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Mystery and Mercy

Read: Romans 11:25-36

For from him and through him and to him are all things. (v. 36)

Romans 11 ends with a final gaze at the mystery of God’s glorious grace in Jesus, climaxing with Paul’s short doxology. Swiss theologian F. L. Godet says, “Like a traveller who has reached the summit of an Alpine ascent, the apostle turns and contemplates . . . there spreads all around an immense horizon which his eye commands” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans). In this panorama of praise, the mystery of God’s mercy is exposed and praised.

Verse 32 describes human disobedience and divine mercy. Jews and Gentiles are both “consigned . . . to disobedience.” This disobedience makes us all prisoners of God’s wrath with no way out. Having no way out means our deliverance through Jesus is based only on God’s mercy and nothing else. Jesus is the promised “Deliverer [who] will come from Zion” and “take away their sins” (vv. 26-27). Once we are freed from the prison of sin, God will not forsake his promise, “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (v. 29).

While Paul’s summary here helps explain God’s mercy, it’s merely a hint of the fullness of God’s glory that we will one day see. On this side of heaven, the mystery of how God’s mercy works can never be fully understood. It can only be explored like a hiker in the Alps, gazing in wonder at the mystery of how sinners like us transform into worshipers who forever enjoy God’s glory. —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, contemplate the glory of God’s mercy.

About the Author

jon opgenorth

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.

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