“Wrestling With Romans”
Unsearchable, Inscrutable, God (Chapter 11 Verses 33-36)
The Apostle naturally expresses himself in Old Testament language (v34), an adaptation of Isaiah (Isaiah 40.13; Job 41.11). The things pertaining to the mind of the Lord can’t be known or understood without the Spirit of the Lord (1Corinthians 2.14). They can’t be accepted, received on a merely human level, the help and the counsel of the Spirit is a necessity. The reason why? They’re simply foolishness to them, their view of the world and the world to come from the ground floor is twisted, bent out of shape, distorted (Romans 1.21-23). That is also the reason for their rejection of the cross of Jesus (1Corinthians 1.18 & 23). A person can be seen for what they are by their response to the cross. But neither can they understand, because like is known by like, without the Spirit of God, they lack the one essential quality that enables understanding – spirituality. The mind of the Lord can only be understood via spiritual means. It is the Spirit who broods over lost humanity, illuminating, revealing, convicting, enabling people to hear and understand. One of the amazing things about preaching is how the same message affects different people in different ways, some to repentance, some to courage, some to faith, some to humility, some to hope, just as the soul has a particular need, he knows. The mighty, skilful, Counsellor, who takes his word and makes known to people the mind of the Lord (v34).
To whom is God indebted (v35)? Answer? None! On the contrary it is we who are indebted to him. It is he who has given to us, of his great and immeasurable love and mercy:
“O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free,
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In it’s fullness over me. (S.T. Francis).
No, says Paul, everything, absolutely everything comes from him (v36). The infinite God, infinite in all his attributes, in wisdom and knowledge, he is the beginning, the origin of all things, and the end, the final goal of the whole universe. Paul is lifted here by the Holy Spirit to the heights of praise and exaltation of the one who loved him and saved him, ‘to him be the glory for ever.’ An acknowledgment that we too who have this God for our God, ought in the same way to honour, worship and adore him, and that forever, and ever – Amen!
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)