One of the greatest theologians to ever step foot on American soil was Jonathan Edwards. He was a man who was trained well in the school of Christ and Him crucified. Edwards’ works were theologically robust and pastorally warm. In his dissertation, The End for Which God Created the World, Edwards writes: “The great end of God’s works, which is so variously expressed in Scripture, is indeed but one; and this one end is most properly and compressively called, the glory of God.” As John Piper once said, Edwards had a ‘God-entranced mind.’ He was a man who has His soul set upon the glory of God above all things. Like the Psalmist, Edwards knew that the end to all things is the glory of God. As we consider Romans 11:33-36, we will see that the Apostle Paul was a man who was captured by the glory of God. Are you a man or woman stunned by the beauty, majesty, and glory of God? After this article, I pray you are.
As we look at Romans 11:33-36, we need to understand the context. In Romans 1:16, the Apostle Paul has given us a verse that unlocks the entire letter: “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.” From chapters 1-10, Paul has been expounding this glorious gospel to the Roman church. After packing this letter full of heart-warming theology, in chapter 11, Paul steps back to comprehend such theology. Paul’s theology leads him to doxology. His theology leads him to worship and praise. Have you ever stepped back and pondered God’s infinite wisdom in salvation? No human being could have put together this grand plan of salvation.
In v. 33, Paul breaks out into praise: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” There is this infinite depth of wisdom and knowledge in terms of God’s saving plan. What a Glorious gospel! Where would this come from? Out of God’s infinite wisdom and knowledge, he has orchestrated all things to bring salvation to the nations, all to the praise of God’s glorious grace. In v.34-35, Paul reminds us that no one has known the mind of the Lord, no one is his counselor, and no one has ever given to the Lord that he might be repaid. C. H. Spurgeon once said: “If we could understand God, he would not be God.”
Now, we must ask a question here. Why is it that no one can know God’s mind (v. 34)? Or why can we not counsel God (v. 34)? Or why can we not give to him that he might be repaid (v. 35)? The answer is found in v. 36. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” As we seek to apply this text, I want you to see the glory of God in salvation. Notice in v. 26, Paul uses three prepositional phrases to show us that God is the source, the means, and the end of salvation.
First, I want you to notice that salvation is from God. Paul tells us that it is all “from him.” If you are a Christian, you must know that your salvation is completely from God. Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Christian, before you were even born, before there was anything you could have ever done, God set his infinite love upon you. Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus was “The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” You were unable to save yourselves from the slavery of sin. You were a dead corpse, lying dead in the valley of dry bones, under God’s judgment. Yet, out of God’s infinite mercy and grace, He saved you from your sins! Oh, the depth of the riches of God’s grace! Eternity itself will not be long enough to sing His praises!
Second, Paul shows us that salvation is through God. Not only did God form this plan of salvation in eternity past, but he also accomplished this plan of salvation on our behalf. Our salvation rests entirely upon the work of God. We see the climax of this saving work in the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The death of Christ accomplished our redemption. This death was a voluntary death. Jesus said in John 10:11: “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Christ willingly gave up his life for the sake of his sheep. This death was also substitutionary. Isaiah 53:5-6 displays the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned– every one– to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Oh, the depth of the riches of God’s saving grace. Eternity itself will not be long enough to sing His praises!
Third, Paul shows us that salvation is all to the praise of God’s glorious grace. The wonderful plan of salvation, God redeeming sinners, finds its climax in the praises of the lamb. It all ends in worship! In Ephesians 1:6, Paul reminds us that we were saved for “the praise of His glorious grace” (Eph 1:6). In Revelation 7:9-12, we see the consummation of this marvelous salvation. We hear the songs of glory! We hear the praises of the Lamb! John writes: “The Apostle John writes: After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
As we conclude, have you seen the glory and splendor of God in salvation? Dr. John Snyder writes the following: “We will never be able to fully comprehend the infinite splendor that belongs to Him” Christian, this is an endless journey that you are on. For all eternity, you will be rejoicing in the goodness and glory of God. We will never fully comprehend it! Now, if you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, I urge you to repent of your sins and call upon the Lord to save you from the wrath to come. Come to Jesus Christ and have all your sins forgiven! Come to Jesus Christ and have the wrath that is due to your account fully removed. Come to Jesus Christ! He is a Savior who is rich in pardoning mercy.