O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
These words may be taken as a fitting conclusion to the doctrinal or argumentative part of the Epistle. As we see how the apostle shows first of all, in the condition of both the heathen and the Jewish world, that all have sinned, and that all needed a Divine Saviour; and how he then unfolds the great doctrine of justification by faith and its results; as we see also the great privileges for time and eternity which are bestowed upon the Children of God; may we not also exclaim, "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
I. HIS UNSEARCHABLE WISDOM. "Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom of God!" says the apostle (ver. 33); and again he asks, "Who hath been his counsellor?" (ver. 34). Beyond all human wisdom is the wisdom of God - a wisdom self-sufficient; derived from no other source; a wisdom of which, indeed, all human wisdom is but the faint reflection, the outcome and the overflow. Take the very wisest of men - men like Socrates, Plato, Seneca, or Bacon: how foolish were some of their thoughts, their proposals, or their actions! Take the very wisest man whom you know, and he will be glad sometimes to take counsel of some one else. Indeed, in this the wise man shows his wisdom. It is fools who despise reproof, and who will not take advice. But God needs no advice. He makes no mistakes. This thought of the unsearchable wisdom of God teaches us a lesson of faith and trust. God's dealings are often mysterious to us, but there is an infinite wisdom behind them all. He doeth all things well. It teaches us also a lesson of obedience. God's way is always wisest, safest, best, happiest. It might be said to us as Moses said to the children of Israel, "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me. Keep therefore and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people."
II. HIS UNSEARCHABLE KNOWLEDGE. We have made much progress in scientific knowledge in this nineteenth century, and yet how very limited, after all, is human knowledge! How many things in chemistry, in geology, in astronomy, are still unrevealed! Even of a single science no man can say that he knows all about it, though he may have given a lifetime to the study of it. And then few men are masters of more than one branch of knowledge. Life is too short to do more than touch the surface of things. But the knowledge of God is unsearchable. "Oh the depth of the riches of the knowledge of God!... Who hath known the mind of the Lord?" (vers. 33, 34). Nothing is hidden from him. Every part and path of the universe is known to him. Every nation is known to him - its national history, its national sins. Every family is known to him. The joys and sorrows of every home, he knows them all. The secret thoughts, the secret motives, the secret plans of every life, he knows them all. This thought carries with it great comfort. "Your heavenly Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." He knows all our difficulties and all our wants. And as we look forward to the future, to the judgment-seat, is there not a comfort in feeling that God's judgment upon us will be a perfectly fair one, because it will be based upon a complete and accurate and perfect knowledge of our lives? Our motives may be misunderstood by men; but God knows all about them. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." It carries with it also solemn warning. If God knows all about me, how careful I should be to live as in his sight! How careful I should be to live as in the presence of the judgment-seat! "For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; nor hid, that shall not be known."
III. HIS UNSEARCHABLE MERCY. "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" Here God's unsearchable wisdom and knowledge are represented as co-operating in his plan of universal mercy. Here again what depths there are that we cannot fathom! How very unmerciful men are at the best! How harsh the judgments even of professing Christians! and how limited and narrow are sometimes their views as to the possibility of the salvation of others! But the mercy of God is wider than all our creeds, and broader than the judgments of individual Christians. What a depth, what a breadth of mercy is revealed in those words of Christ, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life"! Whosoever! In that word there is hope for the guiltiest of sinners who will repent of his sin, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. So, while we speak of the unsearchable things of God, we do not take the agnostic position. We do not say that God is unknown and unknowable. We do not know the depth of his wisdom and knowledge and mercy; but we do know that he possesses and manifests all these sublime qualities in his dealings with men. There are mysteries in God's providences, but there is one great truth which will bring peace to every soul that acts upon it; which will bring every soul that acts upon it into the eternal presence and fellowship of God: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." There are thoughts that are unsearchable about God, and yet they are thoughts that we can feel within our spirits as the very power of God unto salvation, even as we can feel the warm sunshine on our faces though we cannot walk along the bright pathway by which it comes. Jesus Christ is God's "unspeakable Gift;" yet many can say of him," I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." The love of God is called "the love of God, that passeth knowledge;" and yet many have experienced its power in their hearts. The peace of God is a peace "that passeth all understanding;" yet many have known how, in a time of disquietude or trial, that peace, like a sentinel, has kept our hearts and minds in quiet confidence and calm security. "Now we know in part; but then shall we know even as also we are known." - C.H.I.
Parallel VersesKJV: O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!