Summary: "God Knows What He’s Doing" is a sermon based on the doxology of Paul recorded in Romans 11:33-36. It declares that God is worthy to be praised, because God knows what he’s doing, even when we do not.

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Romans 11:33-36

There is a pattern in the New Testament Epistles of Paul. He begins by explaining doctrine and then exhorts to duty. This pattern reminds us that doctrine and duty go together in the Christian life. Christianity is not religious activism disconnected from biblical doctrine, nor is it intellectual assent disconnected from personal devotion. Christianity marries belief to behavior. To be a disciple of Christ is to think and act biblically. We must be on guard against undevotional theology and untheological devotion. So Paul wisely begins his letters by laying a doctrinal foundation. Then he builds on it a call to live out the life of the teachings of our faith. So it is with the book of Romans.

Romans 11:33-36 is a bridge between these two major sections. After teaching the doctrine of justification by faith alone and before exhorting his readers to live as sacrifices for God, Paul writes this doxology in praise to God.

This doxology rebukes our overemphasis on practical Christianity. For many, the most important question about faith is, does it work? We view Christianity in pragmatic terms. But Paul was not hasty to make faith practical. Before he shows us how to walk in the truth of the gospel, Paul pauses to dance to it. In so doing, he teaches us that sound doctrine begins and ends with doxology. R. KENT HUGHES said it well: “Our study of God and his ways among us should turn our hearts to music.” This is what happens to Paul. In Romans 1-11, he climbs as high as he can to the summit of truth. Yet he is still a long way from the peak. Unable to climb any higher, Paul prostrates himself in worship the incomprehensibility of God. He rejoices in the fact that God knows what he’s doing, even when we don’t.

WILLIAM CAREY had to overcome many obstacles to take the gospel to India. He finally found himself aboard the Oxford, bound for Asia. Before the ship lifted anchor, Carey was deposited back on land by the ship’s captain, who received an anonymous letter against Carey. In response, Carey wrote to his friend Andrew Fuller: “All I can say in this affair is that, however mysterious the leadings of Providence are, I have no doubt but they are superintended by an infinitely wise God.”

This is a God-centered perspective of life and ministry. There are times when the leadings of providence are mysterious. It is when life does not make sense. It is when you are forced to live with unanswered questions. It is when you do not know what God is doing in your life. But God is worthy to be praised because God knows what he is doing, even when we don’t! How should you respond to the marvelous truth that God knows what he is doing?


Verse 36 says, “Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” This verse is filled with theologically loaded words. But the most important word is the first: “Oh.” It is a sigh or groan or cry of an enraptured heart. In Romans 1-11, Paul gives the clearest explanation of the gospel anywhere. A.T. ROBERTSON writes, “Paul’s argument concerning God’s elective grace and goodness has carried him to the heights, and now he pauses on the edge of the precipice as he contemplates God’s wisdom and knowledge, fully conscious of his inability to sound the bottom with the plummet of human reason and words.” Paul mind is now empty. But his heart is full. And with a sense of wonder, he celebrates the God who is too deep and too high to be figured out.

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