If you are still tracking with me through the book of Romans, you may want to grab an aspirin. It is likely that your head is hurting a little bit!
Paul is a brilliant theologian, and I appreciate that he is trying to make the deep truths of God accessible to us through this letter, but I have to admit that it seems easier for him to write than it is for me to read. My head hurts. I need about 14 whiteboards set up so I can try to pull it all together in my tiny little brain.
As he wraps up another incredible concept about God, Paul seems to just stop for a moment and break out in unfettered praise.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33, ESV)
Paul seems to have a decent idea of how difficult it will be to truly understand what he has written. I’m sure he felt the weight of that as he was writing.
Not only does Paul realize that what has been written will be difficult to truly grasp, but he also seems to understand that, for some, it will be difficult to embrace. This realization seems to send him immediately down a slightly different path.
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. (Romans 11:34-36, ESV)
I will be the first to admit that I do not have full understanding of everything I have read in this letter to the Romans, but who am I? I am not God’s counselor. He doesn’t ask me before He Acts. He doesn’t owe me anything. In fact, I owe Him everything! For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To God Be the glory forever! Amen.
Paul’s letter takes a strange turn at chapter 13. After unpacking several chapters worth of theologically rich and deep truths about God, he seems to take off his Theologian hat and replaces it with a Pastoral one. He seamlessly transitions into exhorting the Romans, as fellow believers, to do certain things and not do other certain things.
One pastoral line in particular stood out to me as I was reading:
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. (Romans 15:14, ESV)
Perhaps this is why he felt he was able to go so deep with them in unpacking theological truths. They were already filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. Because of their faithfulness and current level of understanding, he felt the freedom to take a deep dive into the endless mysteries of God.
I am convinced that we, too, will understand what he has written more fully as we grow in knowledge and put what we know into practice.
We have been called by the LORD Jesus to make disciples who will make disciples who will make disciples, etc. How much do you need to know in order to disciple someone? Just a little bit more than they know! Go with what you know, and grow as you go!
As we apply what we know, growing in knowledge, and instructing others along the way, God will continue to reveal to us deeper and deeper truths along the way.