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 counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Sometimes, as Christians, I think that we can being to think we have it all figured out. If we have been Christians for several years, and have read the Bible through a few times, and heard hundreds of sermons and read dozens of devotions, we can fall into the trap of thinking that we have a pretty good grip on all things pertaining to God and the Bible.
But when we read and meditate on verses like these, we are once again reminded that all of our knowledge and wisdom are merely drops in the vast bucket of God’s wisdom. Paul here admires this vastness: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”
We could read and study the Bible for an entire lifetime and not come close to scratching the surface of God’s wisdom. If we could somehow combine all of the wisdom and knowledge of all of the commentators, pastors, evangelists, and teachers of the last century, it would still not come close to the vast wisdom of God Himself.
It is important for us to occasionally stop to think about the God that we serve. It is important for us to meditate on His wisdom and knowledge. Doing this will help us to understand just how little wisdom and understanding we have. Doing this will help us to be more reliant on Him for any wisdom and understanding that we need. He has it all; we have nothing. We would be wise to remember that!
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
The New Testament is very clear about the distinction between works and grace. Good works are good things. Obviously, we all want to have all of the good works that we possibly can have. We want to do all of the good that we can possibly do. But all of that working and doing is never going to save us. The Bible is very clear about the fact that we are saved by grace and saved by grace alone.
This passage is one of many that shows us the difference between works and grace. This passage tells us that the salvation spoken of throughout the book of Romans is either by grace or by works. It cannot be both.
If we are saved by grace, it has to be apart from works. If we were forced to work for our salvation, it would not be grace. It would then be simply a debt. If God told us that we had to do one thousand good works to be saved, and we did one thousand good works, God saving us would not be grace or mercy. It would simply be God paying us what He said He would pay us. Fortunately, God told us no such thing. He told us over and over that we are saved by grace and grace alone.
Let us be thankful today and every day that God is so merciful and gracious that He would offer us salvation apart from any works. Rest in His grace!
God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
When we live in the world and around all of the sin and wickedness on a daily basis, it can feel like we are alone in the struggle for truth and right. We are constantly bombarded with the anti-Christian agenda of the world. Sometimes it even feels like the world’s ways and habits are creeping into the church. It can be easy to get the same point the Old Testament prophet Elijah found himself: “Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.”
We can get like that sometimes. We can start to think that we are the only people trying to do right and trying to live for the Lord. Maybe we look around at other churches and think that ours is the only one standing for the Word of God. Maybe we look at the habits of other families and think that ours is the only one trying to live for God.
But God tells us here the same thing that He told Elijah so long ago: “…there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” God always has a remnant of people who serve Him. In Elijah’s day, that was seven thousand men. Today, it is far, far more than that. The next time we start to feel alone in our Christian walk, just remember these verses. There are people all over the world serving and worshipping God, just like we are. We might not see them all the time, but they are most definitely there.
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet…
Last Saturday, we looked at this Psalm and wondered with the Psalmist just why God is mindful of man. Compared to the glory of the heavens, man would seem to be a very insignificant part of creation. But that is not the way God sees things. God chose to make man, with all of his faults and flaws, “a little lower than the angels.” Verse 6 tells us that he has made man to “have dominion over the works of his hands.” It says that He has “put all things under his feet.” Those are incredible statements.
God created a glorious universe, including the sun, the moon, the stars, the Earth, and all of the plants and animals. He saw His creation and said that it was good. And God chose man to have dominion over all of those things. God chose man to take care of His wonderful and glorious creation.
It is humbling to look around and see the creation that God has given us dominion over. It should give us the desire to be wise stewards over the creation that He has given us.
But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
These verses describe us perfectly. We do not naturally seek after God. We do not naturally want to follow Him. We do not naturally search for Him. He seeks and searches for us. He brings us to Himself.
Verse 21 is technically talking about the nation of Israel, but isn’t it a perfect description of us? “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
We are disobedient. We are rebellious. Yet God still loves us. He still stretches out His hand toward us. He still offers us forgiveness and salvation. Just as it says in Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
As disobedient, rebellious, filthy and sinful as we are (and were), God still loves us enough to send His only Son to die for us. God could see the future. He could see how we would fail Him and rebel against Him. Yet still He loved us. Still He sent Jesus to the cross. Still He stretched out His hand toward us.
John 15:13 tells us “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That is what the Lord Jesus said about us. He went so far as to call us His “friends.” Even before we came to Him, He loved us with an everlasting love. Even before we knew Him, He knew us and He loved us. What a wonderful Saviour!
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
After summarizing the beautiful simplicity of the gospel, Paul pens verses 14 and 15. There is a definite progression to things. A person must call on the name of the Lord to be saved. And a person isn’t going to call on someone they don’t believe in. They aren’t going to believe in someone they have not heard of. They can’t hear about the Lord unless someone gives them the message. And the people who give the message need to be sent. That is the progression of things.
God sends us to preach the gospel of peace and to bring glad tidings of good things. When we tell others about the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that we have “beautiful feet.” When we tell others about the gospel, they can then hear, understand, believe and call on His name.
The gospel is beautiful and simple. But there are millions of people out there who have never heard it. That is up to us to change. God has called and sent us to be the ones to give this beautiful and simple gospel to everyone we can.
How beautiful are our feet today? When was the last time we gave someone this gospel?