For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.
This verse is all about client nation status and the utilization of the spiritual heritage a nation is given. Disobedience in this verse means to disobey the Gospel by rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior, which was the status of the Gentiles in general in the dispensation of Israel. Being shown mercy means that God transferred client nation status to Gentile nations and they temporarily enjoy the same spiritual heritage as Israel did by believing the Gospel.
Israel was moving along fine in history, headed for the Millennial reign of the Messiah when Jesus Christ came upon the scene and announced that He was the Messiah and they rejected Him. The result was the introduction of the Church Age, where Israel is temporarily set aside as God’s representative on earth and they are replaced by believing Gentiles and Jews (the body of Christ).
For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.
The entire human race is imprisoned by the imputation of Adam’s original sin. Notice the result of the imputation of Adam’s sin - disobedience. Obviously one of the most important things in life for the control of the sin nature is the opposite, which is obedience. If God locks us up in disobedience because we have a sin nature and the imputation of Adam’s sin then obviously any solution to any problem in life is to go from disobedience (willful rejection) to obedience or positive volition. We often find a phrase in the Bible, “obedience to the Gospel,” which means believing in Christ (positive volition toward Gospel information). (Romans 3:23, 5:12)
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
This is the maximum expression of praise to God in one sentence. It introduces an act of adoration and worship.
The Greek word for depth is “bathos,” which means inexhaustible. In the ancient world when they wanted to say that something was inexhaustible they always used depth. They were thinking about something that they could not probe. They could not look down into the sea and see the bottom. Therefore, that denoted to them something that was inexhaustible. To the Greeks there was no bottom to the sea when they got out into certain places over which they sailed. So that is really what this means: inexhaustibility.
The Greek word for riches is “ploutos” meaning wealth in the sense of abundance of what God possesses. In this context, wealth is what resides in thought. Even though your thoughts are not God’s thoughts at all times, your wealth as far as God is concerned is determined by your ability to think His thoughts a maximum amount of the time. God’s thoughts are found only in His Word. Unsearchable means God’s judgments are unique to Him and mankind can never fully understand them. Unfathomable means that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the ways of God. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
The Greek word for wisdom is “sophia” referring to the sum total of God’s omniscience. The Greek word for knowledge is “gnosis,” which is a reference, in God’s case, to all knowledge. Proper utilization of knowledge is wisdom. God, of course, has both. Therefore, for the believer the principle exists that only proper utilized (applied) Bible doctrine is beneficial for spiritual growth.
Apart from Bible doctrine, we cannot understand the Person, the plan or the policies of God. Bible doctrine, therefore, is the most valuable thing in life, for it is the wealth of God revealed to the Royal Family of God. Therefore, accurate Bible doctrine resident in the soul of the believer is not only the means of spiritual growth and momentum, but it is resident wealth which cannot be taken from us unless we allow it to be. Thinking divine viewpoint is the great pay-off. The wealthy are those who have doctrine resident in the soul. Wealth is measured in terms of Bible doctrine. So we might call these verses Paul’s doxology (an expression of praise to God), with a response to the fantastic doctrine which reveals the wealth of God. The two rhetorical questions in the next verses emphasize the importance of learning Bible doctrine so that we can properly worship God.
For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?
Verse 34 is a quote from Isaiah 40:13-14. There is always someone who thinks he is smart enough to out-think God. Satan is a perfect example. What we know about the Lord’s thinking, the great wealth of God, comes to us from understanding the Scriptures. The mind of Christ is the revealed thought of God.
Knowing Bible doctrine (the mind of Christ) is the purpose of logistical grace that sustains the believer in time. All of us are being kept alive with the primary purpose of learning the mind of Christ and using Bible doctrine while residing in Satan’s world system.
Only the advancing believer can understand the thinking of the Lord, and this is the most basic wealth. All maturing believers are wealthy in the sense of having Bible doctrine because they used it to execute the Christian Way of Life. Thanks to the grace policy of God it is possible for the believer to have the greatest privilege in life, which is to know the mind of the Lord (accurate Bible doctrine).
We do not counsel God, we do not improve God’s policies and we do not help God. The rhetorical question was designed to praise the omniscience of God. Omniscience knows the alternatives, the decisions, the thoughts and the actions that did not occur but could have occurred. The first rhetorical question states dogmatically only members of the Trinity, using the attributes which they possess, know the thoughts, the motives, the decisions and the actions of every creature before any creature existed. While God knew our thoughts, we did not know His thoughts.
The principle in verse 35 is a quote from Job 41:11. No gift is regarded as recompensing, paying back or compensating God. The believer gives to the Lord under principles of giving as a priestly function. You give on the basis of wealth in the soul. All worship demands wealth, and spiritual worship demands Bible doctrine in the soul. In giving, no one is able to bribe God. And, by the way, Paul was not just talking about financial giving, though that is a part of our responsibility as believers. The principle of giving also applies to our time and our talents.
If a believer is occupied with the source of grace (Jesus Christ), he/she will not be distracted by the blessings from God’s grace. This is why the most basic concept of grace is occupation with the Person of Christ. A believer can be so occupied with his/her money or any other blessing, that he/she forgets the source of that money or blessing. In order that this does not occur, true giving is based upon true wealth – Bible doctrine in the soul. Therefore, you give from doctrinal motivation.
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Jesus Christ is the source of our salvation and He is the source of all temporal and eternal blessings. There is no spiritual blessing apart from this Source. He is the source of our logistical support and the source of special blessing. Apart from our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ we have nothing worthwhile. We have our life in Him, we have our support and blessing through Him and when we are properly motivated by Bible doctrine everything we think or do will be directed toward Him for His glory alone. Glory means honor. Jesus Christ deserves all of our honor, our praise and our worship. He gave the most for us and He deserves the most from us. Jesus Christ should be the most important Person in your life!