Romans 11:36
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) Of him, and through him, and to him.—All things proceed from God, all things are made or wrought by Him, and all things exist for His glory, and to carry out His ends. It is a mistake to see in this, as some of the older commentators have done, an allusion to the Trinity. This can hardly be. The subject of the whole verse appears to be God the Father, and the prominent idea is rather the unity of creation corresponding to the unity of the Godhead. The whole system of things issues from and returns to Him, accomplishing in its course His beneficent designs. It is true, however, that the use of the prepositions is such as in more analytical passages would be taken to express the threefold relation (origination, mediate causation, and retrocession) which the doctrine of the Trinity embodies.

11:33-36 The apostle Paul knew the mysteries of the kingdom of God as well as ever any man; yet he confesses himself at a loss; and despairing to find the bottom, he humbly sits down at the brink, and adores the depth. Those who know most in this imperfect state, feel their own weakness most. There is not only depth in the Divine counsels, but riches; abundance of that which is precious and valuable. The Divine counsels are complete; they have not only depth and height, but breadth and length, Eph 3:18, and that passing knowledge. There is that vast distance and disproportion between God and man, between the Creator and the creature, which for ever shuts us from knowledge of his ways. What man shall teach God how to govern the world? The apostle adores the sovereignty of the Divine counsels. All things in heaven and earth, especially those which relate to our salvation, that belong to our peace, are all of him by way of creation, through him by way of providence, that they may be to him in their end. Of God, as the Spring and Fountain of all; through Christ, to God, as the end. These include all God's relations to his creatures; if all are of Him, and through Him, all should be to Him, and for Him. Whatever begins, let God's glory be the end: especially let us adore him when we talk of the Divine counsels and actings. The saints in heaven never dispute, but always praise.For of him - εξ αὐτοῦ ex autou; compare 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 8:6. This expression doubtless means that he is the original source and fountain of all blessings. He is the Creator of all, the rich "fountain from which all streams of existence take their rise. The design of this verse is to show that no creature has any claim on God. Jews and Gentiles must alike receive salvation on the ground of his mercy. So far from having a claim on God, the apostle here affirms that all things have come from him, and therefore all must be derived to us. Nothing has been produced by chance, or haphazard; nothing by created skill or might. All has been formed by God; and therefore he has a right to dispose of all.

And through him - δἰ αὐτοῦ di autou.) That is, by his immediate operating agency. The former expression, "of him," affirmed that he was the original source of all things; this declares that all are by him, or through him, as their immediate cause. It is not merely by his plan or purpose; it is by his agency, by the direct exertion of his power in their creation and bestowment. By his power they are still directed and controlled. Human agency, therefore, could not lay him under any obligation. He does not need the aid of man; and he did not call in that aid in the creation and government of the world. He is the independent Creator and Lord, and on him none can have a claim.

To him - εἰς αὐτὸν eis autos. This expression denotes the final cause, the reason or end for which all things were formed. It is to promote his honor and glory. It is to manifest his praise, or to give a proper putting forth of the glorious attributes of God; that the exceeding greatness, and goodness, and grandeur of his character might be evinced. It is not to promote his happiness, for he was eternally happy; not to add anything to him, for he is infinite; but that he might act as God, and have the honor and praise that is due to God. As this was the design of all things, so it followed that the bestowment of his favors must be in accordance with this in such a way as to promote his glory; and not so as to consult the feelings or views of either Jews or Gentiles.

All things - The universe; the creation, or still more particularly, the things of which the apostle is discoursing. He does not affirm that he is the author of sin or of sinful thoughts; not that he creates evil, or that evil is designed to promote his glory. The apostle is not discoursing of these, but of his method of bestowing his favors; and he says that these are to be conferred in such a way as to promote his honor, and to declare the praise of hint who is the original source, the creator, and the proprietor of all things.

To whom be glory - This ascription of praise is the appropriate close of the argumentative part of the Epistle, as well as appropriate to the train of remarks into which the apostle had fallen. It expresses his hearty amen in concurrence with this view; the deep desire of a pious man that all might be to God's glory and honor. He had not merely come to it by reasoning, but it was the sincere desire of his soul that it might be so. The Christian does not merely admit this doctrine; he is not merely driven to it by argument, but it finds a hearty response in his bosom. He rejoices in it; and sincerely desires that all may be to the honor of God. Sinners are often compelled by argument to admit it, but they do not love it. They would rejoice were it otherwise, and be glad if they were permitted rather to seek their own glory than that of the living God.

Glory - Praise, honor.

Forever - Not merely amid transitory events now, but ever onward to eternity. This will be the case. There never will be a time when the affairs of the universe shall not be conducted with reference to the glory of God. That honor and glory shall shine brighter and brighter, and all worlds shall be perfectly adapted to show his praise, and to evince his greatness, goodness, power, and love forever and ever. Thus, let it be, is the language of everyone that truly loves him.

