The Evangel of God's Glory
“To the only, and wise God through Christ Jesus, be glory for the eons of the eons. Amen!” With these words Paul closes the epistle of Romans. It is as though everything which has been said throughout Romans was leading up to this benediction. It is among the most significant expressions of Romans, and it is a most fitting conclusion to the proclamation of the evangel of God.
The evangel leads to our salvation, but it goes beyond this. It leads to the laud of God’s glory. The real issue in the universe is not our deliverance, but it is whether or not God will succeed in accomplishing what He purposed. The eons (ages) of time must come to an end with unconditional victory for Him.
Few have ever understood this. When the subject of justification is considered from Romans 3:21-4:25, it is usually taken for granted that it exclusively is concerned with man's justification. Yet the very first words of that section of the good news are, “Yet now apart from law, a righteousness of God is manifest” (3:21). The evangel leads to the manifestation of God's righteousness, the revelation of His justification.
God has no intention of having it said of Him at the end of the ages that “He did the best He could, but . . . .” That is not glory! That is a pity. Nor will it be said that He was unjust in any of His dealings. Does He force some into less desirable environments than others? Did He not choose Jacob, the contriving schemer, and reject the brave hunter Esau (Romans 9:13)? Why would He choose the nation of Israel, and then, even more mysteriously, put it aside? Was it not God Who hardened Pharaoh's heart so He could display His power (9:17)? What then, is there unrighteousness with God (9:14)? We must answer with Paul, “May it not be coming to that!”
Surely He would be unrighteous in all of these matters if it were not for the truth of the evangel. It is the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus which will reveal God to be "just and a Justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus" (3:26), and which will resolve all the difficulties.
That is the greatest purpose of the evangel, the explanation of the existence of evil, and the revelation that God was righteous in all that He did and does. It is not, however, a subject easily condensed, and it will need our careful attention if we go through the epistle of Romans. Let us be content with the climax of Paul’s discussion concerning Israel's removal from its privileged position. The question was how could God in justice let Israel go so far from Him and become so stubborn, nor is it that God just LET it happen, but we read that “God gives them a spirit of stupor” (11:8), and that He LOCKS them up in stubbornness (11:32).
The answer is as follows: “these also are now stubborn that now they also may be shown mercy. For God locks up ALL together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all.” “O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! For who knew the mind of the Lord or who became His adviser, or who gives to Him first, and it will be repaid him? Seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all, to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!” (Romans 11:31-36). It is to this end, that the evangel leads, TO THE GLORY OF GOD.
An article to read along these lines would be The Justice of God by Luther
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