The Purpose of Doctrine

Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

"For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?"

"Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?"

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever, Amen.

Paul ends Romans 11 with this statement of praise.  However, on first glance it seems like a rather unexpected turn.  This praise is not exactly a part of his theological treatise.  Rather, it bursts forth at the culmination of so much of his rich discussion on the character of the Lord.  Having spent 11 chapters explaining the grace and mercy of our God, I love how Paul almost can't contain himself.  He has to stop what he's doing in order to praise the Lord.

Rather than just giving us instructions on how to praise, rather than just giving us encouragements that we ought to praise, he simply praises God.  

Do you see how appropriate that is?

For isn't this the purpose of our theology?  Why is it important that we know more about who our God is and what he has done for us?  In order that we may give him all the glory.  

Look at how Paul is compelled to stop in recognition of the depths of the Lord, "How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" The Lord is high and exalted above his creation.  His plans, his purposes, his reasons are far above and beyond us all.  "For who has been his counselor?" 

And yet - what is it that enables Paul and us to praise God in such lofty and exalted words?

Notice that it's not because God is secretive or hidden - rather, it's because of what God has revealed that causes Paul to praise him in this way.

We can say he is unsearchable and inscrutable, not because he is unknown, but precisely because he has made himself known.  It's because he keeps showing us more of his riches and wisdom and knowledge, that we marvel.  

It's not the standing on the shoreline that is causing Paul to marvel at the depth of this ocean.  It's that our Lord has been taking us further and further out, into the riches of his knowledge and wisdom, that compels us to acknowledge how vast and infinite his wisdom truly is.  

And therefore, isn't worship the highest goal of our doctrine?  The purpose of our Doctrine then ought to drive us to Doxology.  

The more we know our God, it's not simply that we therefore ought to praise him, rather, the more we know the character of our God, the more we have to praise him.  the more we know of his love, the more we stand in awe at how inexhaustible his love is.  The more we know of his mercy, the more we marvel at his tireless compassion.  The more we know of his wisdom, the more we marvel at the depth of his riches and wisdom and knowledge.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever, Amen.  

In Christ,

—Rev. Paul Johnson


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