This closes the argumentative part of the Epistle. From the close of this chapter we may make the following observations.

1. God is infinitely wise, and just, and good. This is seen in all his plans and doings, and especially in the glorious plan of saving people.

2. It becomes man to be humble. He can see but few of the reasons of the doings of an infinite God. He is not qualified to sit in judgment on his plans. He is not suited to arraign him. There is nothing more absurd than for a man to contend with God, or to find fault with his plans; and yet there is nothing more common. Man speaks, and thinks, and reasons on the great things pertaining to the divine mind and plan, as if he were qualified to counsel the being of infinite wisdom, and to arraign at the bar of his own reason the being of infinite goodness.

3. It is our duty to be submissive to God. His plans may often require him to cross the path of our pleasures, or to remove some of our enjoyments. He tries us by requiring us to put confidence in him where we cannot see the reason of his doings, and to believe that he is qualified for universal empire. In all such cases it is our duty to submit to his will. He is seeking a grander and nobler object than our private good. He is seeking the welfare of a vast universe; and he best knows in what way that can be promoted.

4. God is the creator and proprietor of all things. It would be possible to prove this from his works. But his word unequivocally asserts it. He has formed, and he upholds, and he directs all things for his glory. He who formed all has a right to all. He who is the source of life has the right to direct it, or to withdraw the gift. He on whom all depend has a right to homage and praise.

5. He has formed a universe that is eminently adapted to declare his glory. It evinces infinite power in its creation; and it is suited to fill the mind with ever-growing wonder and gladness in its contemplation. The sacred writers were filled with rapture when they contemplated it; and all the discoveries of astronomy, and geology, and science in general, in modern times, are suited to carry forward the wonder, and fill the lips with new expressions of praise. The universe is vast and grand enough to occupy the thoughts forever. How little do we know of the wonders of his creation, even pertaining to this little world; to our own bodies and souls; to the earth, the ocean, the beast and the reptile, the bird and the insect; how much less of that amazing view of worlds and systems which modern astronomy has opened to our view, the vast starry frame which the eye can penetrate for millions and millions of miles, and where it finds world piled on world, and system rising above system, in wonderful order and grandeur, and where the utmost power of the telescore can as yet find no bounds.

6. Equally true is this in his moral government. The system is such as to excite our wonder and praise. The creation and control of free, and active, and mighty minds is as wonderful as the creation and control of matter, even the vast masses of the planetary systems. Creation is filled with minds. God has peopled the worlds with conscious, free, and active intelligences. The wonderful wisdom by which he controls them; the amazing moral power by which he guards and binds them to himself, by which he restrains and awes the rebellious; and the complete subjection by which he will bring all yet at his feet, is as much replete with wonder as the wisdom and skill by which he framed the heavens. To govern mind requires more wisdom and skill than to govern matter. To control angels and human beings evinces more glory than to roll the streams or the ocean, or than to propel and guide the planets. And especially is this true of the plan of salvation. That wondrous scheme is adapted to call forth eternal, praise, and to show forever the wisdom and mercy of God. Without such a plan, we cannot see how the Divinity could be fully manifested; with that, we see God as God, vast, grand, mighty, infinite; but still seeking to do good, and having power to enter any vast mass of iniquity, and to diffuse purity and peace over the face of an alienated and dying world.

continued...

36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom—"to Him"

be glory for ever. Amen—Thus worthily—with a brevity only equalled by its sublimity—does the apostle here sum up this whole matter. "Of Him are all things," as their eternal Source: "THROUGH Him are all things," inasmuch as He brings all to pass which in His eternal counsels He purposed: "To Him are all things," as being His own last End; the manifestation of the glory of His own perfections being the ultimate, because the highest possible, design of all His procedure from first to last.

