32. “He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?” But all things are not given to reprobates, therefore neither is Christ delivered to die for them. And ver. 34, “Who shall condemn? It is Christ that died.” It would therefore seem that Christ only died for those who are justified, who shall not be condemned, who shall be saved by his life, so that if Christ had died for all any manner of way, they should certainly be saved, justified and enjoy all other things with him.

Answ. (1.) As to the place Isa. liii. 11, it is denied that it is illative and argumentative in the original language, nor is it so rendered by the best Hebraists, such as Buxtorff, Bythner or Robison, for it may very well be read thus, “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; And he shall bear their iniquities.” Not (for) he shall bear their iniquities; and so it only says that Christ did bear the iniquities of his people and justify them, which because copulated together are no more of equal extent, then are creation and particular effectual vocation knit together in Isa. xliii. 1, than death in sins and trespasses and quickening with Christ are of equal extent copulated together in Eph. ii. 1, and you will no more from such a connection infer that it’s only justified persons whose iniquities Christ bare; then that it is only justified persons that did like sheep go astray, for these are they whose iniquities Christ bare, Isa liii. 4, 5, 6, so all that like Sheep have gone astray should be likewise justified by just such another consequence.

(2.) But suppose the words are illative and that the words were rightly translated, “for he shall bear their iniquities,” yet will not this infer that all these whose iniquities Christ bears shall certainly be justified because it is an argument taken from an inadequate cause and effect, and supposes it’s other causes. It is true Christ must die for all that are justified, but this is not the all, or the adequate cause of their justification, for it is required that they believe as an instrumental cause without which they cannot be justified, tho’ Christ’s blood is the only and adequate meritorious and material cause of justification; and because Christ’s death is necessary to justification. Therefore, it being existent and other causes supposed, as it is in Rom. v. 4, 5, 6, expressly, and emphatically in Rom. viii. 32, that it is supposing we believe, hence it may be argued from the death of Christ to justification. I will show you the like instance in Rom. xi. 23, they shall be grafted in if they abide not in unbelief, “for God is able.” Here the apostle reasons from God’s power to his actual grafting in of the Israelites, yet it will not follow that all whom God is able to bring in to Christ shall he brought in; tho’ indeed the power of God was one necessary cause, and hence it is argued from, for he is able to do many things he will never do, nor that we have ground to believe he will do. Therefore tho in the aforesaid Scriptures, both Isaiah and Romans, it be argued from Christ’s death to justification, yet will it not follow, that therefore all for whom Christ died shall be justified, but with a supposition of other causes, viz., if they for whom Christ died abide not in their unbelief, as it is in Rom. xi. 23, expressed, and understood Rom. viii. 32.

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Limited Atonement and the Argument from Romans 8:32.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Preliminary Remarks:1

Roughly speaking, the core argument here takes on the following lines.

1) All for whom Christ died, Salvation is effectually applied.

2) Salvation is not effectually applied to all men.

3) Therefore, Christ did not die for all men.

For the argument to be sound, the first premise must be established. However, if it cannot, then the conclusion cannot be obtained.

To that end, Romans 8:32 is the often adduced in support for the first premise.

However, the first fundamental problem with using Romans 8:32 to prove the first premise is the problem of unjustified term conversion. The subject of verse either represents the elect as a class, or believers as a class (i.e., believing elect). Thus, Paul says either,

4) All the believers, for whom Christ was given, will be given all things.


5) All the elect, for whom Christ was given, will be given all things.

Either 4) or 5) are justifiable readings of the verse.

What we can know is that the text is not saying:

6) All for whom Christ is given (and that in any sense), will be given all things.

There is nothing in the text or context which entails this interpretation.

It is this term conversion which is the false and unjustified move in the mechanic of this argument for limited atonement.

Paul is speaking assurance to believers (or the elect as a class), such that, “As Christ is given to us who believe, how much more can we who believe be assured that he will  not also give us all things in him?”

Paul is not asserting the general proposition, nor do his words entail: “All for whom Christ died, Salvation is effectually applied.”

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