Scripture Reading: Romans 1:1-7
Sermon Title: Benediction: To God be the Glory
Sermon Text: Romans 16:25-27
Key verse: Romans 16:24
Introduction: The Glory of God
Glory to God who establishes us
Glory to the only wise God
Glory to God through Jesus Christ
Glory to God forever
This manuscript is provided as a courtesy. It is not always followed word for word during the message. This document is not developed for publication; there may be grammatical errors throughout. Unfortunately, there is not always time to proof read. I choose to use my available time for studying, finding ways to explain the truths of Scripture while keeping a balance of time for visiting and discipling people in the church. Thanks for understanding.
The letter to the Romans finishes with one sentence which is punctuated with an amen. This sentence is a repeat of what Paul said in the introduction of the letter. It is a grammatically challenging sentence in both Greek and English; but, is made easier to understand by simply taking the first three words and the last four words and putting them together. Quite simply, the sentence says, “Now to Him be the glory forever.”
The rest of the sentence tells us why to God belongs the glory.
To God be the glory. The word glory means that which is beautiful, magnificent, or splendorous. When we consider what is glorious about God, we consider that which is most awesome about God.
There are many awesome and beautiful attributes of God. God is glorious because He is all-powerful, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, and all-knowing. He is glorious because He is Creator of the Universe. These attributes of God are marvelous to behold and truly glorious. But there is more to God’s glory.
What is important for us to know is how God defines His glory. God knows God best. If we were to ask God, God show us your glory, reveal to us simple human beings what it is that makes You glorious, what would God say? The Bible tells us exactly what God would say because recorded history tells us of a man who asked God this very question and God revealed His glory to this man. Moses asked God to see His glory.
But, God could not completely reveal His glory to Moses. God knew no man may look upon His glory and live. So, God took Moses and hid him in a crevice in the mountain as God walked by Moses. Because Moses could not look at God’s glory, God spoke and declared His glory. In other words, it is as if God said, “since you cannot see My glory with your eyes, let me describe what you would see as I pass by.”
This is what God said as He passed by Moses,
Exodus 34:6-7 “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished ….”
God’s revealing of His glory to Moses tells us exactly how we are to think of God’s glory. God is glorious because He compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, filled with mercy, filled with truth. God is glorious because He forgives sin. And God is glorious because he punishes the guilty. God is the judge of evil, and God is the Savior from evil.
We see all the glory of God packed into this final sentence of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Let’s read the closing of Paul’s letter together.
Romans 16:25-27 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
We are to put our faith in the only wise God to whom belongs all the glory forever. The passage gives four declarations of God’s glory.
The first declaration is:
The benediction begins with, “Now, to Him who is able to establish us according to the gospel and the preaching of Christ” it is He, God to whom belongs the glory.
The gospel is proclaimed through people sharing the truth to others and by the preaching of Jesus Christ. The sharing and preaching of the gospel lead to its acceptance by faith. The gospel establishes God’s people. We are established, meaning we can stand where we could not stand before. We were once dead in our sins, unable to stand, unable to breathe, and we were sons and daughters of disobedience.
We are established and can say, Glory to God because He keeps us from stumbling. We are established in God’s holy Word. The wind blows, the earth shakes, the armies march, and through it all, because of the Gospel and the preaching of Christ, we can stand firm. We stand before God as His children, holy, blameless, and above reproach. We are established in the family of God: His church. We are established as citizens of His Kingdom. We are established as joint-heirs with Christ. All of our hope, all of our victories, and all of our freedom come about because we are established.
There is no other thing or no other person able to establish us; only the Gospel establishes us and makes it so we may stand. The narrative of the gospel begins in the Garden of Eden and continues to unfold until the last trumpet sounds, and Christ will come to receive His Saints. It is totally God’s doing from beginning to end. The only contribution we have is that we are sinners who need salvation. We have nothing to do with the gospel except to receive it by faith. It is all God. He deserves all the glory.
To Him who is able to establish us according to the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory.
Paul further clarifies the gospel. The gospel is the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past but now is manifested, and it is manifested by the Scriptures of the prophets.
The Gospel has not always been fully revealed. As Paul says, the gospel is a revelation of a mystery that was kept secret for long ages past.
