Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 11:33-12:1
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 11:33
v33: As he concludes his explanation of why so many in Judaism had rejected the gospel and then shown us how God was directing that hostility so even more Jews and Gentiles would be saved (Ro 9-11), Paul bursts out into praise. Apparently, as he was dictating this letter to Tertius (Ro 16:22) what he had just taught moved him deeply. He caught a fresh glimpse of God’s great heart and the depth of mercy He wants to give us (Ro 11:32) and this caused him to cry out in adoration, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” He marvels at the brilliance of God’s plan to take something so negative and redirect it so that it produced something so positive.

Monday: Romans 11:33, 34
v33 (continued): The mystery Paul has just explained is so profound that unless God had chosen to reveal it no human would have ever discovered it by our own powers of reasoning. Yet God did choose to reveal it and when we see how much greater His wisdom and knowledge are than ours we, like Paul, are left humbled and in awe. v34: As Paul worships, the Holy Spirit reminds him of two scripture passages that highlight God’s enormous wisdom and knowledge. He first quotes from a passage in Isaiah which asks, “Who has known the mind of the Lord? And who has been His counselor, to instruct Him?” (Isa 40:13; Paul quotes from the Septuigent).

Tuesday: Romans 11:34 v34 (continued): In that magnificent passage (Isa 40:12-26) God is pictured a Being so large that He can hold the oceans in His hand and measure the expanse of the heavens by using just the span of His hand. Compared to Him the entire human population is as small as a speck of dust, and His power is so great He can bring down kings whenever He chooses. He’s so intelligent He even knows the exact number of stars in the universe and has given a name to each one. By simply mentioning this famous passage from Isaiah Paul expects all of us to remember these familiar images and join him as he bows in worship at the feet of our Creator. What foolishness it would be for any human to think they could discover God’s plans on their own. His mind is so far beyond ours we can never comprehend it, yet He has shown us how much He loves us and how far He will go to rescue even those who have rejected Him.

Wednesday: Romans 11:35
v35: As soon as he finishes quoting Isaiah Paul also remembers God’s question to Job, “Who has given to Me that I should repay him?” (Job 41:11), meaning who is greater than God and taught Him all that He knows. The answer, of course, is no one is even close. The question asked in the midst of a very beautiful description of the extent of God’s knowledge (Job 38:1-41:34). Since Job had considered himself wise enough to judge God, God asks him question after question down to the smallest details of creation. Did Job know what God knows? Earlier Job had misunderstood why he was suffering and had accused God of injustice, so God revealed to him the greatness of His divine mind and how far it reaches beyond the tiny perspective of humans. Then He pressed Job to repent and trust that He had and would do what is right, and Job does (Job 42:1-6).

Thursday: Romans 11:36
v36: Paul concludes this burst of praise with a profound declaration of the greatness of God based on three simple prepositions (words that indicate position, direction, relationship between two objects): from (ex) through (dia) and to (eis). The single answer to both the questions posed by Isaiah and Job (v34-35) is: “No one! No one is God’s counselor. He is indebted to no one.” First of all, everything has come from Him. He alone is the divine source of all that is wise and good, so Paul says the reason He is indebted to no one is because all such wisdom and knowledge has come from, or more literally, “out of” Him. Paul’s next preposition is the word through (dia) which describes something passing between two objects or traveling in the midst of something. In this case he is picturing the created universe (both physical and spiritual, “all things”) immersed in God’s presence (Ac 17:28). It is His Spirit that allows everything to exist. Were He to withdraw, the universe would cease in an instant.

Friday: Romans 11:36
v36 (continued): The final preposition he uses is the word to (eis) and in its more literal sense it means into. So not only do we have our origin in God as our Creator, and continue to exist because He is our Sustainer, but the destiny and goal of all creation is to be immersed in His presence and glorify Him forever. Nothing exists by itself or for itself. All that exists is headed toward an eternal future immersed in the visible “fire” of God’s Spirit (His glory) (Rev 20:11-22:5).

Saturday: Romans 12:1
v1: Paul urgently appeals to every believer who understands the amazing mercies we have received from God to respond by completely devoting ourselves to His service. This, he says, is the only appropriate way to thank Him. We must surrender our lives to Him as completely as if we had placed ourselves on an altar like an animal about to be sacrificed, only in our case we are not there to be slaughtered but rather recruited into His service (Ro 14:7; 1Co 6:19, 20; 2Co 5:15). He compares this offering of ourselves to the animal sacrifices presented in the tabernacle and temple. Just as sweet-smelling smoke rose up from that altar, the surrendered lives of believers are received by God as a well-pleasing offering (Php 4:18). This is the worshipful heart out of which all other expressions of worship flow. And it is this deep attitude which transforms a person’s entire life into an act of worship (Ro 1:1). 

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