The Riches, Wisdom & Knowledge Of God
God’s Absolute Independence

In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 57c of 83


33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Romans 11:33-36).  

[We are looking at the concluding doxology of the doctrinal section of Paul’s letter to the Romans. In our previous instalment, we considered what Paul means in the first half of verse 33 where he declares: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” In the second instalment, we considered Paul’s declaration of God’s absolute independence in the rest of verse 33 until verse 35. But now in the final instalment, we must consider verse 36 where we see how God is the source, means and end of all things]

3.  God is the Source, 
Means & End

All things are “of Him.” That is: He is the source or fountainhead of everything. All things originated from Him. He designed all things; and He made all things. Nothing that is made was not made by Him.

God is the Master Designer and the Master Maker.

All things—whether in heaven or on earth, whether angels or men, elect or reprobate, rational or irrational, good or evil—all things are of God. They exist by His decree and creation.

And all things are “through him.” That is: All things operate by His power. In Him we live, and move and have our being. He is upholding all things by the word of His power. Nothing can continue to exist except that God is upholding it in existence. God alone is self-existent. He is the “I AM.” Everything else exists by His power keeping them in existence.

Everything in this world is like the light that comes out of a light bulb. Switch off the power, and the light ceases to exist; so if God does not sustain us in existence, we cease to exist immediately.

Moreover, all things are “to Him”: All things are so made and ordered as to bring Glory to God.

All things, —whether we think to be good or evil, —as long as they are in this world, they will redound to the glory of God. All things serve the glory of God. Even the wrath of man shall praise God, says the Psalmist (Ps 76:10). Even the wickedness of the wicked serves ultimately to glorify God.

Satan is trying his very best to destroy the glory of God. But he is fighting a losing battle. Whatever he does is only adding to the glory of God.

Satan is trying to mow off the green grass of God’s pasture of glory, but the more he mows the more the grass grows.

All things ultimately serve the glory of God our heavenly Father.

Conclusion

What do we say to these things? Let me suggest three things: (1) Know God; (2) Know yourself; and (3) Enjoy your relationship with God.

First of all: Know God. Do you know God? If you know him you must be able to exclaim in your heart with the apostle Paul:

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God.… For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.

If you are unable to testify to the truth of these words, it is not because God has not revealed Himself sufficiently to you. It is that you have refused to know Him!

The important point in the doxology we are considering is that it is not prompted by what is unknowable in God, but by the greatness of that which God has revealed.

Says Prof John Murray:

“When our faith and understanding peer to the horizons of revelation, it is then our hearts and minds are overwhelmed with the incomprehensible mystery of God’s work and ways.”

It is sad when Christians are not interested to learn about God. Many Christians will be glad to learn about how to relate to one another, but they are not very interested to learn about God and His ways. What is it to learn about God and His ways? It is to learn theology and doctrine. Christians who dislike doctrine, simply dislike God.

O Christian, I trust that you have a love for doctrine and desire more and more to know what God has revealed about Himself. Before you learn how to live as a Christian, you must learn who God is and what He has done. This is why the apostle Paul begins to emphasise practical Christian living in this letter only after He has taught all the important doctrines about God.

Secondly, our response to Paul’s inspired doxology must be to know ourselves: for if we have understood God in the way that the apostle Paul understood Him, we can no more be proud, nor can we live independently of God. We can no more seek our own glory and our own comfort. All that we do must have a focus on the glory of God and enjoyment of God.

Man, like Satan, would by nature seek his own glory. Our view of the world is one in which we are in the centre and everything else revolves around us. But this ought not to be the case.

We ought to live like satellites revolving round the Sun! We ought to seek the glory of God in all that we do: for all that we are and all that we have comes from Him. To know ourselves is to know that we are nothing, but God is everything.

Finally, in response to Paul’s inspired doxology, let us thank God for the relationship we have with Him and let us enjoy this relationship.

Let us remember how Christ lived and died for us. Who is Christ? He is the Immanuel, God with us. He is He whose depth of riches is beyond our comprehension, but “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2Cor 8:9).

It is through Christ, the Immanuel that we have a relationship with God. Christ is He through whom God blesses us with heavenly riches. He is He through whom God reveals His wisdom and knowledge. He is He who shares our nature so that we may know the Father in a way that is suitable for our nature.

He died for us that we may have fellowship with the Father. Through him there is friendship between sinful creatures and the holy Creator.

He endured God’s judgement against sin which is beyond human comprehension in order that we may enjoy this fellowship with God.

Shall we not consider these things as we resolve to live a life that redounds to the glory of God and give us the greatest enjoyment of Him today and forever. Amen.

—JJ Lim