Graciously Give us All Things ?- Romans 8:32

In Romans 8:32, Paul tells us that since God did not spare His own Son but gave Him for us, He will also graciously give us “all things”. What exactly could he mean here by the expression “all things”? This is obviously a metaphor, for he could not possibly mean God will literally give us all things, but what does the metaphor mean? One possible explanation can be found in another passage in which Paul uses the same phrase with somewhat of an explanation. This is found in 1Corinthians 3:21-4:7. The context of this passage is that Paul is chastising the church for divisions which exist within it, based on following certain men rather than following Christ, jealous of what others have and quarreling over what they don’t have. Verse 21 begins the conclusion of Paul’s response to all of this with “so then, no more boasting about men”, boasting in who you “follow”. Why not? Because “all things” are yours. He then provides a list of these “all things”. We will examine each of these to see what they might mean and what they mean for our lives. These can be seen as the ultimate tyrannies of human existence, the things which control people and to which they are in lifetime bondage as slaves. The first to be listed is other people (Paul, Apollos and Cephas), that many people are in lifelong bondage to other people, to the opinions others have of them and of how they appear to others, in bondage to what others think about them. The second is “the world”. By this Paul means the “philosophy” of the world, the way the world sees things, in bondage to defining truth and reality according to worldly reasoning rather than according to Scripture. The third is life. What could he mean here by life? Many are held captive by their fear of living, afraid to truly live as God calls them to, and so never accomplishing His purpose for them in this world. The fourth is death. While some live as captives to a fear of living, others also live as captives to a fear of dying, with this also keeping them from accomplishing God’s purpose for them in this life. The fifth is the “present or the future”, with many kept in bondage to the now due to fear of what the future may bring, not acting in the present because of what might happen tomorrow, not aware that it is always today and that tomorrow never really comes. These are the things which hold believers captive, which have us as their prisoners, the “all things” which have us. Paul will next show us how to move from these things “having us” to us “having them”, no longer to be held in bondage to them, no longer letting them keep us from God’s purpose for each of our lives, no longer bound by fear of these “all things”.

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