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To God Be The Glory Forever

By In In Remembrance On June 5, 2016


This article has been republished from Expository Files Issue 23.1, January 2016. View the original publication on bible.ca/ef.

“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.”  (Romans 16.25-27)

A “Doxology” is a statement of praise. The word comes from a word meaning “glorify”. These closing verses of the Roman letter consist of a doxology which reveals some of the most significant truths about God present anywhere in the Bible.  The   result is a passage of praise that highly exalts the plan, wisdom, and glory of our Supreme Monarch!

If I were going to suggest a theme to the book of Romans, I might best state it with a quote from its first chapter may be best stated in the first chapter:

“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.” (Romans 1:16).

It is fitting to end this same book with a glowing tribute to the divine author of the gospel, Jehovah God.  Paul, the inspired human writer, breaks forth with words of encouragement and assurance that point to God as their source, support, and goal. These verses focus on four truths concerning the Lord and His plan for man.

The Giver of Stability

The passage opens with these words:

“Now to Him who is able to establish you…” (vs. 25a).

The Greek term translated “to establish” means “to prop up, make firm, make stable.”  It conveys the idea of something holding up or supporting something else. God is the One who has the power to stabilize us. How? Through His Word (Matthew 7:24-27).  God is the source of faith, and His method of imparting it is through the teaching of His word (Romans 10:17). We are established through accepting & obeying His word (Romans 6:17,18).

The Revealer of the Gospel

Next, Paul informs us that God establishes Christians “according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (vs. 25a).  Paul is saying that the content of the gospel is the teaching of Christ. Jesus is the focal point and summation of God’s revelation to man (Luke 24.27; Hebrews 1.1-3a).

In other words, the Father has always unveiled Himself to man through His Son in the power of the Spirit.  Therefore, the only way anyone can come to God is through Jesus Christ.  There is no other path that leads to him (John 14:6). This was true even in Old Testament times (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

In addition to this, Paul says that the Lord establishes believers

“according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God” – (vv. 25b-26a).

The Greek term for “mystery” is similar in meaning to our English word “secret”.  It denotes the idea of something previously hidden and unknown that is now being revealed and understood. The mystery Paul refers to here is clearly spelled out in his letter to the Ephesians, where we see that what God kept secret from man until the first century was the means of uniting of Jews and Gentiles into one spiritual community. This unification into one body, or church was to be done through the same means; personal faith and obedience in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord.  The founding of the universal church had always been a part of God’s plan, but it took many centuries before He brought it to pass (John 10:16; Ephesians 3:4-12).

The Proclaimer to the Nations

God has initiated His plan of salvation, not for just a select few, but for the entire world (John 3.16).  Therefore, He has made it “known to all the nations” (Romans 16.26b). The revelation of the gospel is available to all peoples without partiality.

Since the Savior’s focus is on the world, ours must be also!  His marching orders commanded that His gospel be proclaimed to everyone (Matthew 28.19-20; Mark 16.16ff). This is an ongoing process and you (that’s right… you!) are included in the plan! Teach the word!

The Initiator of Obedience

Paul concludes this section of the doxology by noting that it is the Lord who leads individuals to the “obedience of faith” (vs. 26b). Our task is to take what we have learned by the grace of God to others. The Scripture clearly states that the Lord has chosen these clay vessels to carry the message in the salvation process – (Romans 10.13-15).

He has given us the responsibility of getting the message out while He has graciously accepted the role that no one else could ever fill – that of Redeemer!

Be the Glory Forever

Since God is unlimited in His nature, no finite creature can fully comprehend Him.  Thus, we cannot adequately form a mental or material image that portrays His being.  When we try to construct a picture of Him, all we end up with is a dead idol, not the Living God.  This truth is clearly manifested in the statement “to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever.” (Romans 16:27). God is unique, as is conveyed by the word “only”.  He is one of a kind, incomparable, unrivaled and matchless. The one God is also infinitely “wise.”  This means not only that He is supremely intelligent and knows all things, but also that He is unfathomably perceptive and accurate in His purposes and plans (Romans 11.33,34). The link between the infinite God and finite man is God the Son, Jesus Christ. He is both God and man (John 1.14, 18; 6.46; 1 Timothy 6.16). There is no way for us to come before God free from condemnation without the redemptive work of His Son.

The doxology closes by ascribing glory to the eternal God forever (vs. 27b). He is a God we should come to know. Eternity is coming, and He wants to share His glory with us.


About the Author

Jon Quinn
jquinn

Jon Quinn is a contributor to "The Expository Files," a monthly biblical newsletter focused on highlighting truths in specific scriptures. You can access their archives at www.bible.ca/ef/.

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