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Doxology April 26, 2011

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Romans 11:33-36.

Summary: In this passage, Paul expresses his wonder at the following sublime realities:

  • God’s knowledge is displayed in His knowing everything there is to know regarding every member of His creation – in particular, He knows all of the candidate paths for their existence and how each of these paths would contribute to advancing His glory
  • God’s wisdom is displayed in His selecting a particular path of existence for every member of His creation so that He is most fully glorified.

This shows that we cannot 1) determine the reasons behind His judgments, and 2) understand His ways. We cannot instruct God and advise him regarding the execution of His divine plans. Moreover, we cannot place God in our debt – since He is the source of all things, He guides them through His power and wisdom, and He directs them for His ultimate glory.

Thoughts: This passage concludes the “theoretical” section of Romans, and it is appropriate to reflect on Paul’s exposition up to this point in the epistle. In his commentary on verse 36, Hodge notes the following:

Such is the appropriate conclusion of the doctrinal part of this wonderful letter, in which more fully and clearly than in any other part of the Word of God the plan of salvation is presented and defended. Here are the doctrines of grace, doctrines on which the godly in all ages and nations have rested their hopes of heaven, though they may have had comparatively obscure intimations of their nature. The leading principle is that God is the source of all good, that in fallen man there is neither merit nor ability, and that consequently salvation is all of grace, as are sanctification, pardon, election, and eternal glory.

To ensure that the connection between this passage and the preceding discussion in chapters 9-11 is not obscured, it should be reiterated that all men, both Jews and Gentiles, have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Though the Gentiles were strangers and aliens to God, and the Jews rejected God’s method for obtaining righteousness via faith in Jesus Christ, God – in His divine wisdom – has chosen to show mercy to at least some of the members of each of these two groups. Since all men are utterly undeserving of God’s favor, it is amazing that He would choose to save even one person – and that His offer of salvation does not hinge on anything that is inherent to sinful man.

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