Romans 11:33-36 "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."

God is to be accepted and praised rather than measured by human values and understanding. When Paul wrote the letter to Christians in Rome [we know as the book of Romans in the New Testament], he wrote to Jewish Christians who questioned gentile Christian procedures, and gentile Christians who resented Jewish Christians. He wrote to a situation that harbored more brotherly resentment than brotherly love!

Gentile Christians resented the arrogance of Jewish Christians, and Jewish Christians questioned the legitimacy of the gentiles’ salvation. In the presence of all this ill will in the Christian community at Rome, Paul discussed some astounding principles in salvation. He discussed the fact that Abraham was justified by faith just as we are (4:1-5). He used David to prove there was a relationship with God in which God ignores sin (4:6-8). He declared the Christian can be at peace with God because of the trust he/she places in God (5:1). He said the Christian deliberately died to sin [rather than continuing to do sinful things] in order to be alive to God through Christ (6). He said the Christian chose to live in the release of God’s Spirit rather than the defeating slavery of legalistic human behavior (7, 8). He declared God could pursue His own purposes without being unjust even if humans did not grasp His choices (9:14-33). He affirmed that God was not trying to destroy the Jewish people in offering salvation to gentile people (11).

Jewish Christians could have easily reacted by saying, “God would not pursue salvation in that manner!” Gentile Christians could have easily reacted by saying, “God loves us more than He loves you!” Paul said to both groups, “Do not go there! If you do, you miss the primary point of God’s salvation!” As Paul explained in 12-15, appreciation of God’s salvation is to be seen in Christian behavior, not in a human evaluation of God’s actions.

Paul ended his inspired insights into God’s work in salvation with our opening scripture. In essence, Paul declared, “When I consider all God did for us in our salvation through Jesus Christ, I am overwhelmed! I want to praise the God deserving of all glory! I want to declare He is beyond our understanding and worthy of our glorification! God is God—and we will never be His equal!”

Does your life declare every day that God is God and we are not? Is your life a continuing worship of God? When you gather with others in Christ, are you filled with a desire to praise and glorify God in appreciation for all He has done in making forgiveness and relationship with Him possible? Does your faith depend on your understanding, or does your understanding depend on your faith?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 13 July 2006

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