|Romans 9||Romans 10||Romans 11|
Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
|God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel
FOR WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR: tis gar egno (3SAAI) noun kuriou e tis sumboulos autou egeneto (3SAMI): (Job 15:8; 36:22; Isaiah 40:13; Jeremiah 23:18; 1Corinthians 2:16)
For - Always pause and ponder this important term of explanation.
Paul's first question contrasts the always limited knowledge of man with the infinite knowledge of God. No created being can know the mind of the Lord, except to the extent that He chooses to reveal it. No one is qualified to advise God. God is so wise that He does not need our counsel, and would not profit by it any way.
In Jeremiah we hear the question "But who has stood in the council of the LORD, that he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened?" (Jeremiah 23:18)
The psalmist declares "Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done, And Thy thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with Thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count." (Ps 40:5)
Isaiah asks "Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, and informed Him of the way of understanding (Isaiah 40:13-14)
Paul quotes Isaiah in 1 Corinthians writing "For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE SHOULD INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. (1Corinthians 2:16)
King Nebuchadnezzar the greatest earthly king of his day after being humbled and then returning to his senses, blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him Who lives forever and ever testifying that "All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done? (Amplified "What are you doing")" (Daniel 4:35-note)
Who became His counselor - Answer? No one! But He is our great Counselor. Do you seek His counsel before making significant life decisions?
Godet says sumboulos "denotes one who deliberates with another, and can communicate to him something of his wisdom."
Godet observes that this question "bears on the relation between human and divine wisdom. It is no longer merely the discovery of the secrets of God by the study of His works which is in question, but some good counsel which man might have been called to give to the Creator in the organizing of His plans. The word sumboulos denotes one who deliberates with another, and can communicate to him something of his wisdom. It is therefore a more exalted position than that supposed by the previous question.
Lord (master, owner)(2962)(kurios) conveys the main sense of kurios is that of a supreme one, one who is sovereign and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership and uncontested power. Lord is not merely a name that composes a title, but signifies a call to action so that every saint should willingly, reverently bow down to Jesus Christ. If Christ is our Lord, we are to live under Him, consciously, continually submitting our wills to him as His loyal, loving bondservants ("love slaves"), always seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Mt 6:33-note). According to this practical working "definition" beloved we all need to ask ourselves "Is Jesus Christ my Lord?". "Do I arise each day, acknowledges this is the day the Lord hath made?" (Ps 118:24-note) "Do I surrender my will to His will as I begin each day?" (cp Ro 12:1-note, Ro 12:2-note) Beloved, don't misunderstand. None of us have "arrived" in this area of Jesus as Lord of our lives. And it is precisely for that reason that Peter commands us to continually "grow (present imperative) in the grace (unmerited favor, power to live the supernatural, abundant life in Christ) and knowledge (not just intellectual but transformational) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." (2Pe 3:18-note) So do not be discouraged. Don't "throw in the towel" as they say. Keep on keeping on, pressing (continually = present tense) "on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Php 3:14-note)
Less Complicated Design - Alfonso X, the king of Castile and Leon known as “Alfonso the Wise,” was particularly famous for his patronage of the arts and sciences. The most celebrated work done under Alfonso’s sponsorship was the compilation of the “Alfonsine Tables,” which were published on the day of his ascension to the throne and remained the most authoritative planetary tables in existence for three centuries. The preparation of the tables was very laborious, and Alfonso remarked that if God had consulted him during the six days of creation, he would have recommended a less complicated design. (Today in the Word)
|OR WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN: e tis proedoken (3SAAI) auto kai antapodothesetai (3SFPI) auto: (Job 35:7; Matthew 20:15; 1Corinthians 4:7)
No one has ever made God obligated to him. What gift of ours would ever put the Eternal Self-Existent God in a position in which He were obligated to repay us?
"Who has ever given God something that he didn't already have?" Who has put God in his debt? "Why, everything we are and have comes from him. He gives to us; we don't give to him." There is nothing we could give to God that He doesn't already own or have in abundance.
