Romans Bible Study #46
Attribute of God - Wisdom
16:25 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.
25-26All of our praise rises to the One who is strong enough to make you strong, exactly as preached in Jesus Christ, precisely as revealed in the mystery kept secret for so long but now an open book through the prophetic Scriptures. All the nations of the world can now know the truth and be brought into obedient belief, carrying out the orders of God, who got all this started, down to the very last letter.
27All our praise is focused through Jesus on this incomparably wise God! Yes! The Message
25 God is able to ‘establish’ you, other translations say, strengthen you. We need to be given strength. This walk requires strength, that we do not possess. Admitting that we do not possess it is a first step in getting it. When we are weak, then we are strong. The commandments are too hard, and our flesh is too weak, ‘God help us,’ is our cry. “We cannot, You can,” is our hope.
26 Our obedience is the ‘obedience of faith.’ The strength and ability to obey, comes from outside of us, from God, accessed by faith. There is no ‘boasting’ in our accomplishments, when we obey, He gets all the glory.
27 In this doxology and the one at the end of chapter 11, wise and wisdom are foremost on the mind of the apostle as what he wants to praise, so the rest of the study is an in depth look at the attribute of God known as wisdom.
Piper pointed out that since wisdom is an attribute of God it is infinite, like He is. So nothing can be added to God that would make Him more wise, He already has all the information, all the possibilities all the angles figured out. Nothing can go into God’s mind that did not come out of His mind already. His wisdom cannot be increased. Everything comes out of His mind so nothing that goes back into it will increase it because it was already there. God always know in every situation the perfect, best, greatest end that should come out of the situation. He takes all of the trillions of relevant factors into account and He knows how to accomplish His purpose.
Piper looked at two out-workings of this infinite wisdom, His infinite wisdom in the way that He saves sinners, (chapters 1-8) and His infinite wisdom in the working out His covenant with Israel, (chapters 9-11).
The way of saving sinners shatters the ground of all human pride. A weak crucified God goes against the power that some want. The way of knowing God, through faith, shatters the ground of humans pride in wanting to come to God because we are so wise and we ‘figured it out.’
1 Cor. 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the [o]message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
The greatest negative goal in the way of saving sinners is to break the back of human pride.
The greatest positive goal in the way of saving sinners is to have an assembly of people who boast only in the Lord. Not our mind, or our programs.
His infinite wisdom in how He keeps covenant with Israel. God re-affirms His promises to Israel over and over in the Old Testament. In reality in Paul’s day, the majority were rejecting Christ. God saves the Gentiles and grafts them into the tree, a partial hardening is on Israel, while this is happening and the Gentiles are to understand that when the Jews see the the Gentiles have been shown such mercy by ‘their’ God, they are jealous and return to Him.
Romans 11:30 For just as you (gentiles) once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their (Jewish) disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.
Now we move on to an amazing section on the wisdom of God, from an amazing book by Stephen Charnock. Wisdom consists in acting for a right end, observing all the circumstances for action, willing and acting according to the right reason and judgment. The essential wisdom of God is the essence of God, the personal wisdom of God, is the Son of God. Wisdom is the property of God alone, He is the “only wise.” Wisdom among men is gained by age and experience, furthered by instructions and exercise; but he wisdom of God is His nature.
“It is a foolish thing, therefore, to question that which we cannot comprehend; we should adore it instead of disputing against it; and take it for granted, that God would not order anything, were it not agreeable to the sovereignty of His wisdom, as well as that of His will.”
Proverbs 21:30 “There is no wisdom and no understanding
And no counsel against the Lord.” He compasseth His ends by those actions of men and devils, wherein they think to cross him; they shoot at their own mark and hit His. Lucifer’s plot, by divine wisdom, fulfilled God’s purpose against Lucifer’s mind.
As He is the cause of all things, so He hath the highest wisdom for the ordering of all things.
In creation, the fact that the sun, the earth, the oceans, the plants, are all working together harmoniously for an end that they do not know or understand speaks of the wisdom of the Creator. This wisdom shows up in the variety of the creatures, their beauty, their fitness for use and the subordination of one creature to another. All of these different kinds of trees and plants and flowers out of one earth. All of these different kinds of characters and features and voices and statures of people in human society. The seasons, the seas, the clouds the winds, the various parts of the human body, broken down into systems that all are inter-dependent and working together speak of wisdom.
God’s wisdom is seen in the bounding of sin. Psalm 76:10 “For the wrath of man shall praise You; With a remnant of wrath You will gird Yourself.”