The ages past goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. The Bible has what theologians call, “progressive revelation”: the unveiling through time of the complete truth about the saving knowledge of Christ. The gospel is progressively revealed by the Scriptures. The prophets of God wrote as God breathed out His glory. The first revelation was in the Garden of Eden when God said through the seed of Eve our adversary will be crushed. God revealed salvation in the Passover with the Lamb’s blood upon the door. God revealed His holiness and judgment when He gave the Law of Moses to His people. God revealed the Savior would sit upon the throne of King David. God revealed to the prophet of Isaiah the Messiah would be bruised for our sins and would bear our punishment for our salvation. God revealed through the prophet Malachi that Jesus would have John the Baptist as a forerunner to prepare the way.
From ages past the full secret of salvation in God the Son, Jesus Christ, has been unveiled piece by piece. God used pictures of lambs, tabernacles, altars, priests, thrones, kingdoms, nations, prophets, and shadows of things to come to slowly and beautifully unfold the picture of salvation. After all the images and shadows were revealed, in the town of Bethlehem, the revelation of God’s glory became living breathing flesh.
Knowledge of the Messiah builds piece by piece beginning with the revelation that He will crush the serpent’s head, and he will bruise His heel, and ends with the revelation Christ the Messiah will reign supreme over all things.
God’s purpose regarding salvation has not always been known, but now God has made known to us the mystery of His will. God has revealed this one who was born in the flesh, God the Son, will have all things summed up in Him. God’s will is now fully revealed that He has purposed all things to be in subjection to Christ: things in the heavens and things on the earth (Eph. 1:9-10).
The mystery that was a secret for long ages past and is now manifested is being revealed according to the commandment of the eternal God. God, in eternity past, determined the perfect timing of what should be revealed and when. The timing of God’s revelation is completely accomplished according to His perfect commands. God decree, and truth is revealed.
There is no chance or accidental unveiling of truth. God has always been and will always in the future be, sovereignly in command of every moment and every event of salvation. Romans 5:6 states at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Christ came to earth and died at the perfect time appointed by God.
Each event, every word spoken, and every person involved in this great demonstration of God’s love is carried out with perfect timing. Christ’s death took place at the precise century, year, month, week, day, and even the hour of the day that God determined. It occurred at a perfect time of Israel’s history and at the perfect time of Roman occupation of Jerusalem. God timed Christ's death perfectly so it would occur on a Roman crucifix during the Passover sacrifice.
God raised Jesus from the dead three days later to perfectly coincide with the time Jonah spent in the belly of a fish. Every event of salvation required a time for God to say, “Now. Now. Now.”
We know from Scripture the second coming of Christ, to judge the world and to bring the Saints into His Kingdom, is perfectly planned and perfectly timed by the Father. At the right time, Christ died. At the right time, Christ will return by the commandment of the eternal God.
To God be the glory because He commands with utmost authority the revelation of His glory. Just as God’s sends out lightning according to His command, God commands His compassion and grace to go forth. He commands His forgiveness, love, truth, and His justice to go forth by His decree.
God has commanded His Gospel to be made known to all the nations, and the fact that all the nations are given an invitation to salvation was once a mystery. Paul writes to the church in Ephesus and says the proclamation of the gospel to all nations has been hidden in God for ages, and was not made known to men of previous generations. The Apostle Paul’s generation of the First Century was the first to have their eyes opened to the universal application of the gospel.
In earlier ages, it appeared God was only revealing His glory to the nation of Israel. To Israel belonged the prophets who gave the Scriptures. To Israel belonged the priests and the temple for the sacrifice of sins. To Israel belonged the Law and the Covenants. To Israel God said you are my beloved; I have known you. All the other nations beheld the glory of God as it was revealed through the nation of Israel.
During the time of the Apostle Paul, he witnessed first-hand an incredible growth of nations establishing a church. That work of God has not stopped but has multiplied extensively in the past 2000 years. God is revealing His glory to all nations. God scattered His people into all the nations and made His truth known in over 2500 languages. Although some numbers are very small, every nation in the world today has a population of people who belong to Christ.
Jesus Christ does not belong to Israel. Jesus said so Himself when He spoke to Nicodemus. Jesus said to him, “God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
There is a purpose in God’s revelation to all the nations. The purpose of God is the Gospel will bring about obedience of faith. Again, Paul repeats a phrase from the introduction of the letter to the Romans. In the introduction, Paul said he proclaims the gospel he received, “to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake.” God is calling all of mankind to obedience of faith.