C. S. Lewis - "To argue with God is to argue with the very power that makes it possible to argue at all!"
Guzik - You can try all you want - but you will never make God a debtor to you. You can’t out-give God. He will never need to repay a debt to anyone. (Romans 11 Commentary)
Speaking to Job, Jehovah asks his choice suffering servant "Who has first given to Me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heavens is Mine. [Therefore, who can have a claim against God, God Who made the unmastered crocodile?] (Amplified, Job 41:11)
Thomas Constable comments that "Job’s observation that God has never needed to depend on human assistance that puts Him in man’s debt (Job 41:11) is also true. The fact that God makes people His partners in executing His will in the world does not mean that He cannot get along without us. He can. (Expository Notes on the Bible)
Hodge - This is not to be confined to giving counsel or knowledge to God, but expresses the general idea that the creature can do nothing to place God under obligation. It will be at once perceived how appropriate is this thought, in reference to the doctrines which Paul had been teaching. Men are justified, not on the ground of their own merit, but of the merit of Christ; they are sanctified, not by the power of their own good purposes, and the strength of their own will, but by the Spirit of God; they are chosen and called to eternal life, not on the ground of anything in them, but according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. God, therefore, is the Alpha and the Omega of salvation. The creature has neither merit nor power. His hopes must rest on sovereign mercy alone. (Romans 11 - Hodge's Commentary on Romans)
Paid back… again (467) (antapodidomi from antí = in turn + apodidomi = render <> from apo = from + didomi = give) means to give back in return for something received. The idea is to practice reciprocity with respect to an obligation (as repaying an obligation - Lk 14:14) thus practicing reciprocity with respect to the obligation. In a negative sense it means to take revenge, pay back, requite, exact retribution or give punishment that is deserved (Ro 12:19, He 10:30 both quoted from Deut 32:35).
Antapodidomi - 7 NT uses - Lk. 14:14; Rom. 11:35; 12:19; 1 Thess. 3:9; 2 Thess. 1:6; Heb. 10:30.
|FOR FROM HIM AND THROUGH HIM AND TO HIM ARE ALL THINGS: hoti ex autou kai di' autou kai eis auton ta panta: (1Chronicles 29:11,12; Psalms 33:6; Proverbs 16:4; Daniel 2:20, 21, 22, 23; 4:3,34; Matthew 6:13; Acts 17:25,26,28; 1Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6, 7, 8, 9, 10; Colossians 1:15, 16, 17; Revelation 21:6)
For - Always pause and ponder this important term of explanation. Remember the context of this great doxology - the primary focus which harmonizes with the Romans 9-11 is God’s great plan of salvation through history, not just for Israel but for all mankind. And thus it is only fitting that Paul ascribe glory to Him Who is the Source, Accomplisher, and Goal of man’s salvation, now and forevermore, world without end. Amen.
Hodge explains the "for" - The reason why man can lay God under no obligation is, that God is himself all and in all; the source, the means, and the end. By him all things are; through his power, wisdom, and goodness, all things are directed and governed; and to him, as their last end, all things tend. (Romans 11 - Hodge's Commentary on Romans)
Henry Alford labeled this verse “the sublimest apostrophe existing even in the pages of inspiration itself.”
From Him means God is the all-sufficient cause and source of everything. God is the Originator of all things. All things come from Him.
Vincent - Of (from) proceeding from as the source: through, by means of, as Maintainer, Preserver, Ruler: to or unto, He is the point to which all tends. All men and things are for His glory (1Cor 15:28).
Denney - from Him, as their source; through Him, as the power by whose continuous energy the world is sustained and ruled; unto Him, as their goal, for whose glory they exist. (Expositor's Greek Testament)
Matthew Poole - all things are of him, as the efficient cause; through him, as the disposing cause; to him, as the final cause. They are of him, without any other motive; through him, without any assistance; and to him, without any other end, i.e. for his sake alone. (Romans 11 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible)
John Trapp - For of him] As the efficient cause, and "through him" as the administering cause, and "to him" as the final cause, are all things. A wise philosopher could say, that man is the end of all in a semicircle; that is, all things in the world are made for him, and he is made for God. (Romans 11 Commentary)
Hodge - The prepositions ek (from), dia (through) eis (to or unto) here used, indicate that God is the Source, the constantly working Cause, and End of all things.