On this rich chapter, Note, (1) It is an unspeakable consolation to know that in times of deepest religious declension and most extensive defection from the truth, the lamp of God has never been permitted to go out, and that a faithful remnant has ever existed—a remnant larger than their own drooping spirits could easily believe (Ro 11:1-5). (2) The preservation of this remnant, even as their separation at the first, is all of mere grace (Ro 11:5, 6). (3) When individuals and communities, after many fruitless warnings, are abandoned of God, they go from bad to worse (Ro 11:7-10). (4) God has so ordered His dealings with the great divisions of mankind, "that no flesh should glory in His presence." Gentile and Jew have each in turn been "shut up to unbelief," that each in turn may experience the "mercy" which saves the chief of sinners (Ro 11:11-32). (5) As we are "justified by faith," so are we "kept by the power of God through faith"—faith alone—unto salvation (Ro 11:20-32). (6) God's covenant with Abraham and his natural seed is a perpetual covenant, in equal force under the Gospel as before it. Therefore it is, that the Jews as a nation still survive, in spite of all the laws which, in similar circumstances, have either extinguished or destroyed the identity of other nations. And therefore it is that the Jews as a nation will yet be restored to the family of God, through the subjection of their proud hearts to Him whom they have pierced. And as believing Gentiles will be honored to be the instruments of this stupendous change, so shall the vast Gentile world reap such benefit from it, that it shall be like the communication of life to them from the dead. (7) Thus has the Christian Church the highest motive to the establishment and vigorous prosecution of missions to the Jews; God having not only promised that there shall be a remnant of them gathered in every age, but pledged Himself to the final ingathering of the whole nation assigned the honor of that ingathering to the Gentile Church, and assured them that the event, when it does arrive, shall have a life-giving effect upon the whole world (Ro 11:12-16, 26-31). (8) Those who think that in all the evangelical prophecies of the Old Testament the terms "Jacob," "Israel," &c., are to be understood solely of the Christian Church, would appear to read the Old Testament differently from the apostle, who, from the use of those very terms in Old Testament prophecy, draws arguments to prove that God has mercy in store for the natural Israel (Ro 11:26, 27). (9) Mere intellectual investigations into divine truth in general, and the sense of the living oracles in particular, as they have a hardening effect, so they are a great contrast to the spirit of our apostle, whose lengthened sketch of God's majestic procedure towards men in Christ Jesus ends here in a burst of admiration, which loses itself in the still loftier frame of adoration (Ro 11:33-36).

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; i.e. all things are of him, as the efficient cause; through him, as the disposing cause; to him, as the final cause. They are of him, without any other motive; through him, without any assistance; and to him, without any other end, i.e. for his sake alone.

To whom be glory for ever. Amen: a usual doxology in Scripture: see Galatians 1:5 2 Timothy 4:18 Hebrews 13:21 1 Peter 5:11. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things,.... Not only all things in nature and providence, he being the Maker and efficient cause of things, and the preserver and supporter of them their beings, and to whose glory they are all designed and directed; but all things in grace owe their original to him, as their first cause; they are produced by him, and make for his glory; they all spring from his sovereign will, are brought about by his almighty power, and tend to the glory of his grace; as does every thing in election, redemption, and regeneration: particularly the counsels and purposes of God respecting men may be here meant; which all rise out of his own heart, without any motive or inducement to them in the creature; are accomplished by his divine power, notwithstanding all the opposition of men and devils; and all issue in his glory, even such of them as may seem to carry in them severity to some of his creatures: and since this is the case, the following doxology, or ascription of glory to God, is justly and pertinently made,

to whom be glory for ever; and which will be given to him by angels and men to all eternity, for the perfection of his being, the counsels of his will, and the works of his hands, both of nature and grace; to which the, apostle annexes his

amen, so be it, assenting to it, wishing for it, and believing of it.

For of him, and through him, and to {k} him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

(k) That is, for God, to whose glory all things are ascribed, not only things that were made, but especially his new works which he works in his elect.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 11:36 does not apply to all the three foregoing questions (Hofmann), but simply the last of them is established by the connective ὅτι (for truly) as regards its negative contents: “No one has beforehand given to God,” etc.

All things are from God (primal cause), in so far as all things have proceeded from God’s creative power; through God (ground of mediate agency), in so far as nothing exists without God’s continuous operation; for God (final cause), in so far as all things serve the ends of God (not merely: the honour of God, as many think). Comp. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 2:10. These passages speak quite against the opinion, that in the present passage the relation of Father, Son, and Spirit (Olshausen, Philippi, Thomasius, Jatho, Krummacher, following Ambrosiaster, Hilary, Toletus, Estius, Calovius, and others) is expressed a view which is also quite remote from the connection. The context speaks simply of God (the Father), to whom no one can have given anything beforehand, etc., because He, as Bengel aptly expresses it, is Origo et Cursus et Terminus rerum omnium. This may be recognised by the exegesis that has the deepest faith in Scripture without any rationalistic idiosyncrasy, as the example of Bengel himself shows. With reason neither Chrysostom, nor Oecumenius, nor Theophylact, neither Erasmus, nor Melanchthon, nor Calvin, nor Beza have expressed any reference to the Trinity in their explanations; but Augustine has this reference, against which also Tholuck, Hofmann, and Gess (v. d. Pers. Chr. p. 158) have been sufficiently unbiassed to declare themselves.

διʼ αὐτοῦ] God is mediate cause of all things by His upholding and ruling. Comp. Hebrews 2:18. To refer, with others, this statement to creation (Theophylact: ὁ ποιητὴς πάντων; comp. Oecumenius, Rückert, Fritzsche), would fail to bring out at least any popular distinction from ἘΞ ΑὐΤΟῦ, and—which is decisive against such reference—that would be affirmed of the Father which pertains to the Son (Colossians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:2). Theodoret rightly remarks: αὐτὸς τὰ γεγονότα ΔΙΑΤΕΛΕῖ ΚΥΒΕΡΝῶΝ.

