Summary: Paul's doxology to God in Romans 11 is a concise statement of His World view and of the Supreme glory that belongs to God alone.
“The Only Way to Glorify God”
For two weeks we began our time around God’s word with the sentence: “Good and sound theology or the study and knowledge of God, begins and ends with doxology.”
We look at the setting of our text, which is Romans 11: 33-36: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" 35 "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"
In looking at the first part of verse 36, we began last week with the statement that “God-centered theology begins and ends with God.” We looked at the most concise one-liner in all of the Bible, which describes what SHOULD BE, the God-centered theology and personal world and life view of EVERY CHRISTIAN, not just of the Apostle Paul: “For from him and through him and to him are all things.“
God is the beginning and source of ALL THINGS, the means, the sustainer, and provider of ALL THINGS, and the end or goal of ALL THINGS. All things through Creation, all things throughout the entirety of History, and all things pertaining to Salvation are “from Him, and through Him, and to Him.” To have any other understanding than this is to live in direct defiance to the character of God and how He operates SOVEREIGNLY in HIS universe. To have any other understanding also deviates from a correct Biblical knowledge of “who YOU are” in relationship to Him and what He has done.
Today we look at the last part of verse 36: “To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”
1. Who is it that is to be glorified? Now, If all things are From HIM and all things are THROUGH Him and all things are to HIM, then God alone must be glorified; It naturally follows that To God ALONE belongs ALL GLORY. What is the first commandment? You shall have NO OTHER gods beside ME. You should NEVER worship or esteem something or someone MORE than you esteem God! God demands that there be no rivalry to His glory or worship because He is jealous and zealous for His Glory ALONE. Not one of His creatures can honor himself more than he honors God.
If the first part of the verse 36 is true, and the second part is true, then all glory must exclusively belong to God. Do you believe that the Bible is our ONLY God-GIVEN, infallible source of knowledge for faith, salvation and holiness? Do you believe that the heart of the Gospel is Christ alone, not in morality or any other activity, not in any other leader or system of religion?
Do you believe that only God’s Grace saves you without personal claim or merit to deserve Christ? That Salvation is a gift without a cost and it’s not a reward for the righteous? Do you believe from Genesis to Revelation, the cornerstone of salvation is that you are only justified by the gift of faith? That forgiveness, justification, and sanctification are by faith in Christ, not by any work of your own? That saving faith does not originate within yourself, but is given as a gift? Then you will be able to give ALL GLORY to God for all things.
Psalm 29:1-2 commands us then to “Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” This tremendous verse in 1 Timothy 1:17 says: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
2. What is “the GLORY” which is to be offered to God alone? The root word for “Glory” in the Old Testament, “Kabad”, means “to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, honorable, glorious, be burdensome, be honored.” God’s honor is so great and rich compared to anything else, that it SHOULD BE HEAVY to us; it should weigh us down. His majesty should press us down with awe and worship.
The word in our text from the Greek is “doxa”, from which we get the word “doxology”. Listen to the definitions of this word: “opinion, judgment, view, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone, splendor, brightness, praise, honor, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity.”
I did a bit of research on this word: 23 out of the 27 books of the New Testament use the word for “glory or “doxa”. 140 times out of the150 times the word refers to the GLORY of God or Jesus Christ. In the 10 times that it does NOT refer to God or Jesus, the “glory” described is clearly LESSER than God’s Glory. Generally, the word “doxa” could pertain to something good OR bad, but the New Testament always speaks about a good opinion concerning glory, an opinion that results in praise, honor, which belongs to God alone.