Moule - Lit. out of Him; not in the Pantheistic sense, as if all things were evolved from God—phases of God; but in the Christian sense, that His will is the ultimate source of all being, all life and force, all conscience, will, and thought. (Romans 11 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)
Through Him means God is the mighty sustainer and worker. All things depend on Him.
Moule - through Him - by means of Him. He is not the Source only, but the Means. He did not only originate all things, but incessantly sustains and overrules all. In the special case of the saints, He not only wills their salvation, but—through their regenerated will—gives them power to believe and persevere. “He keeps them, by His power, through faith, unto salvation.” (1Peter 1:5. See too Php 2:13.) (Ibid)
Guzik - Of Him and through Him and to Him are all things: “All these words are monosyllables. A child just learning to read could easily spell them out. But who shall exhaust their meaning?” (Meyer) It is all of Him: This plan came from God. It wasn’t man’s idea. We didn’t say, “I’ve offended God and have to find a way back to Him. Let’s work on a plan to come back to God.” In our spiritual indifference and death we didn’t care about a plan, and even if we did care we aren’t smart enough or wise enough to make one. It is all of Him.. It is all through Him: Even if we had the plan, we couldn’t make it happen. We couldn’t free ourselves from this prison of sin and self. It could only happen through Him, and the great work of Jesus on our behalf is the through Him that brings salvation.. It is all to Him: It’s not for me, it’s not for you, it’s all to Him. It is to the praise of the glory of His grace (Ephesians 1:6). It’s for His pleasure that we are created, and we find our fulfillment in bringing Him glory and honor. To whom be glory forever: The fact that Paul can’t figure out God makes him glorify God all the more. When we understand some of the greatness of God, we worship Him all the more passionately. (Romans 11 Commentary)
Paul wrote to the Colossians extolling our Lord Jesus Christ declaring that "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (See notes Col 1:16; 17; 18; 19; 20)
A W Tozer - An elementary but correct way to think of God is as the One Who contains all, Who gives all that is given, but Who Himself can receive nothing that He has not first given. (The Knowledge of the Holy)
Christ created all things, sustains all things and reconciles all things!
As R Kent Hughes reminds us "One second without God’s power and everything would disappear!… Matter is not God, but God is in everything, and nothing works or exists except through his might." (Hughes, R. K. Romans: Righteousness from heaven. Preaching the Word)
Thomas Constable - God is the source from which all things come, the means by which all things happen, and the goal toward which all things are moving. He is the originator, sustainer, and finisher of everything ultimately (cf. Col 1:16-note). In view of all these things (Ro 11:33–36), He deserves all glory forever. (Tom Constable's Expository Notes on Romans 11)
To Him means God must call every creature to account to Him. All things flow toward God. He is the end purpose. All things will find their culmination in God. He is the reason why all things exist.
Moule - to him - To His glory. He is, to Himself, the Final Cause of all His works. He is greater, higher, nobler, and more precious, than His whole creation; and must view Himself as such: what else, then, but Himself could He make His aim and end? Cp. Colossians 1:16, for the same words, “through Him and to Him” used of the Eternal Son; one of the deepest proofs of His proper Deity. (Ibid)
To help appreciate Paul's description of all things from Him, through Him and to Him, read Chuck Swindoll's description of our tiny solar system, keeping in mind Who it is all from…
Consider the following simple study - observe and record the wonderful truths that accrue through Him - this would make an edifying, easy to prepare Sunday School lesson - then take some time to give thanks for these great truths by offering up a sacrifice of praise… through Him.
