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27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.


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27. To God, &c.—"To the only wise God through Jesus Christ, be"—literally, "to whom be"; that is, "to Him, I say, be the glory for ever. Amen." At its outset, this is an ascription of glory to the power that could do all this; at its close it ascribes glory to the wisdom that planned and that presides over the gathering of a redeemed people out of all nations. The apostle adds his devout "Amen," which the reader—if he has followed him with the astonishment and delight of him who pens these words—will fervently echo.

On this concluding section of the Epistle, Note, (1) In the minute and delicate manifestations of Christian feeling, and lively interest in the smallest movements of Christian life, love, and zeal, which are here exemplified, combined with the grasp of thought and elevation of soul which this whole Epistle displays, as indeed all the writings of our apostle, we have the secret of much of that grandeur of character which has made the name of Paul stand on an elevation of its own in the estimation of enlightened Christendom in every age, and of that influence which under God, beyond all the other apostles, he has already exercised, and is yet destined to exert, over the religious thinking and feeling of men. Nor can any approach him in these peculiarities without exercising corresponding influence on all with whom they come in contact (Ro 16:1-16). (2) "The wisdom of the serpent and the harmlessness of the dove"—in enjoining which our apostle here only echoes the teaching of his Lord (Mt 10:16)—is a combination of properties the rarity of which among Christians is only equalled by its vast importance. In every age of the Church there have been real Christians whose excessive study of the serpent's wisdom has so sadly trenched upon their guileless simplicity, as at times to excite the distressing apprehension that they were no better than wolves in sheep's clothing. Nor is it to be denied, on the other hand, that, either from inaptitude or indisposition to judge with manly discrimination of character and of measures, many eminently simple, spiritual, devoted Christians, have throughout life exercised little or no influence on any section of society around them. Let the apostle's counsel on this head (Ro 16:19) be taken as a study, especially by young Christians, whose character has yet to be formed, and whose permanent sphere in life is but partially fixed; and let them prayerfully set themselves to the combined exercise of both those qualities. So will their Christian character acquire solidity and elevation, and their influence for good be proportionably extended. (3) Christians should cheer their own and each other's hearts, amidst the toils and trials of their protracted warfare, with the assurance that it will have a speedy and glorious end; they should accustom themselves to regard all opposition to the progress and prosperity of Christ's cause—whether in their own souls, in the churches with which they are connected, or in the world at large—as just "Satan" in conflict, as ever, with Christ their Lord; and they should never allow themselves to doubt that "the God of peace" will "shortly" give them the neck of their Enemy, and make them to bruise the Serpent's head (Ro 16:20). (4) As Christians are held up and carried through solely by divine power, working through the glorious Gospel, so to that power, and to the wisdom that brought that Gospel nigh to them, they should ascribe all the glory of their stability now, as they certainly will of their victory at last (Ro 16:25-27). (5) "Has the everlasting God … commanded" that the Gospel "mystery," so long kept hid but now fully disclosed, shall be "made known to all nations for the obedience of faith" (Ro 16:26)? Then, what "necessity is laid upon" all the churches and every Christian, to send the Gospel "to every creature!" And we may rest well assured that the prosperity or decline of churches, and of individual Christians, will have not a little to do with their faithfulness or indifference to this imperative duty.

The ancient subscription at the end of this epistle—though of course of no authority—appears to be in this case quite correct.




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