I asked a girl to get coffee with me today. And she said yes! Right?
There are about ten million things going through a man’s mind when he asks a wonderful young lady to grab a cup of caffeine and rejoice in the work of Christ in each other’s lives. Most of those things are a strange mixture of fear and trust. But there shouldn’t be this overwhelming sense of fear on our part. Is it hard to do? Yes. But is God not sovereign. Our worry over things like asking a girl out is telling of a greater problem. That is idolatry and unbelief. Situations like the one above point out idolatry by showing us just how much stock we are putting into the thing we are afraid of losing. We really want her to say yes. And we feel like the world is over if she does not. That, my dear brothers, is idolatry. Jesus is sufficient. He is also sovereign. That fact exposes our problem of unbelief. God’s providence is sure, and we can rest that whatever happens is a part of God’s plan for His glory and our joy. This does not mean we don’t act. Far from it! We act because God is sovereign.
As I walked towards ole’ girl (forgive my hood words) I had one verse that kept being brought to my mind. That is Romans 8:32. Paul says that since God did not spare His own son, He will also give us all things. He poses it as a question but it is really a statement. He will give us all things. That was my confidence going into this otherwise frightening encounter.
I hope a few alarms are going off in your head right now. Not because what I am saying is wrong (I hope), but rather because it could be construed in an unfathomably unbiblical manner. Many may think that by my saying, “God will give me all things.”, I am talking about a kind of “name it and claim it theology.” It may seem like I saying since Jesus died, God is bound and determined to do my bidding, whatever that may be. Well sit calm friends because that could not be further from my point. I was not confident she would say yes, at all. Really. Not at all. Certainly not because I felt I had some sort of divine right to her (that would be so, so, so, so super weird).
I am talking something much more profound, something that takes a heart reoriented to enjoy the Gospel of God’s glory above all else to understand. The natural man, with his mind set on the flesh, cannot discern the beauty of what I am driving at. Paul’s statement in v. 32 is a part of a flow of thought in Romans 8. What a beautiful chapter! It is not more inspired than other portions of Scripture, but it is crystal clear. It starts with God’s declaration that we are justified in the sight of God based entirely on the righteousness of Christ. Because of that work of the cross we have been brought to life and now live by the Spirit. We are able to put to death the things of the flesh because we have been given a new heart by the Spirit of God to hate that sin and oppose it with all our might. This progress is not at all the grounds of our acceptance with God but is the necessary proof of it. We have an eternal weight of glory prepared for us, hidden on high with Christ. When we do not know what to pray, the Spirit of sonship prays for us in accordance with the will of God. We then see that God has purposed all things to those who love God and have been called according to His purpose. The reason for that being that God has foreknown us, predestined us unconditionally, called us effectually, justified us through faith and will glorify us. In short, salvation is of the Lord. And this salvation is as sure as the Lord. In these things we are recipients of massive grace. For many of these blessings we are totally passive and for all of them we are in debt totally to the free grace of God flowing to us from the work of Christ on the cross, bearing our sin and wrath as if it were His.
It is at this point that we get to v. 32. If God has not spared His son, will He not also give us all things? Again, there is an implied “yes” to the rhetorical question. But what does he mean. I think he means to say that since we already have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3) we can suspect that God will do whatever it takes to keep us. He will not lose His elect. In fact, He works everything (inside of us and outside of us) for our good, which is our eternal joy in God Himself. Since we have God, we can trust Him to work for our good.
So my encouragement in asking this great girl out was that my Father withouts nothing from me that I need. If she said yes (praise God she did, and who knows why) then God has shown great grace. If she said no then God has not shown any less grace. God knows what we need. We need to behold His glory, to be transformed more and more into His image, to press deeper and deeper in the gospel and all of its manifold implications. The argument used by Paul in verse 32 is an argument from greater to lesser. Since we have Christ, will not God take care of the rest? This, again, does not give an excuse to passivity. Far from it, it emboldens us with confidence in God and not in self. We are able to pursue obedience knowing that God in His providence is ordering all things to bow down to our eternal good. And by the lens of grace we see that our eternal good is our continuing to see and savor the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ in the Gospel.
Therefore, rest in the goodness of God. Let it animate you as He works in what is good and pleasing in His sight. Work it out! Make decisions, try hard. All the while knowing it is sheer grace by which you operate. God has saved you to the utermost and is sanctifying so that you enjoy Him more and more day by day. Christ is totally yours by faith. Will not God give then give us all things? He may even be kind enough to let us take a nice girl for coffee. Even so, it is well with my soul.