Obedience of faith is the proper response to this letter Paul has written to the Romans, and obedience of faith is the proper response to all of God’s Holy Word. Obedience of faith is obedience of believing. It believes God is good. It believes God offers forgiveness. It believes God planted a tree in the Garden of Eden, and we should not eat of the tree because if we do we will surely die.
The sin nature of man is not believing Go, and therefore not obeying God. People do not believe God’s commands of do not lie; honor your mother and father; do not covet your neighbor’s wife or your neighbor’s house but be satisfied with what God has given you or you will face eternal judgment. We look at all of mankind and see God’s commands are not believed. The gospel declares all have sinned against God and face eternal judgment and punishment. People laugh and scoff at what God has said; they do not have obedience of faith.
Abraham believed God, and God credited His belief as righteousness. If we believe the gospel, God is willing to forgive us for our sins. He is willing to wipe the slate clean and cast our sins as far as the east is from the west. God looks upon those who are willing to place their faith in Him, and God bestows upon them His glory of compassionate and mercy. God looks upon them and commands His grace and forgiveness to go forth upon them, and He adopts them as His children.
The Gospel declares there is only one way to be right before God, and that is by faith. We may not become acceptable to God by doing good works. If a person works their entire life helping the poor, but they do not put their faith in the gospel, they are not accepted by God. Nobody is acceptable to God because our parents have faith. God says every person must put their faith in Christ, and it doesn’t matter whose bloodline you may be from. Your father may be the Apostle Peter, but that does not save you. Only faith saves.
God has revealed His glory through the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ. The gospel is manifest through God’s revealing of His divine mysteries spoken of by His prophets of old. At God’s command, His Word has gone forth to all the nations and God is calling all people to obedience of faith. Sin is the problem of all men from every nation, and the gospel declares obedience of faith is the answer.
We are to put our faith in the God who establishes us by His gospel. The second declaration of God’s glory is:
The closing sentence of Romans declares glory to the only wise God. There is no other god with such manifest wisdom. We see the wisdom of God everywhere we place our eyes.
Mankind builds big and powerful telescopes to gaze into the wisdom of God’s creation of supernovas, black holes, galaxies, and billions of stars and planets all spinning and tracking in perfection. Mankind builds strong and powerful microscopes to gaze at DNA, cell nuclei, and photons, neutrons, quantum wave signatures, quarks, and nuclei. Those who build the telescopes, and those who build the microscopes, always conclude that to see more, they need stronger and more powerful instruments.
God has created the powers of the Universe such as the cosmological constant, entropy, gravity, and nuclear forces holding everything in place. God establishes authorities, principalities, and powers. God sets up kings, and God tears them down. God establishes the boundaries of the nations and the boundaries of the oceans and streams. God set the seasons and the days, the months and the years.
God created all the creatures, some we have yet to lay our eyes upon as they are still discovering new species of animals, birds and fish and new flowers, trees, and plants.
There is no end to the wisdom of God. Mankind seeks to understand the physics and mathematics underlying Creation and has yet to understand it all. Scientists dedicate their entire lives seeking to understand specific fields of study, and after all is said and done, they never achieve complete understanding. Every person mankind deems to be an expert on any subject falls short of God’s wisdom. As Job says, we only understand but a whisper of God’s ways.
The Scriptures are filled with the wisdom of God. God’s word, as D.A. Carson describes, is like a pond where an elephant may be fully immersed and a child may play without drowning. Theologians are forever seeking to unlock the full wisdom of God, and, after a lifetime of searching; they end their lives with declarations marveling at the depth of God’s wisdom.
The unfolding of God’s wisdom throughout history is nothing short of remarkable. Events in the history of the Israelites such as the flood, the Exodus, the wilderness, the conquest of the Promised Land, raising up of judges and kings, and the Babylon captivity all work to reveal God’s sovereignty. Layered into these events we have priests, altars, sacrifices, and incense all symbolizing and pointing to the cross.
God brings verification of His working and salvation by providing prophetically detailed predictions of events before they happen, so when they do happen, we know it can only be from His hand. God also verifies His Word by providing awesome signs and wonders, which may only be explained as coming about because of the mighty Hand of God orchestrating and bringing to pass their occurrence.
