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

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in Romans 8:32


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.]

[Notes: Brown presents an alternative reading of this text. It should be kept in mind that the original Chrysostom-Calvin interpretation is an equally (if not more) viable interpretation. Building on Brown’s statement, what is key here is that this is not a passage that speaks to, or delimits the extent of the satisfaction.]

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