Summary: 1) The Gospel that Strengthens Believers (Romans 16:25a), 2) The Gospel that Proclaims Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25b), and 3) The Gospel that Reveals God’s Mystery (Romans 16:25c–27).
As Canadians, this is a strange weekend. We watch, from afar, our brothers and sisters in the United States, celebrate Thanksgiving. Enjoying many of the same benefits that they enjoy, in many ways we can eco their thanks. Most rightly, we can join them in giving thanks and praise to our Lord as the source of all that is good.
When we find this event specifically occurring in scripture it is known as a doxology. The word doxology comes from the Greek words doxa, which means glory, and logos, which means word. So a doxology is a word that ascribes glory to God. The conviction behind New Testament doxologies is that everything exists and everything happens to draw attention to the glory of God (Piper, J. (2014). Sermons from John Piper (2000–2014). Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God.).
The book of Romans ends with a beautiful doxology, praising God for what He has done through His Son, Jesus Christ. Doxologies are found throughout Scripture. Sometimes a writer is so overwhelmed with gratitude that he breaks into inspired praise to God for His goodness and grace. In Romans 16, the doxology sums up all the great ideas of the Epistle. The power of the Gospel which St. Paul was commissioned to preach; the revelation in it of the eternal purpose of God; its contents, faith; its sphere, all the nations of the earth; its author, the one wise God, whose wisdom is thus vindicated—all these thoughts had been continually dwelt on (Sanday, W., & Headlam, A. C. (1897). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle of the Romans (3d ed., p. 436). New York: C. Scribner’s Sons.).
As we come to the end of our study of the book of Romans and are coming near the end of 2017, what are we most thankful for? Thankfulness is crucial for praise. If we think that we have enjoyed so much because of our hard work, or worse, just being lucky, we miss the entire story. Behind every deliverance, every gift, every sustaining and every joy, there is God. Understanding this fact is crucial for living a life that praises Him and showing to a selfish world, where the only source of true and lasting joy resides.
Paul’s closing doxology in Romans is unique, in that, in his praise of the Lord, he recapitulates major themes of the epistle. Perhaps taking the pen from Tertius (cf. v. 22), the apostle touches on 1) The Gospel that Strengthens Believers (Romans 16:25a), 2) The Gospel that Proclaims Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25b), and 3) The Gospel that Reveals God’s Mystery (Romans 16:25c–27).
We can praise God because of:
1) The Gospel That Strengthens Believers (Romans 16:25a)
Romans 16:25a 25 Now 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) (ESV)
First of all, Paul praises God for the gospel that strengthens/establishes. God is able, that is, has sufficient power, to strengthen/establish those who trust in Him according to the true gospel that Paul, and every true preacher and teacher, have clearly set forth. It centered in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the focal point of the gospel. Apart from him there could be no “good news” in the ultimate sense of that term. (Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 282). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)