Final Thoughts on The Greatest Letter Ever Written {Romans 16}

12:30 AM

We’ve come to the end of this amazing epistle, definitely Paul’s finest and he leaves us with a Doxology! I felt so honored to be able to open and close the study of The Book of Romans, that I have treated it as something holy and have leaned on the Lord just a bit harder for this post. I’ll be honest, I don’t really want to move on, for there is just so much life impacting truths within this one epistle and I have to wonder if Paul knew his readers would be feeling this way as they came towards the end, for he closes with a doxology that actually sums up the whole epistle in just three verses!!

This isn’t the only place Paul used a doxology. There was one in Romans 11:33-36 at the climax of the first eleven chapters which I wrote on last week! There, I explained that the word,  doxology actually means a “praise saying”. The word doxa means praise or glory, and ology, means saying. This also was nothing new for Paul; many books of the Old Testament ended with a doxology, in fact, each book in Psalms ends with one, so Paul was very familiar with the idea of a great book closing this way, and Paul decided to use a “praise saying” to bring this great epistle to a close, while also reminding his readers of  three main truths found within it!
First, it is a gospel to “establish [strengthen]  men”. Paul praises God for the gospel, which establishes you and me. Notice verse 25, "Now to Him who is able to establish [strengthen] you according to my gospel." This was Paul’s theme in chapters 1-3!
The word "establish" simply means “to set steadfastly in an immovable position”, or basically “to settle, to root or confirm somebody”.. The word stērizō basically carries the idea of being mentally settled.
Before we know God, before He becomes Lord of our life and the Bible becomes the Word we live by, we’re unsettled. It’s the same with the world. There is a sense of the struggle for what is the truth on the inside. Men are left to do what they feel is “right in their own eyes” , yet they’re never quite sure that what they believe is the truth. Therefore, Paul is saying that the gospel is able to settle our minds on the truth and what is the right path for our lives, which in my mind brings great comfort and peace.
Now, before we move on, I want to make sure you truly grasp the implication of what Paul is saying. Of all the things Paul could have said about what God does or has done that draws attention to His glory, he chooses to highlight this one thing: “Now to him who is able to strengthen you . . . be glory forevermore . . . .” How does it make you feel to know that God is able to strengthen you and is in the process of doing that right now? “Now unto him who is able to strengthen you . . . be glory forevermore . . . .”
But let me also remind you of a less obvious fact.  Many kings in history and many dictators today also desire to receive glory, but not by strengthening their people. They want to be known as strong and rich and wise, by keeping their citizens weak, poor and uneducated. A strong, educated person is a threat to a dictator, but not to God!
I believe knowing this will cause me to look at my trials in this life a bit more differently from now on, and also cause me to dig that much harder into His Word! But there’s more Paul wants to make sure we understand:
Second, Paul states it is not only a gospel that “is able to establish you” it is a “gospel concerning Jesus Christ”. "Now unto Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ," It is a gospel that proclaims Jesus Christ and all He has done for us!! Starting in chapter 3:20 and continuing all the way until the end of chapter 11 it’s all about Jesus and all we have gained because of all He has done for US! Allow me to list just a few facts Paul includes about our relationship with Jesus:

  • 3: 22 -righteousness comes by the faith of Jesus Christ alone.
  • 3:23 - ALL of us have fallen short of His glory
  • 3:24, we are justified by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  Christ Jesus came, went to the cross, died for our sin, providing the salvation for us.  
  • 5:1-2  says we have peace with God because all Christ Jesus did for us and we are justified through our faith.,
  • 5:8, “ But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • He goes into chapter 6 and says, because of the work of Christ, when we put our faith in Him, we have died to sin.  Sin no longer can condemn us.  Why?  Because Christ took our condemnation and we died in Him and we rose in Him and we walk in newness of life.
  • Romans 8 is all about our eternal security!!  I could go on and on, but let me just add one more
  • Romans 10:9-10 (TNT is dynamite!) “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

All because of Jesus!

Third, it is a gospel revealing a mystery … to bring about our obedience to the faith. “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages, but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith.” Romans 16:25-26
This has been Paul’s theme throughout chapters 12-16. The "mystery" Paul is referring to that has now been revealed and should bring about a heart of ‘obedience of faith’ “is the fact that God intends to unite both Jews and Gentiles into one body .This mystery of the Gentiles joining the Jews in salvation is also discussed in Ephesians 3:1-6 where Paul explained that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body and full partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus,
“Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.  In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” - Ephesians 3:2-6
Finally, Paul chooses to close his epistle with what will occupy our time constantly when we reach heaven,“To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”(16:27)
Paul gives all glory, honor and praise to the only wise God that comes from His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!
Which caused me to wonder, is that the desire of my heart as well? Is it yours? Do I desire to glorify God above all else? I thought of other verses that also speak on God’s glory:
·         “The heavens declare the glory of God.”(Ps 19:1)
·         “The whole earth is full of his glory!” (Is 6:3)
God is calling out to us, “Behold My glory!” We were made to bring Him all praise and glory!! Something deep in our souls should cry, I was made for this — to behold the glory of God and reflect His glory in all I say and do from this day forward…

{I will miss this glorious Book of Romans, but I truly believe I won’t be able to keep away from it for very long.}

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