Paul's Epistle to the Romans,The Ascription of Praise

 (60) The Ascription of Praise

Romans 16:25, 26


Scripture

25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

 

Commentary

25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

When we honor God with prayer or song, we fasten upon his personal perfections. One of his principal attributes is given here—His power: “To him that is of power to establish[1] you.” It is no less than a divine power that establishes the saints. Considering the disposition there is for them to descend into sin, the dedication of their spiritual enemies that seek to overthrow them, and the uncertain times, into which their lot is cast, nothing less than an almighty power will establish them. That power of God which is put forth for the establishment of the saints is and ought to be a matter of our praise: “To him that is able to keep you from falling…” (Jude 24). In giving God glory for this power we may, and must, take upon ourselves the comfort that it brings—that whatever our doubts, and difficulties, and fears, may be, our God, whom we serve, has the power to establish us. See 1 Peter. 1:5[2]; John. 10:29[3].

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel,

Now to him. This and the two following verses are found in many manuscripts at the close of the fourteenth chapter. Its proper place, however, is here; and therefore, the apostle concludes the whole epistle with a declaration of praise; “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, etc.”   I will praise my Heavenly Father by saying, “To my God, without whom nothing is wise, nothing strong; who is as willing to teach as he is wise; as ready to help as he is strong.”

To him. They are commended to God.

Is of power. It is Almighty God who has the power, and is able “to keep you from failing," (Jude 1:24); and it is also God that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20). God only can keep Christians in the path of salvation; and it was well to bring that truth prominently into view at the close of the epistle.

Power, the power that God has is the subject of many passages in the Bible. Three such verses follow:
• How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? (Numbers 23:8)
• He will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. (1 Samuel 8:14)
• Am I God, to kill and to make alive? (2 Kings 5:7)

Stablish appears 18 times and establish 121 times as translation for the same group of Hebrew and Greek verbs. There is no apparent distinction in the King James usage of the terms. To him that is able to establish you, i.e. to render you firm and constant, to keep you from falling.

According to my Gospel. According to the gospel which I preach; the doctrines which I have been defending in this epistle. It is called his gospel, not because he was the author of it, or because others did not preach it also, but because he had been for the most part defending it in this epistle. The doctrines which he had advanced were just those which were fitted to strengthen and confirm them-the doctrine of justification, of election, of perseverance, and of the protection and favor of God to both Jews and Gentiles. These were the doctrines which he had defended; and it might easily be shown that these are the doctrines that give stability to the Christian faith, hope, and love.

When Paul says my gospel (see Romans 2:16[4]) he is referring to the gospel of Christ which he preaches. Equivalent to that is the preaching of Jesus Christ for that was the apostle’s calling.

Gospel. A word of Anglo-Saxon origin, and meaning "God’s spell," i.e., word of God, or rather, according to others, "good spell," i.e., good news. It is the translation of the Greek evangelion, i.e., "good message." It denotes:
(1) the message of salvation as preached by our Lord and his followers.
(2) It was later applied to each of the four histories of our Lord’s life, written by those who are therefore called "Evangelists, " writers of the history of the gospel (the evangelion).
(3) The term is often used to express collectively the gospel doctrines; and "preaching the gospel" is often used to include not only the proclaiming of the good tidings, but teaching men and women how to accept the offer of salvation. It is spoken of as:
• the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24),
• the gospel of the kingdom" (Matt. 4:23),
• the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 1:16),
• the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15),
• the glorious gospel, "
• the everlasting gospel, "
• the gospel of salvation" (Eph. 1:13).

and the preaching of Jesus Christ, 
The issue is not his personal preaching; but according to that preaching of which Christ is the author and the subject; and particularly, as the following clause shows, the doctrines by which the partition between the Jews and the Gentiles was broken down, and by which they were admitted to the same privileges and hopes. What the apostle here calls the preaching of Jesus Christ is that Gospel which explains and publishes God's purpose of taking the Gentiles to be his people under the Messiah, without subjecting them to the Law of Moses. Without this, he did not think that Christ was preached to the Gentiles as he ought to be; and therefore in several places of his epistle to the Galatians he calls it the truth, and the truth of the Gospel, and uses similar expressions in his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians. This is that mystery, referred to in the next clause, which he is so anxious that the Ephesians would understand and adhere to firmly, and which was revealed to him as part of that Gospel that he was called to minister. And it is probable that this grand mystery of bringing the Gentiles into the kingdom of God, without passing through the rites of the Mosaic Law, was revealed more particularly to St. Paul than to any of the other apostles, and that he preached it more meaningfully, and certainly with more success.

according to the revelation of the mystery,
‘The gospel is a revelation of the mystery which had been hid for ages.’ The word mystery, according to the common scriptural sense of the term, does not mean something obscure or incomprehensible, but simply something previously unknown and undiscoverable by human reason, and which, if known at all, must be known by a revelation from God. In this sense the gospel is called a mystery, or “the wisdom of God in a mystery, that is, a hidden wisdom,” which the wise of this world could not discover, but which God has revealed by his Spirit:
• 1 Corinthians 2:7-10-- 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
• 1 Corinthians 4:1--Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
• Ephesians 6:19--And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
• Colossians 1:25-27--25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; 26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
• Colossians 2:2--That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
In the same sense any particular doctrine, such as the calling of the Gentiles, Ephesians 3:4-6[5]; the restoration of the Jews, Romans 11:25[6]; the change of the bodies of living believers at the last day, 1 Corinthians 15:51[7]; is called a mystery, because it was revealed to man through divine revelation. According to this passage, Paul speaks of the gospel as something “which had been kept secret since the world began;” i.e. hidden from eternity in the divine mind. It is not a system of human philosophy, or the result of human investigation, but it is a revelation of the purpose of God. Paul often presents the idea that the plan of redemption was formed from eternity, and hence, no eye could discover it, and no heart could conceive it, 1 Corinthians 2:7-9 (see above); Colossians 1:26[8].
Revelation--The word revelation refers to the publication of the plan of Salvation by the preaching of the gospel or the witnessing of God’s Christians.

which was kept secret since the world began,
Which was kept secret
—“literally, which hath been kept in silence during eternal ages."
Since the world began. In all past times. This refers particularly to the Gentiles. The Jews had some obscure intimation of these truths, but they were now made known to the entire world. The phrase "since the world began" is, in Greek, "in eternal times;" that is, in all past times; or, as we should say, they have been concealed.

