All Things for the New Year

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“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Romans 8.32)?

Assuredly, we want to begin 2016 with confidence and to live it victoriously.  Confidence for the year ahead is based upon God’s goodness extended to us in a singular event.  Specifically, it is rooted in the fact that God did not spare Jesus Christ, His own Son.  Instead, He delivered Him up for us all. 

God delivered His Son up for us even before we became children of God:   while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Our situation was desperate.  Our hearts were desperately wicked.  We could not earn the grace of God.  We did not deserve the grace of God.  And yet God did not spare His own Son. 

What does the Bible mean when it states that God did not spare His own son?  It means that God did not prevent His wrath from being poured out fully upon His Son.  The wrath of God for the sin of mankind was poured out in full measure upon Jesus Christ in order fully satisfy the Father.  Jesus was not spared. 

This was done for us all.  Which means it was done for every person that has ever lived or ever will live, but it was done especially for those who believe (1 Timothy 4.10).  And those who believe are in view as you read Romans 8.

Jesus became a man so that the Son of God could die for the sin of all mankind as the Second Adam.  God loved us so much that He delivered Jesus up for us all.  He didn’t spare Him. 

Jesus was delivered up because of our offenses (cp. w/ Romans 4.25a).  God is not willing that any person should perish but that every person should come to repentance ….that every person should have a change of mind when it comes to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (2 Peter 3.9).  God desires that once we trust in Christ, we continue to to trust in Him.  This leads to a change of direction in our lives.  We turn from self and run toward Christ.

Jesus did not come to primarily teach us an ethical system or how to be morally good and right.  He was delivered up by the Father as the propitiation for our sins and for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2.2). 

Jesus was delivered up for us all.  But not all people benefit by this great Gift.  Yet the Gift of Jesus’ redemption is sufficient for us all.  To deny this is to say that God’s gift is insufficient.  But, of course, nothing God gives is insufficient.  If a person will not receive the gift of God through faith, they will not be able to say that God did not extend His love and mercy toward them.  The LORD God asks, “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die ….and not that he should turn from his ways and live” (Ezekiel 18.23)?  The answer to this rhetorical question is that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  God desires repentance and faith from all. 

Any person who desires acceptance with God through the person and work of Jesus Christ may have it.  That person may be assured that Jesus Christ was delivered up for them.  This is the teaching of the Word of God.  If you are reading this, you too, can receive the gift of God.  You too can trust alone in the death of Jesus Christ for all your sin …you can trust in the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day for your justification (Romans 4.25).  Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2.8-9).  My hope is that you are not only aware of these facts, but that you are depending upon them. 

But it is the latter portion of this verse that is captivating for the coming year:

“How shall He [God the Father] not with Him [Jesus Christ the Son] also freely give us all things?”

We can get very confused by statements such as these.  God loves His children too much to give them everything they want; however, God gives them everything they need, and I do mean everything.  If we need a lot of money, God will give it to us.  If we need a father, God will give him to us.  If we need a brother, a sister, or a mother, God will raise one up.  There is not anything that we need that God will not give.

But notice the adverb freely.  God will freely give us all things.  I don’t need to send Him a seed-gift through some other mediator.  I don’t have to practice extortion or go into debt to freely get all I need from God.  Actually, God is more willing to give than I am to ask.  Sometimes God gives even when I fail to ask.  What a humbling experience that is!  God freely gives to us all things.  Therefore we ought to make 2016 a year when we ask for all things. 

The greatest gift God ever gave me was the gift of His only Son.  It only makes sense that He will give me the gifts that are smaller and lesser in value than the salvation of my eternal soul.  God will not forget you, leave you, or forsake you this year.  Believe it.  It would be absurd for you to not believe it.  God will not act contrary to His giving nature.  He is God. 

I leave you with three thoughts for the year ahead:

  1. Since there is not greater gift than God’s Son, then “thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9.15)! 
  2. Since no one is worthy of such a gift, then let’s all open our mouths wide knowing God will fill them (Psalm 81.10). 
  3. Since God will freely give us all things “with Him” (that is, with Christ), then let us approach God’s throne with Christ as our Advocate.  Paul writes, “All things are yours …all are yours.  And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3.21-23).   

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

Resolve to Adore Christ This Year

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame.  Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it.  If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised.  -Song of Solomon 8.6-7

Many believe that the LORD is not mentioned by name in the Song of Solomon.  But if you read the verses above in a NKJV, you will find a marginal notation.  Mine explains that the phrase, “A most vehement flame” in v. 6 is literally A flame of Yah, or a poetic form of YHWH, the LORD.  

The primary application of the Song of Solomon is physical intimacy in marriage.  However, many of the older commentators applied the book to the church’s relationship with Christ.  Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on the Song of Solomon is replete with these parallels.

It is true that we are reading the church back into the Song of Solomon because it was written some 900 years before the church was established.  But I believe there is warrant for us to do so when we consider Ephesians 5.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

-Ephesians 5.26-27

So I am applying these verses in a secondary way as we consider the new year.  Not as a wife to a husband but as a church to Christ.  I would ask that you look to your Savior at the beginning of 2013 and make one resolution and one affirmation.

Resolve to be the object of Christ’s affections and continual care (8.6).  Affirm that you cannot bear the thought of having less than a supreme unalterable love for Christ (8.6-7).

Our New Year’s Resolution

“Set me as a seal upon Your heart, as a seal upon Your arm.”  This is a two-fold seal.  A medallion over the heart is akin to a locket with the picture of someone you love.  It is worn on a necklace close to your heart.  The seal on the arm is visible.  It is something that tells the world that I belong to Him.  The wedding band is useful for this purpose in our culture.

We cry out to our Lord that we are resolved to be close to His heart and we desire that He keep us visibly before Him and the Heavenly Host.  What better way than to make manifest the scars from His death on the cross.  They will be visible for all to see when He returns in the revelation of His glory.  All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him (Rev 1.7).

Is Christ close to your heart?  Is He the object of your adoration?  His love is as strong as death for you.  Seems odd to say this, but when we pause to think about how death is irreversible, it makes sense.  We can do nothing to call a love one back from the grave.  And the pain and sorrow that causes is terrible.  But the love Christ has for His bride, the Church, is irreversible as well.  Nothing can take us from Him.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one.

-John 10.27-30

Our prayer should include adoration such as calling to God to set us as a seal upon heart and arm.  We should express our delight in His unchanging and unwavering love for us.  While a wife yearns for the love and devotion of her husband, it is infinitely more important that we yearn for the love and devotion of our Savior – even though we have it.

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands…” (Isaiah 49:16)  Open your mouth wide this year, and God will fill it.  Ask what you will, and it shall be done for you.  Resolve to be the object of Christ’s affections and continual care!

Our New Year’s Affirmation

The text goes on to tell us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave for us as the bride of Christ.  There is no escape.  It is like a devouring fire.  Our God is a consuming fire!  We remain unsatisfied with where we are and who we are.  We yearn for the day when we are with Him.  It is a flame which cannot be quenched or satisfied until we see Him!

Many waters cannot quench our love for Him.  The floods cannot put out the flame He has ignited in our hearts.  If an exchange were made for wealth, such love would be despised.  But our God’s love is unchanging!

Let me challenge you to set your hearts and your adoration upon Christ this year.  Count all things loss for the knowledge of Him.  Don’t allow the floods of persecution, trial, sickness, or sorrow drown it.  Love the LORD Jesus Christ!

All your security and happiness depend upon the unchanging love that God has for you.  God is love!