Jn 1:3 [NIV reads "through Him"], Jn 1:7, John 1:10, Jn 3:17, Jn 14:6, Acts 2:22, 3:16, Acts 7:25, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:38, 39, Ro 5:9 [note], Ro 8:37 [note], Ro 11:36 [note]; 1Co 8:6, Ep 2:18 [note], Php 4:13 [note], Col 1:20 [note], Col 2:15 [note], Col 3:17 [note], Heb 7:25 [note], Heb 13:15 [note], 1Pe 1:21[note], 1John 4:9
Would you like more study on the wonderful topic of through Him? Study also the NT uses of the parallel phrase through Jesus (or similar phrases - "through Whom", "through our Lord", etc) - John 1:17, Acts 10:36, Ro 1:4, 5- note; Ro 1:8-note, Ro 2:16-note, Ro 5:1-note; Ro 5:2-note Ro 5:11-note, Ro 5:21-note, Ro 7:25-note, Ro 16:27-note, 1Cor 15:57, 2Cor 1:5, 3:4, 5:18, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:5-note, Php 1:11-note, 1Th 5:9-note; Titus 3:6-note, He 1:2-note; He 2:10-note, Heb 13:21-note, 1Pe 2:5-note, 1Pe 4:11-note, Jude 1:25)
All things are from Him, through Him and to Him. To Him be the glory forever. Amen..
Steven Cole - The bottom line for contemplating how God has designed and controls all of history to display His faithfulness and mercy is: Stand in awe of the faithful, merciful God. Thinking about these profound truths moved Paul to burst out in worship (Ro 11:33-36): “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
We will look at those verses in more depth next time, but they teach us that this truth of God’s sovereignty over salvation history is not for debate, but for worship. It should cause us to stand in awe of God and to thank Him for His faithfulness to His promises and to worship Him for showing us mercy.
Conclusion - I conclude with seven practical applications. Some of these will apply more to some than to others, but as they say, “If the shoe fits, wear it!”
(1) Make sure that you have received God’s mercy by repenting of your sins and trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. God has you hearing this message so that as you feel the weight of your sin and guilt, you can turn to Him and know His mercy.
(2) Grow in worship and humility before God as you meditate often on His sovereignty over history and on the mercy that He has shown you. These truths are not just for your brain, but for your heart before God. Humble yourself before the Almighty Sovereign of history.
(3) If you have received God’s mercy, be merciful to other sinners who are racially or morally different than you, especially when they have sinned against you. Paul knew that the gospel should result in redeemed Gentile sinners extending mercy to Jewish sinners, and vice versa. Apart from God’s mercy to you, you would be just as offensive to other sinners as they are toward you. They need mercy, not judgment.
(4) Rely on God’s faithfulness to His promises no matter how contrary to your current circumstances those promises may seem. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all died in faith, without receiving the promises (Heb. 11:13). Don’t stop trusting when you don’t see instant results.
(5) Since in the inscrutable ways of God the destiny of your children and grandchildren is somehow linked to your faith, make sure that for their sakes you walk with God. The disobedience of the Jews in the time of Christ has affected 2,000 years of Jewish history! How frightening! And as Paul has said (11:22), if we Gentiles do not continue in God’s kindness, we (and our descendants) could be cut off. Your walk with God matters to more than just you!
(6) Tell others about God’s great mercy and faithfulness toward sinners who will call upon Him. His purpose in shutting us all up in disobedience is that He might show mercy to all. He is “abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Rom. 10:12b-13).
(7) If you reject Christ, you are an enemy of God. The Jews were God’s enemies because they had rejected the Savior that He had graciously sent. Right now, you’re either the object of God’s mercy through faith in Christ or you’re His enemy, headed toward judgment, because you have rejected Christ. There is no neutral ground. The most loving thing I can say to you is, “Trust in Christ today!”
1 Someone argues, “If God designed and controls history, then He is the author of sin.” How would you refute this biblically?
2 Some argue that verse 32 means that God will save everyone. How would you rebut this error (from Scripture)?
3 How can you know whether you’re maintaining the biblical balance between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility?
