Romans 11:25-36: Soli Deo Gloria!
March 18, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Deuteronomy 9-12, Psalm 65, Matthew 26:57-75, Romans 11:25-36
I’ve always enjoyed this part of Romans where Paul says that he doesn’t want us to be ignorant of this “mystery” and then proceeds to write words that have appeared more mysterious than maybe any others he ever wrote! Certainly, there are variations of opinions on what they mean. But somehow or other, “in this way all Israel will be saved.” What can we learn from Paul’s teaching here? Let us focus on the place of worship where he leaves us at the end of these extraordinary chapters 9 to 11:
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
First, we learn that God’s mind—his wisdom and knowledge and judgments—are far above and beyond ours. What an important lesson this is! How often people stumble over what God is doing, or what God’s Word says, because they cannot conceive that there could be an idea, a truth, a mind, that is higher or greater than theirs. Certainly, God’s truth is in accord with reason and our conception of what truth might be; but his truth is higher than ours, his mind is greater—and as someone said, to attempt to contain God in your mind is to become an atheist. God is bigger than our minds by definition, and the grand purpose of all Bible teaching and all worship is to bring us to bow the knee, for the real God of the Bible is above and beyond our ultimate comprehension.
Second, we learn that God owes us nothing. “Who has ever given to God that God should repay him?” Here is another great mistake that many people make as they are trying to grow in their spiritual life. They approach God as if they could bring God into their debt. As if they could do enough good works to cause God to come around to their way of thinking. As if they could perform just the right sacrifice to get into God’s good books. But there is nothing that we can to do to give to God so that God would need to repay us! Even if we give our lives to God, our lives are only what God gave us in the first place. All our money comes from him. All our time comes from him. As the Anglican prayer book puts it, “It is of your own that we give you.”
Third, we learn that everything is under God’s control and by God’s design. What a strange thought is this for the modern person! We cannot conceive how it could be fair that God would organize everything that is happening in this world. It is even a scary thought for some people. But here, instead, is hope: it means that even in the darkest of nights, there is a reason. It means that there is a reason and a purpose even when you can see no reason or purpose.
Fourth, we learn that our lives are to be about giving God the glory forever! Let that be your motto: Soli Deo Gloria; only to God be the glory! And let your life, today and every day, have that grand ambition: that God would be pleased, that God’s name would be honored, that God would be glorified through what you say, think, and do!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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