“As nothing is more easy than to think, so nothing is more difficult than to think well.” – Thomas Traherne (17th Century English poet and theologian)
If we ever think well, it should be when we think of God. Surely Tozer was right: “What comes into our minds when we think of God is the most important thing about us”. You and I are shaped by who (or what) we worship. At the end of Romans 11, Paul finishes major theological treatise to the Roman Christians. Then, his theology bursts forth into doxology:
33 “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
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 them?”
36 For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-35
God is… In all of these traits we remember that, when it comes to God, we must first believe and then understand. Faith precedes reason when we approach God because He is beyond our understanding.
- all-wise (vs. 33) – the wisdom of God is unfathomable. All God’s acts are done with perfect wisdom. His wisdom is His ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve perfect ends with the most perfect means. A.W. Tozer- in “The Knowledge of the Holy” wrote, “All of God’s acts are done with perfect wisdom, first for His glory, and then for the highest good for the greatest number for the longest time.” Not only could His acts not be better done: a better way to do them could not be imagined. His plans cannot be improved. He is wisdom unimagined.
- all-just (vs. 33) Revelation 4 tells us that Jesus is seated on His throne- He is in the highest place- of all authority and all judgment. He is just, righteous, perfect in everything He does. Every decision He makes is perfect. He does not seek counsel from anyone. He does not conform to some other opinion. He is always right, simply acting like Himself in every situation. His goodness and compassion flows out of His justice, because goodness without justice is not goodness.
- all-knowing (vs. 34) To say that God is omniscient is to say that He has perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn- who’s going to teach Him something? God knows instantly and effortlessly all things. Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows nothing more than He knows anything else, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything. His knowledge is infinite. He is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything, He doesn’t seek information or ask questions. He is self-existent and self-contained and knows what no creature knows- Himself, perfectly. Only the Infinite can know the infinite. He is eternal and infinite. He is eternal in time and He is infinite in all of His qualities. When Moses said He is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 90), he was saying that God has no beginning and no end. That God appears at time’s beginning is not too difficult to grasp but to say that He appears at the beginning and the end- at the same time is hard to grasp. But it is true. He is the God of the past AND the God of the future. He is the eternal NOW- He has no past and no future. When words that describe “time” are used in the Bible they refer to us not Him. It’s why Revelation 4 says, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty- Who was, and is, and is to come.” He has already lived all of our tomorrows just as He has lived all of our yesterdays. From Him everything that will happen has already happened. God is beyond our comprehension and what God thinks when He thinks of Himself, only He can know. All this to say- He is transcendent, that is, He is far above what human thought can imagine. T.S. Eliot asked, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
- all-sufficient (vs. 35) No one can give Him anything. He is self-existent. No onemade Him. A more positive assertion of selfhood could not be imagined than the words of God to Moses: “I AM THAT I AM.” You cannot add to me. I don’t need anything. “Need” is a creature word. Nothing is complete in and of itself but requires something outside of itself in order to exist. All breathing things need air; every organism needs food & water. Every created thing needs some other created thing to keep it alive & all things need God. To God alone nothing is necessary. In fact, the word “necessary” is completely foreign to God. He is Supreme over all and cannot be elevated. You can’t add to Him. You can’t give Him anything that He needs. He doesn’t need our praise. God doesn’t need our approval. We are so prideful, and we think so lofty of ourselves, it is quite easy- even enjoyable- to think that we are necessary to God. He loves us, but He doesn’t need us. We cannot add to His infinite worth, we do not enhance Him, increase His value. And our worship of Him adds nothing to Him. If every man on earth were to become an atheist it would not effect Him in the least.
As Paul closes this doxology he says that all things are “from Him”. God is the Giver, is the Source; He is the Initiator. He says all things are “through Him”. God is the Deliverer the Provider, the Sustainer; He is the avenue by which the gift is delivered. All things come “through Him”. Not only that, but God is, at the same time, the Receiver. All things are “to Him”. He is the beginning and the end. His glory is the goal. And Jesus teaches us that God IS the Gift. He is delivering Himself to us. Not only is it from Him, through Him and to Him but it is Him!
“For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16
What is God receiving? Look at the gift that God is giving and receiving through us! He is receiving THE GLORY. The word here is doxa. It translates literally as “an opinion”. In the New Testament it is always a good opinion that results in praise. What is God giving Himself through you? He wants you to respond to who He is and what He has done with such a high opinion of Him that results in praise. Commentator Douglas Moo asks, “What should be our response to our contemplation of God’s supremacy in all the universe? Like Paul’s, doxology.”
Perhaps the greatest of all of God’s qualities is the fact that He is all-loving. All of God’s greatness- every one of His eternal and infinite qualities- have found their expression most perfectly in a single Person. His name is Jesus. In Him our worship takes a dramatic Christological shift. Scotty Ward Smith writes, “Jesus turns our theology into doxology.” In the end, the purpose of our lives is live every day, and throughout eternity, “to the praise of His glorious grace!” Colossians 1:6