We are to put our faith in God because everything God has done is wise. God is the only wise God, and God’s wisdom has all the glory. The third declaration of God’s glory written in the final benediction in Romans is:
There is one place we profit the most in seeking to know the wisdom of God and that is to examine the truth of the Gospel and the manifestation of God’s wisdom in Jesus Christ. In Christ we receive the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mysteries. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3). Jesus is the greatest revelation of God’s wisdom. Jesus is the truth of God revealed for all mankind to look upon and worship.
1 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Jesus and the Father are one. If we desire to see the glory of God we have no further place to look than to look upon Jesus. When we see Jesus, we see the Father.
Jesus is the image of the invisible God. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. Jesus is before all things and in Him, all things hold together. Jesus will come to have first place in everything, and every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord of all things. It is God’s pleasure for Jesus to be the Savior of mankind and for our peace with God to come about by the blood of Jesus’ cross.
When God declared His glory to Moses upon Mount Sinai, He was describing to Moses the Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ are God’s compassion and grace. Jesus is abounding in lovingkindness, and He is the truth. Jesus forgives sin. Jesus will judge the living and the dead, and will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. Jesus is the complete manifestation of God’s glory.
We are to put our faith in God because everything God has done for His glory is through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The fourth declaration of God’s glory written in the benediction is:
The letter to the Romans ends with, “be the glory forever. Amen.” To Him who is able to establish us, to Him be the glory forever. God’s glory is not a flash in the pan, but it is an established eternal fact. God has always been glorious in eternity past, and He will remain glorious in eternity future.
Nothing is more passionate to God than His glory. All He has ever done and all that He will forever do is for the sake of His glory. God’s overwhelming passion is to exalt, magnify, display, protect, and vindicate His glory. God opposes all enemies of His glory, or those that think too little of it. It is clearly the uppermost reality in His affections.
God brought to pass every event of salvation history for His glory. The Bible says Creation (Is. 43:7), setting apart Abraham and the Nation of Israel (Is. 49:3), the Exodus (Ex. 14:4, 18), giving of the Law (Ex 20:3-5), preserving the rebellious people in the wilderness (Ez. 20:21-22), the conquest of the Promised Land (Jos. 24:12-14), the establishment of Kings (1 Sam 12:19-23), the establishment of the temple, exiling of Israel and Israel’s restoration (Ez. 36:22-32), the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Jn 21:19, Rm 6:4), the salvation of the saints (Ps 21:5), the Second Coming of Christ (Mt. 16:27; Mk 8:38) and the final Judgment (Ez 39:21, Mt 16:27) all take place for God’s glory.
Our salvation is directly linked to God’s glory. We are saved because God is glorious. It is God’s glory to bestow mercy upon whomever He desires to show mercy. If we have been shown mercy, it is because God sought to reveal His glory. God’s glory is His compassion and mercy and forgiveness of sins.
Why is this important? It is important because our salvation does not depend on us. Our salvation depends upon the everlasting eternality of God’s glory. The only way we may lose our salvation is if God loses His glory.
Therefore, the eternal nature of God’s glory gives us the greatest of assurance for our salvation. Asking the question, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” is the same as asking, “Who will separate God from His glory?”. Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, none of these things will separate us from the love of Christ because none of these things will separate God from His glory. In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer, because we do so through Christ who loved us and gave His life for us, and He did all this for the sake of God’s glory.
God’s compassion, mercy, truth, and judgment were established before the foundation of the world. God predestined us to adoption through Jesus Christ according to the kind intention of His will. God always has caused, and always will be causing, all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, and His purpose is to reveal His glory.
I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, nor things present, nor things to come, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. To God be the glory forever!
Glory to God, who establishes us, glory to the only wise God, glory to God through Jesus Christ, and glory to God forever. What are the implications of these truths? How should we respond?
Believe. Have obedience of faith. If you have not believed God by putting your faith in Jesus Christ, I urge you to do so. You are guilty before God because you have broken His commandments. God’s glory is He is the judge, and He has said He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. To not punish the guilty would be for God to forsake His glory; something He never will do. Do not look at the cross and say, “I have no need of God’s mercy.” The God of peace is holding out an olive branch. Will you humble yourself and receive the peace He is offering? I beseech you, be reconciled to God. Receive grace and forgiveness by believing in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
If you have put your faith in God, and Jesus is your Lord and Savior, give God the glory. Praise Him. Worship Him. Live your life for Him. Thank God because He is good, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and truth. Give God the glory for He has forgiven your sins. Be established in the Gospel. Know there is nothing that may separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6)