ΕἸς ΑὐΤΌΝ
] All things serve Him (comp. Hebrews 2:10) as their ultimate end. This is explained by Oecumenius, Theophylact, and Fritzsche of the upholding (συνέχονται ἐπεστραμμένα πρὸς αὐτόν). On the whole, comp. what Marcus Antoninus, iv. 23, says of ΦΎΣΙς: ἘΚ ΣΟῦ ΠΆΝΤΑ, ἘΝ ΣΟῚ ΠΆΝΤΑ, ΕἸς ΣῈ ΠΆΝΤΑ, and Gataker in loc.

ἡ δόξα] sc. εἴη; as at Romans 16:27 : the befitting glory. Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21.Romans 11:36. ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ κ.τ.λ. Strictly speaking, the ὅτι confirms the last truth—man’s absolute dependence on God—by making it part of a wider generalisation. ἐξ αὐτοῦ: from Him, as their source; διʼ αὐτοῦ: through Him, as the power by whose continuous energy the world is sustained and ruled; εἰς αὐτὸν: unto Him, as their goal, for whose glory they exist. A reference of any kind to the Trinity is out of the question. It is a question, however, whether τὰ πάντα means “all things” in the sense of the universe (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 2:10) or whether it is not limited by the article to all the things which have just been in contemplation, the whole marvellous action of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge, as interpreted by the Apostle in regard to the work of redemption (for an example of τὰ πάντα in this sense see 2 Corinthians 5:18). I incline to the last view. The universe of grace, with all that goes on in it for the common salvation of Jew and Gentile, is of God and through God and to God. To Him be the glory which such a display of wisdom and love demands.36. of him] Lit. out of Him; not in the Pantheistic sense, as if all things were evolved from God—phases of God; but in the Christian sense, that His will is the ultimate source of all being, all life and force, all conscience, will, and thought.

through him] by means of Him. He is not the Source only, but the Means. He did not only originate all things, but incessantly sustains and overrules all. In the special case of the saints, He not only wills their salvation, but—through their regenerated will—gives them power to believe and persevere. “He keeps them, by His power, through faith, unto salvation.” (1 Peter 1:5. See too Php 2:13.)

to him] To His glory. He is, to Himself, the Final Cause of all His works. He is greater, higher, nobler, and more precious, than His whole creation; and must view Himself as such: what else, then, but Himself could He make His aim and end?

Cp. Colossians 1:16, for the same words, “through Him and to Him” used of the Eternal Son; one of the deepest proofs of His proper Deity.

to whom be glory] Lit., to Him [be] the glory; the glory due to Him. Same words as Romans 16:27; Galatians 1:5; Php 4:20; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:21; and nearly the same as 2 Peter 3:18; Revelation 1:6. In the last two passages the ascription is to the Eternal Son. See Revelation 1:5.

for ever] Lit., unto the ages; through all future periods and developements of existence. Same words as Romans 9:6; where see also note on “Amen.”Romans 11:36. Εξ αὐτοῦ καὶ διʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸυ, of Him, and through Him, and to Him) The Origin, Course, and End of [The Source from whom come, the Agent through whom is maintained the continuance of, the End for whom are] all things, is here denoted, comp. 1 Corinthians 8:6. [Furthermore, ἐξ αὐτοῦ, refers to riches; διʼ αὐτοῦ, to wisdom; εἰς αὐτὸν, to knowledge.—V. g.]—ἡ δόξα, the glory) of the Riches, Wisdom, Knowledge. [Along with this doxology to Omnipotence, is included the praise of Divine Wisdom and Love, from which the creatures derive their strength, understanding, and blessedness.—V. g.]—ἀμήν. The final word, with which the feeling of the apostle, when he has said all, makes a termination.Verse 36. - For of him; and through him, and unto him, are all things. The view advanced by some, that we have here an intimation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, cannot fairly be maintained. But it is strikingly significant of the apostle's view of the essential Deity of Christ, that in 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1:16, 17, similar language is applied to him. In the first of these texts it is said of the Father, ἐξ οῦ τὰ πάντα, and of the "Lord Jesus Christ," δἰ οῦ τὰ πάντα; and in the second, of "the Son of the Father's love," ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα, and τὰ πάντα δἰ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται and also τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.



Of - through - to (ἐξ - διά - εἰς)

Of, proceeding from as the source: through, by means of, as maintainer, preserver, ruler: to or unto, He is the point to which all tends. All men and things are for His glory (1 Corinthians 15:28). Alford styles this doxology "the sublimest apostrophe existing even in the pages of inspiration itself.

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