Summary: Paul’s praise in the conclusion of his letter to the Romans is a model for the kind of praise that the good news of God should draw from us.
Today we conclude our study in Romans. Let’s read Romans 16:25-27:
25Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Romans 16:25-27)
William Tyndale, the pioneer English Bible translator, wrote these famous words in his prologue to Romans (in the 1534 edition of the English New Testament):
"Forasmuch as this epistle is the principal and most excellent part of the New Testament, and most pure [gospel]. . . and also a light and a way in unto the whole scripture, I think it meet that every Christian man not only know it by rote but also exercise himself therein ever¬more continually as with the daily bread of the soul. No man verily can read it too oft or study it too well: for the more it is studied the easier it is, the more it is searched the more precious things are found in it, so great treasure of spiritual things lieth hid therein."
Such was Tyndale’s opinion some 450 years ago, and it remains mine today.
Paul’s letter to the Romans is the most closely reasoned and compelling book of the New Testament. Its massive theology, so ably argued in the first eleven chapters, logically proceeds from the statement of the gospel in the opening verses of chapter 1 to the need for the gospel because of man’s sin in chapters 1-3.
Next it describes the provision of the righteousness which comes by faith in chapters 3 and 4.
Then our position in Christ is beautifully stated in chapter 5.
The secret of spiritual victory is mapped out in chapters 6-8.
And finally, in chapters 9-11, a vindication of God’s work in history is provided.
As Paul concludes his argument, his foundational theology gives way to an appropriately rous¬ing doxology in 11:36: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
There is simply nothing like the first eleven chapters of Romans.
Then follows the properly compelling call to practical Christian liv¬ing in chapters 12-15, which begins with these words:
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:1-2).
In logical succession Paul encourages us to practice our theology by using our gifts to serve one another in love. We are to subject ourselves to the authority over us, living by the law of love in the Church, offering all of life to God.
This section also concludes with another doxology in Romans 15:33, “May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”
Then, as we saw last time, Paul gives his greetings to all the saints in Rome and closes with yet another doxology: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (16:20b).
These are the magnificent structures of the greatest theological treatise ever written. The word “God” is used no less than 163 times (even more than the verb “to be,” which occurs in its various forms only 113 times). There is nothing like the book of Romans!
Now comes the end of the letter. His friends have chimed in with their own greetings, and Paul takes the pen in his own hand and he writes the last few lines.
We know this because in 2 Thessalonians 3:17-18 he mentions that he does this in every letter so his readers will know the letter is not a forgery.
Perhaps with pen poised he hesitated for a moment, and then he began to write. What did he write? Another doxology, of course, the longest of all his doxologies, and one of the most beautiful. I have titled it, “The End Is Praise.”
Logically, there is no other way he could have ended his magnificent letter to the Romans, and there is no other way we can properly end our study of his letter.
Paul’s final praise is a model for all times, a model for our song in the Lord. Let us study it with an eye to the kind of praise the truths of Romans should call from us. Essentially there are two broad categories of praise: