Summary: Sound and GOOD theology begins and ends with DOXOLOGY, and Paul culminates his discussion of God's Election process with a profound song of praise to the ALMIGHTY.
The Self-Sufficient God
Last week we began with this statement: Good and sound theology, the study and knowledge of God, begins and ends with DOXOLOGY. We looked at the doxology of Romans 11: 33, which gave us a small glimpse into the Supremacy, the Magnitude and the Sovereignty of Almighty God: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”
Today we consider three questions of Romans 11:34-35: 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?" 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
Have you ever considered WHY people ask questions? Most of the time questions are asked in order to gather information. In the passage that we just read, Paul asks three questions in verses 34 and 35:
1). Who has ever known the mind of God?
2.) Who has ever been God’s Counselor?
3.) Who has ever lent God anything?
What WOULD YOUR answer be to these three questions? NOBODY! RIGHT? Paul is asking these questions, NOT because he is searching for information, but because he is trying to make a sound theological point! The point that Paul (and God) are making is this: With everything that has been revealed, not only in 11 chapters of Romans, but throughout Old Testament teaching pertaining to God’s Divine and Gracious work of salvation to utterly sinful man (remember Paul uses 58 Old Testament references in Romans), WITH THIS BEING TRUE, WHO ARE YOU in comparison to God?
Question #1: Who has ever known the mind of God?
Paul uses Isaiah 40 in asking his first question: Look at some of Isaiah 40 with me: Verse 12 “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? 13 WHO HAS UNDERSTOOD THE MIND of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor?”
“The mind of the Lord” can also be translated “The wind, the breath, or the spirit of the Lord” (and 26 other ways), in fact, it is translated “Spirit of the Lord” in some translations in Isaiah as well as Romans. (The word in the Hebrew is “ruwach” and is used almost 350 times in 32 of the 39 books of the OT.) Isaiah wrote the words of chapter 40 around 150 years before a remnant of Israel would flee from captivity in Babylon and return by FAITH to the Promised Land. Unknown to them, God would cause the heathen King Cyrus to deliver His people from captivity. Later God would deliver ALL of His People through an even greater salvation that the Christ would provide on the Cross of Calvary.
The Mind, Spirit or Breath of God is first used in Genesis 1:2: “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit (“ruwach”) of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath (“ruwach”) of His mouth all their host.” We know the mind of God in part, but we are absolutely incapable of creating anything because there is no CREATION without the “ruwach” of God. There would not be an earth or universe in which we could exist.
Secondly, there is no LIFE without the “ruwach” of God. Ecclesiastes 12:5: “Men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets. 6 Remember Him--before the silver cord is severed,(when you die) or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (“ruwach”) returns to God who gave it.”
Even Unsaved Man receives “ruwach”, spirit or life, when they are born, but the whole point of the book of Ecclesiastes is that without God, your spirit and life are just chasing after a “wind” (ruwach) Which you will never catch. In Eccl. 12:1 God tells us: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no delight in them". IF YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE WITHOUT following God, you will most likely end your days the same way.”