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Romans 8:32

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom 8:32 AV).


Matthew J Slick
The question again here is, who are the "all"? Are they every individual on the planet who ever lived (the Arminian position) or are they the elect, the chosen of God (the Calvinist position)? We need to examine the verses in their context.

      Romans 8:31-38: "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died -- more than that, who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (NIV).

Verse 31 starts the context and it is clearly speaking of the Christians. Only those who are covered by the blood of the Lamb have been reconciled and are no longer enemies of God (Rom 8:7). The "us" of verse 31 can only refer to the Christians. Verse 32 speaks of Jesus' sacrifice for "us all." Is the "us" suddenly everyone, the unbeliever too? Verse 33 speaks of the ones God has chosen; that is, the Christians. Verse 34 speaks of Jesus' intercession for "us"; the "us" can only be the Christian's because Jesus is not mediating for the unbeliever. Verses 35-39 speak of the Christians inseparability with God. It is clear that the whole context is speaking about Christians and no one else. The "us all" of Rom 8:32 must, then, refer to the Christians.

Before beginning the next section, I need to propose what I think is a correct supposition regarding the mind of the Jews and, therefore, bears influence on interpreting the writers of the N.T. It is this: The Jews were so narrowly minded that they considered the Messiah to be for them only, not the whole world.

That is why there are salvation verses that speak of all being saved, of a sacrifice not only for our sins, but those of the whole world (1 John 2:2). In other words, Jesus is the savior not only of the Jews, but of all people, including the Gentiles -- the whole world.  Please consider the following as proof of Paul's attempt to correct the mistaken idea that the Jews alone were to be saved:

Rom 1:16: "for I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Rom 2:9-10: "There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Rom 10:12: "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him." Gal 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Incidentally, the "all" here means only the believers.) Col 3:11: "and a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew..."