33Oh, 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 him?”
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
……………………………………….. Romans 11:33-36
I love how, in this doxology, Paul weaves together words from the Old Testament as he closes out one part of his letter and begins another. (Paul has just been speaking on the grace and mercy of God who has ordained, justified, and sanctified the Saints but who has turned his back on those who will not have him. Beginning in Romans 12, the message takes a new course—a lesson in living a life of worship and of love.)
As I was reading chapter 5 of Book I in C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, I was reminded of this passage. When I looked it up, I read the whole of Romans 11 (for context), and had to stop and read, and re-read verse 32: “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” It is with THOSE words ringing in my soul that I must read verses 33-36. It is with THAT verse echoing in my mind that I must read the much-studied, much talked-about Romans 12.
For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. ….. Romans 11:32
Therefore my brothers, in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, and you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will. ….. Romans 12: 1-2