4 How can we have a deeper experience of God’s mercy? (Stand in Awe)
TO HIM BE THE GLORY FOREVER AMEN: auto e doxa eis tous aionas; amen: (Ro 16:27; Psalms 29:1,2; 96:7,8; 115:1; Isaiah 42:12; Luke 2:14; 19:38; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21; Philippians 4:20; 1Timothy 1:17; 6:16; 2Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:21; 1Peter 5:11; 2 Peter 3:18; Jude 1:25; Revelation 1:5,6; 4:10,11; 5:12, 13, 14; 7:10; 19:1,6,7)
Moule - to Him be the glory; the glory due to Him. Same words as Ro 16:27; Gal 1:5; Php 4:20; 2Ti 4:18; Heb 13:21; and nearly the same as 2Peter 3:18; Rev 1:6. In the last two passages the ascription is to the Eternal Son. See Rev 1:5.
Chris Tomlin's Glory in the Highest
Glory (1391)(doxa from dokeo = to think) in simple terms means to give a proper opinion or estimate of something and thus the glory of God expresses all that He is in His Being and in His nature, character, power and acts. He is glorified when He is allowed to be seen as He really is. To be where God is will be glory. To be what God intended will be glory. To do what God purposed will be glory.
Charles Ryrie says that the glory of God "is the manifestation of any or all of His attributes. In other words, it is the displaying of God to the world. Thus, things which glorify God are things which show the characteristics of His being to the world."
Spurgeon words on giving God glory will surely move you to take a moment today and do so and then to contemplate how you might live your life daily to His glory. Herein is a powerful devotional exhortation (read also his preceding words on doctrine which prompted such devotion) from one of God's sweetest singers…
To Him be the glory… indeed let us…
I love J Vernon McGee's comment on this last phrase "To whom be glory”—the glory belongs to Him in all ages. Are we robbing God of His glory by taking credit for things we have no business to claim? The glory belongs to Him. Oh, my friend, what a section of Scripture we have been in, and we leave it reluctantly." (Romans 11 Commentary- multiple Mp3's on this chapter from Thru the Bible)
Hodge - Such is the appropriate conclusion of the doctrinal portion of this wonderful epistle; in which more fully and clearly than in any other portion of the word of God, the plan of salvation is presented and defended. Here are the doctrines of grace; doctrines on which the pious in all ages and nations have rested their hopes of heaven, though they may have had comparatively obscure intimations of their nature. The leading principle of all is, that God is the source of all good; that in fallen man there is neither merit nor ability; that salvation, consequently, is all of grace, as well sanctification as pardon, as well election as eternal glory. For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things; to Whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11 - Hodge's Commentary on Romans)
Amen (4243)(amen [OT = Amen (0543) amen]) is a transliteration of the Hebrew noun amen and then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. Amen has been called the best-known word in human speech. To say “Amen” confirms a statement by someone else. Amen is a response to something that has just been said, except in Jesus' teachings. Jesus, the ultimate "Amen" (Rev 3:14), is the supreme authority and so it is clearly apropos that His teachings be introduced by amen. John's Gospel has 25 uses of "amen" and every use is a double amen (or double "truly" in the NAS - 25 times). None of the other 3 Gospels use a "double amen." It is also notable that in the four Gospels, amen is used only by our Lord Jesus Christ, almost always "to introduce new revelations of the mind of God." (Vine) Every use of "amen" or "truly" by Jesus serves to affirm what follows and by extension to cause us to pay close attention to the teaching. The Pauline uses of amen occur primarily at the close of his prayers or doxologies, and as such serve to confirm them as "it is firm" (or "so let it be").
Forever - literally this reads "to the ages." Moule - "through all future periods and developements of existence. Same words as Romans 9:6."
Forever (165)(aion) as implied by the numerous ways it is translated into English is somewhat difficult to define. The specific meaning of aion is best determined by the context in which it is used and in this verse clearly means forever.
C H Spurgeon writes the following devotional on Romans 11:36…
F B Meyer commenting on "Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things" writes that…
Let us join with the hymn writer Horatius Bonar and sing out (play the hymn)…