Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34"For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" 35 "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. —Romans 11:33-36
Journey with me through Romans 1-11.
We see the terribly sinful condition of our hearts—and the hearts of all humanity—in Romans 1:18-3:19.
We discover the great work of Jesus on the cross to provide a righteousness and a sacrifice so that we could be justified by faith alone apart from works of the law in Romans 3:20-5:21.
We learned of the mighty sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to conquer sin and make us secure in Jesus’ love in Romans 6-8.
Then we find the great defense of the God’s sovereign grace and promise-keeping faithfulness in Romans 9-11, climaxing with these stunning words in Romans 11:32, “God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.”
Now, in response to all this revelation of the ways and judgments of God, Paul breaks into explicit wonder and praise in Romans 11:33-36.
This is where God wants us to be when we have heard journey through Romans 1-11: amazed at mercy, and worshipping God through Jesus. This is the response that will make us able to live out the practical moral implications coming in Romans 12-15.
Morality in the Christian life is not simply the willpower to do right things, because God has the authority to command them. Christian morality is the overflow of worshiping the sovereign, merciful God. Christian life is the fruit of a mind and heart transformed by seeing and savoring the all-sufficiency and sovereignty and mercy of God revealed in Jesus Christ. That will become plain as soon as we turn to chapter 12.
There is so much in this passage (I preached two sermons on it in the Spring of 2004), but in this short devotional, let me just turn your attention to the last verse, which is the conclusion of this passage and the whole of Romans 1-11. Not only are all things from God and through God, but, as the end of verse 36 says, “To him are all things. To him be glory forever.”
Do you love the thought that you exist to make God look glorious? Do you love the thought that all creation exists to display the glory of God? Do you love the truth that all of history is designed by God to one day be a completed canvas that displays in the best way possible the greatness and beauty of God? Do you love the fact that Jesus came into the world to vindicate the righteousness of God and repair the injury that we had done to the reputation of the glory of God? Do you love the truth you personally exist to make God look like what he really is—glorious?
I ask again: Do you love the fact that your salvation is meant to put the glory of God’s grace on display? Do you love seeing and showing the glory of God?
This is why God created the universe. This is why he ordained history. This is why he sent his Son. This is why you exist—forever to see and savor and show the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. The question for us at the end of Romans 1-11 is “do you embrace this calling as your treasure and your joy?”