Lingering Over the Praises (Romans 11:33-36)
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
It is good to linger over the praises of Paul’s heart at the end of chapter 11.
The riches and wisdom and the knowledge of God are unfathomably deep (Romans 11:33). No matter how far down into God’s wealth or into God’s wisdom or into God’s knowledge you go, you never get beneath God. There is nothing beneath God. And there is nothing above God. And there is nothing decisive over against God between his depths and his heights.
So Paul says in verse 33b: “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” In other words, since God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge are very deep, so that we can’t give him anything he doesn’t have, or tell him anything he doesn’t know, it is no wonder that we are often confounded, bewildered, perplexed, and amazed by the ways and the judgments of God.
Then Paul says in verse 34, “Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” Answer: Nobody. In other words, you can’t give him advice he doesn’t already know.
Then in verse 35, “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” Answer: Nobody. In other words, not only can’t you give him advice he doesn’t already know; but you can’t give to God anything that is not already his. If you could, he would owe you. But you can’t. So he doesn’t owe you anything. And never will.
Finally Paul says in verse 36, “For from him and through him and to him are all things.”
And yet the final design and effect of it all is at the end of verse 36: All things are not only from him and through him, but also “to him.” Therefore, “To him be glory forever.”
Our lives are to be lived willingly to the glory of God. Or we will serve his glory unwillingly in our damnation. We are created and called to make the beauty and greatness of God known in the world. Our reason for being is to make much of God, and bring all the nations to confess that Jesus is Lord “to the glory of God the Father.”