0234 A Doxology of Theology
Encounter Radio Outline #0234
Air date: 8/25/02
A Doxology of Theology:
in Relation to the Conclusion of All Things
by Dr. Stephen F. Olford
Introduction: Paul reviews the trials of truth that he has traversed and sums up his survey of the reign of righteousness in relation to the sovereignty of God with a doxology to theology! Awed by the “mystery” (v. 25) and majesty of such exalted doctrine, he climaxes this portion of his letter with a holy act of adoration, followed by a humble act of dedication. As far as the apostle was concerned, he could go no further. This was the conclusion of all things!
I. The Holy Act of Adoration (vv. 33-35)
Now “what a moment this is,” writes the saintly Handley Moule, “what an occasion, for such an approach to Him who is the infinite and personal Fountain of being and of redemption! We have been led from reason to reason, from doctrine to doctrine, from one link to another in a golden chain of redeeming mercies. We have had the dream of human merit expelled from the heart with arrows of light; and the pure glory of grace most absolute, most merciful, has come in upon us in its place. … So, we repose, with profound and rejoicing silence, before the fact of the mysteries too bright for our vision.” There is only one recourse open to us, and that is holy adoration.
As always, however, Paul’s expressions of adoration have both music and meaning. His theme, of course, is divine sovereignty. So we are bidden to reflect upon:
A. The Incomprehensibility of God’s Sovereignty (v. 33)
Here we see three aspects of the incomprehensibility of God’s sovereignty. The word “depth” refers to the inexhaustible fullness, as well as the unfathomable mystery of God’s riches, wisdom and knowledge.
B. The Inscrutability of God’s Sovereignty (v. 33)
The apostle is describing the inscrutable judgments of God, as related to His providential dispensations, decisions and decrees. Indeed, such are “His ways” that they are past finding out. Or more accurately, past “tracking out.”
C. The Independency of God’s Sovereignty (vv. 34-35)
Throughout this whole epistle the apostle has argued his thesis that God justifies man by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. No one can ever advise the Almighty as to His purposes or promises for man. In His sovereignty, God acts without dependency upon fallible humanity.
II. The Humble Act of Dedication (v. 36)
In the language that Paul employs he suggests the Trinity. “For of Him” is surely a reference to God the Father, “and through Him” is a reference to God the Son, “and to Him” is a reference to God the Holy Spirit. But, primarily, the thrust of this closing statement is directed to us in order that we shall unreservedly yield ourselves to God, for if God is sovereign, there is no other alternative than to yield to Him in a humble act of dedication. To dedicate ourselves to God we must recognize that:
A. God is the Cause of All Things (v. 36)
God is the personal source, or first cause, of all things. We belong to Him by reason of creation, redemption and possession. No one can dedicate his life to God without recognizing the creative, redemptive and possessive claims that God, the Creator, has upon every human being.
B. God is the Channel of All Things (v. 36)
There is no benefit or blessing that comes our way that is not channeled by God (James 1:17). He has made His only Son, even our Lord Jesus Christ, the channel of all blessings. We cannot reach, know, or share the blessings of the Father without Christ His Son. Jesus is the way to reach God, the truth to know God, and the life to share God.
C. God is the Consummator of All Things (v. 36)
The reason for our creation and our redemption is that we might be to God’s eternal glory. Paul moves right on in Chapter 12 to call for the dedication of our every faculty that we may prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God (vv. 1-2). The “perfect will of God” is the consummation of all things. This is total conformity to Christ and , therefore, is the purpose of our justification, sanctification, and glorification.
Conclusion: Paul climaxes his doxology with the words “to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (v. 36). This response is wrung from his heart. He has seen the righteousness of God in relation to salvation. He has surveyed the righteousness of God in relation to sovereignty. Moved and mastered by the Cause, the Channel, and the Consummator of it all, he cries, “Amen” – even so let it be. This is true adoration and true dedication.
One day we shall say our “Amen,” when we kneel before the throne of God and see what we cannot see now, know what we cannot know now, and love what we cannot love now. But before that day, we can kneel before the cross, and with renewed adoration and dedication survey the passion and Person that have made possible what we now enjoy of the riches, wisdom and knowledge of God’s sovereign and saving grace.
Stephen Olford Center for Biblical Preaching
P.O. Box 757800 Memphis, TN 38175-7800
Phone: (901) 757-7977 or (800) 843-2241 Fax: (901) 757-1372
Comments? Send mail to: OMI@olford.org