___________________verse 25 notes_________________________

[1](To stablish you). To strengthen and validate you.

[2](1 Peter 1:5) “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” There is further comfort for suffering saints in knowing that their sufferings are neither purposeless nor fruitless. The sufferings of the ungodly are only a foretaste of the pangs of hell which they will endure eternally. This is not true for the Christian. One of the many beneficial purposes of afflictions in this life for the child of God is to test the genuineness of his faith
[3](John 10:29) “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Not only is the believer in the hand of Christ; he is in the Father’s hand as well. This is a twofold guarantee of safety. God the Father is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch a believer out of the Father’s hand

[4](Romans 2:16) “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” When Paul adds, according to my gospel, he means “so my gospel teaches.” My gospel means the gospel Paul preached, which was the same one which the other apostles preached.

[5](Ephesians 3:4-6) “4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”
[6](Romans 11:25) “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
[7](1 Corinthians 15:51) “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”

[8](Colossians 1:26) “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:”

 

26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

But now is made manifest,
That Paul’s fulfilling of the word of God had to do with the mystery is born out in this verse, namely, the mystery which has been hidden for ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. In the New Testament, a mystery is a truth not previously revealed, but now made known to the sons of men through the apostles and prophets of the New Testament. It is a truth that man could never have arrived at by his own intelligence but which God has graciously chosen to make known.

This verse is one of the many in the New Testament which teach that the truth of the church was not known in the Old Testament period. It had been hidden for ages and from generations (Ephesians 3:2–13[9]). Consequently it is wrong to speak of the church as having begun with Adam or Abraham. The church began on the Day of Pentecost, and the truth of the church was revealed by the apostles. The church in the New Testament is not the same as Israel in the Old. It is something that never previously existed.

But now is made manifest. That which was not clearly known in the Old Testament is now clearly known by the scriptures of the prophets, i.e., the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiahship of Christ (Isa 9:6[10]; 53:1–2[11] ; Jer 23; Mic 5; Zech 9; etc.). The purpose of manifesting God’s plan in Christ Jesus is that He may be made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. The preaching of the gospel is not just for intellectual acceptance but that nations may come to place their faith in the Christ of the gospel.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been made available to all, but not everyone has heard it and many who have heard it have not believed; that which was concealed for so long is now divulged, i.e. Today God's plan of saving men is now made known to all nations, but not to all people. The Lord uses His children to bring the Gospel to the lost souls of the world. The apostles were the first to be engaged in declaring this great mystery to the world. One disciple was specially employed to carry the Gospel into practical effect and to unfold it by his teaching—he introduced the Gentile believers to equality with their Jewish brethren. It was new and quite unexpected by the Jews, and the Kingdom of God took a new form (compare Eph 3:1-10, see footnote 9). This the apostle here calls a mystery hitherto undisclosed, but now fully unfolded; and his prayer for the Roman Christians, in the form of a doxology to Him who was able to do what he asked, is that they might be established in the truth of the Gospel, not only in its indispensable character, but specially in that feature of it which gave themselves, as Gentile believers, their whole standing among the people of God.

and by the scriptures of the prophets,
The prophetic writings contained hints relative to this important work; but no clear revelation that the Gentiles, who should be admitted into the Church, should be admitted without passing under the yoke of the Mosaic Law. This was the point which was kept secret: as to the calling of the Gentiles, this was declared in general terms by the prophets, and the apostle quotes and makes a most important use of their predictions. These doctrines were an important means of spreading and confirming the truth that the Gentiles should be made acquainted with the gospel. To those writings the apostle had repeatedly appealed in his defense of the proposition, that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentile world (see Romans, chapters 10, 11, 15). Furthermore, the prophetic writings, were extensively scattered among the Gentile nations, and therefore were appealed to in defense of this position. The prophetic writings were translated, and read, and became an important means of propagating the truths of the Christian religion.

according to the commandment of the everlasting God,
By His command through Jesus Christ, the gospel of His Son was made known.

The everlasting God. God who is eternal, and therefore unchanged. He who has indeed concealed this truth, but who has always intended that it should be revealed.

made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
And it was to be made known to all nations for the obedience of faith, that they might believe its doctrines and obey its precepts; its universal voice requiring repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and circumcision of the heart, in the place of all Jewish rites and ceremonies.

The obedience of faith. Just in case they might think, from what he had just said, that God had brought to his people such a great change in their condition without giving them any previous notice, the apostle adds here that, on the contrary, "the Scriptures of the prophets" contain all that he and other preachers of the Gospel had to declare on these topics, and indeed that the same "everlasting God," who "from eternal ages" had kept these things hid, had given "commandment" that they should now, according to the sense of those prophetic Scriptures, be imparted to every nation for their believing acceptance. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).
 _____________________verse 26 notes___________________________

[9](Ephesians 3:2-13) “2If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 13Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.”
[10](Isaiah 9:6) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
[11](Isaiah 53:1–2) “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”

 

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