In the 11th chapter of Romans, verse 32, Paul proclaims that through the disobedience of all men, God is working out mercy for all. Having drawn this astounding conclusion on God’s work, the apostle breaks forth in a majestic, poetic proclamation about the mind-boggling magnitude of what God has done. This proclamation is one of those portions of scripture that makes the heart race and the mind tingle with excitement. It is one man’s attempt to capture and describe the magnificence of God’s work in bringing salvation to mankind. The actual words of Paul in this passage as given in the King James Version are as follows:
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.
What accounts for Paul’s burst of ecstasy in the context of this text? What has been revealed that makes Paul wax poetic in trying to convey the magnitude of God’s accomplishment? Some may dismiss the text as simply Paul taking an opportunity to proclaim the inscrutability of God and His exalted nature, all of which makes Him unquestionable in all his dealings, however they may appear to man. However, this greatly misses the point in Paul’s writing. God is indeed described as unknowable but not in any sense of remoteness or arbitrariness. Instead Paul concludes, based on his forgoing revelation of God’s redemptive work, that God is unbelievably, unimaginably greater in love and mercy toward mankind than mankind himself could ever have conceived. God’s love is revealed as unconditional, matching the extent of man’s disobedience. Paul sees a God who not only brings redemption to man but makes it foolproof. No wonder Paul is overwhelmed by what he has just revealed.
How different is this euphoria from the spirit of the current day “gospel”, a message of impending judgment and retribution. Could anyone either giving or receiving that message feel their heart soar like that of the Apostle Paul? We don’t see much soaring going on either inside or outside the churches. We were meant to rejoice in the salvation of God. That salvation is truly evidence of the unsearchable riches of a God who loves beyond belief.