He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also freely give us all things?
In a demonstration of Calvary in the Old Testament,
Abraham, likewise, did not spare his only son, but
delivered him up, and in way, received him back
from the dead: “He [Abraham] considered that God
is able to raise people even from the dead, from
which he also received him [Isaac] back as a type.”
Just as Isaac was Abraham’s greatest possession,
so too was Jesus, God’s greatest possession, if you
will, whom God also received back from the dead.
The point is that there is a comparison being made
between the greatest thing, Jesus, and everything else.
Having demonstrated God’s love for the world by
giving it His Son (John 3:16), surely God will give
sufficient enabling grace to believe in Him.
Question: What is God’s greatest gift? His Son or Irresistible Grace?
John Calvin: “Paul therefore draws his argument from the greater to the less--since He had nothing dearer, more precious, or more excellent than His Son, He will neglect nothing which He foresees will be profitable to us.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.184, emphasis mine)
This is a good quote. If God the Father gave us the greatest gift that He could ever give, namely His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, how much more likely is He to give us to infinitely lesser things?
Calvinist, George Whitefield: “Indeed, honoured Sir, it is plain beyond all contradiction that St. Paul, through the whole of Romans 8, is speaking of the privileges of those only who are really in Christ. And let any unprejudiced person read what goes before and what follows your text, and he must confess the word ‘all’ only signifies those that are in Christ. And the latter part of the text plainly proves, what, I find, dear Mr. Wesley will, by no means, grant. I mean the final perseverance of the children of God: ‘He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, [i.e., all Saints] how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?’ (Rom. 8:32). [He shall give us] grace, in particular, to enable us to persevere, and every thing else necessary to carry us home to our Father’s heavenly kingdom.” (A Letter from George Whitefield to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, emphasis mine)
Whitefield’s argument suffers from the commonly held Calvinist hermeneutic rule that if a person is speaking to group-X, he cannot make any statement that might have a wider application that extends throughout Groups A-Z.
I agree that the context deals with those that are in Christ, but you cannot automatically infer that any unqualified universal term, such as “all,” can be reduced to only the audience at hand, since there may be a broader implication as well. A perfect example is Romans 3:23. Do we wish to say that only the Saints have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, since the audience at hand are the Saints?
Romans 3:21-25: “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.”
Consider 1st John 2:2. The Apostle John stated “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins....” By itself, that is still a perfectly true statement, but if you follow the rigid hermeneutic rule of the Calvinist, then we would be forced to conclude that Jesus was the propitiation for only those to whom John was immediately speaking, and yet John goes on to say in the verse: “...and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” With that in mind, reconsider Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also freely give us all things?” Sure, the passage speaks of those who are in Christ, namely, the Group-X in my example, but if the “all” in this verse does not have a wider application that extends to Groups A-Z, then the use of “all” is both irresponsible and misleading, and I do not believe that the Holy Spirit is either of those things.
Calvinist, James White: “And for whom did He do this? The text is clear, ‘for us all.’ The ‘us’ is limited by the context. In the very next phrase we see the same word, ‘us’: ‘How will He not also with Him freely give us all things?’ Have ‘all things’ been given to the reprobate sinners who are even now undergoing the wrath of God? Has Christ been given over for them? Surely not. The Father freely gives ‘all things’ to His people, and the ‘all things’ encompass the ‘spiritual blessings in heavenly places’ of which he speaks in Ephesians 1:3. Christ was given over in place of God’s elect people, and His substitution atonement shows the fullness of the love of God the Father and His commitment to the redemption of His people.” (Debating Calvinism, pp.149-150, emphasis mine)
God’s offer of salvation only applies to the living, so we can set this argument aside. Even Calvinists would have to admit that God’s “Common Grace” no longer applies to those who are cut off in Hell. The question is whether or not, sufficient grace is available to all, if the atonement of Christ is available to all. It seems that the principle of Romans 8:32 is that if God is willing to give His Son, then surely He will not be unwilling to spare something infinitely less, such as the sufficient grace to receive Him. It must also be pointed out, that not every makes right use of God’s sufficient grace, evidenced at Isaiah 65:2.