God’s wisdom is seen in the bringing glory of Himself out of sin. It takes more skill to make a lovely piece of workmanship with ill-conditioned tools, than with instruments naturally fitted for the work; it is no such great wonder for a limner to draw an exact piece with a fit pencil and suitable colors, as to begin and perfect a beautiful work with a straw and water, things improper for such a design. The wisdom of God is more admirable and astonishing than if a man were able to rear a vast palace by fire, whose nature is to consume combustible matter not to erect a building. To make things serviceable contrary to their own nature, is a wisdom peculiar to the Creator of Nature. God’s making us of devils, for the glory of His name, and the good of His people, is a more amazing piece of wisdom than His goodness in employing the blessed angels in His work.
The sins and corruptions remaining in the heart of man, God orders for good; and there are good effects by the direction of His wisdom and grace, as the soul respects God. God brings forth a sensibleness of the necessity of dependence on Him. The mother may let the newly walking child slip, that he may know who supports him and may not be too venturous and confident in his own strength. God leaves sometimes the brightest souls in eclipse to manifest that their holiness, and the preservation of it, depend upon the darting out of His beams upon them. Our continuing sins remind us of the preciousness of the blood of Christ.
A fall into one sin is often a prevention of more which lay in wait for us/ as the fall of a small body into an ambush prevents the design of the enemy upon a greater.
God’s wisdom appears in judgments in the suiting them to the qualities of person, and nature of sins. Jer. 18:11 So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”’ Isaiah 31: 2
“Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster
And does not retract His words,
But will arise against the house of evildoers
And against the help of the workers of iniquity.”
These are ‘out-of-the-box’ verses that stretch us to see a God so big and so wise that the calamity that He brings is perfectly suited to offense committed. Many will come to God’s rescue and say, “He does not bring disaster." They are wrong, the Bible says so. The Babel builders designed an indissoluble union, and God brings upon them an unintelligible confusion.
God’s wisdom makes death the way to life and shame and suffering the path to glory.
Charnock has to spend time looking at God’s wisdom in redemption also. The wisdom of God satisfies the demands of justice in punishing, and the pleas of mercy in pardoning. The Word made flesh. God manifested in the flesh, a mystery too great for our minds but the perfect answer to the offense of sin against God. As the bush was united to the fire, yet was not hurt by the flame, nor converted into fire, there remained a difference between the bush and the fire, yet the properties of the fire shined in the bush, so theat the whole bush seemed to be on fire.
Had He not been man, He could not have filled our place in suffering; and could He otherwise have suffered, His sufferings had not been applicable to us; and had He not been God, His sufferings had not been meritoriously and fruitfully applicable. Had not His blood been the blood of God, it had been of as little advantage as the blood of and ordinary man, or the blood of the legal sacrifices. Nothing less than God could have satisfied God for the injury done by man. He had therefore a nature to be compassionate to us and victorious for us. Jesus performed the law perfectly, but voluntarily took the full punishment as if He had not obeyed. Could we imagine being healed by stripes, purified by blood, crowned by a cross, comforted by sorrows, made rich by poverty?
His wisdom restores us in a way contrary to the way that we fell; we chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, now we must deny our own understanding, and submit to faith.
Wisdom shows itself in perfect timing, Passover when Jesus was crucified was a feast that gathered Jews from all over and at Pentecost when the message of Jesus needed to be cast far and wide, people from all over were there to hear the apostles testimony of Jesus, ‘each in their own language,’ so that they could then go back and broadcast it in whatever area they were living.
Wisdom is magnified when it chooses such vessels as us to display its power. The weaker the means which attain the end, the greater the skill of the conductor of them.
The wisdom of God allows Him to bear with things that seem to cross His purposes. Because He know the whole affair that is going on and He has the power to attain the end that He proposes to Himself. This infinite wisdom, gives Him an infinite patience in seeing it all ‘work out.’
That this wisdom is available to us, infallible and infinite, is a thing that draws out worship in our hearts. Why do we choose to ‘guide’ ourselves. “Lean not on your own understanding.” Peter refuses to let Christ wash his feet, he makes himself the judge of the rightness of what Jesus has set out to do...mistake! Philosophers who make their reason the supreme judge of Divine revelation, are not accepting that they are below God in wisdom in every way. Our goal in this Bible Study has always been to “let the Word change us.” Murmuring and impatience are most prevalent when we have lost sight of the Wisdom of God. Nothing is done by Him too soon or too slow. In His light we see light.
2nd Chronicles 20:12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
God always chooses what is best for His glory, and what is best for His creatures, either in regard to themselves, or as they stand in relation to Him, or to others, as parts of the world.
Psalm 47:4 “He chooses our inheritance for us,”
God would not be infinitely wise if the reason of all His acts were obvious to our shallowness. When the whole design is revealed there is an admirable connection of justice and mercy, love and wisdom, which before would have appeared absurd to the muddied reason of man!