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!
I. CHRISTIANITY IS A SYSTEM OF WONDERS.
1. The very proposal of salvation for sinners is a matter of wonder. God was not obliged to save. Man deserved to perish; and God could have filled his place instantly with better beings. Moreover, man is the solitary object of saving mercy. When sin broke out in heaven, God hurled the thunderbolt of a just vengeance. Certainly here is ground for amazement.
2. The incarnation of Christ was a miracle beyond any other miracle of God. Deity took upon Himself the form and nature of humanity. Among all God's wonders, you can find no analogy for the person of Christ.
3. Our ordinary idea of the proceedings of justice is confounded by the sufferings of Christ. We connect suffering with sin; at least, we consider that an innocent being cannot justly be treated as a malefactor. Yet the sinless Son of God was a man of sorrows and died as a culprit, abandoned even by the Father whom He always pleased. Reason can only exclaim, "O the depth!" at this.
4. Amazement rises higher at the Bible representation that He suffered the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. How could justice be satisfied by the sufferings of an innocent One? How can it be a just thing that they should be accepted as a propitiation for our sins? God has taught us the fact, and hence we believe it; but the fact is a wonder. These are only examples. Things of the same marvellous nature run all through the system of redemption. Infidelity is confounded by these depths. But what confounds an infidel comforts a Christian.
II. THOSE WONDERS ARE REASONS FOR OUR ACCEPTING IT AND BEING COMFORTED BY IT.
1. They constitute a feature of our religion which comports with our experience on all other subjects. The facts which we have mentioned are all plainly revealed facts. There is no darkness or depth in them. The depth and darkness meet us only as we proceed to philosophise. The further we investigate the things of God anywhere the more deep and wonderful they become.
(1) The astronomer finds it so. His wonder grows as he passes the known suns and stars; and now, as he casts his keen eye out upon the illimitable space beyond him, he is compelled to feel that he has not yet passed the porch of the temple of God. All he can say is, "O the depth!"(2) So in the ever-descending field of microscopic study.
(3) The providences of God, again, are full of wonders. What a marvel is human history!
2. There are many things of importance, but they are not all of equal value. Unorganised matter lies below the organisms of life. Brute life is of a lower rank than human. The mental kingdom, while superior to the vegetable and animal, is inferior to the moral. Now, we are limited creatures, and cannot have an equal understanding of all subjects, and must expect to meet with the highest wonders in the highest departments. An infidel tells us he meets with the most wonders in Christianity. For that reason he rejects it, and for that we glory in it. Consider two arguments here.
(1) God is glorious in everything, but not in everything of equal glory. His highest glory lies in His saving sinners. The angels knew this who sung over Bethlehem, "Glory to God in the highest." Well, on that high field of wonders, where God is more glorious than anywhere else, shall we not expect Him to be more amazing than anywhere else?
(2) Consider the soul. It is immortal, and its capacities will expand for ever. It is to be saved or lost. When a soul is perilled, shall God for its salvation work no more wonders than He does about the petty interests of a world of matter and beasts, and threescore years and ten?
3. It is in these deep things of God only that we find provision for our deepest necessities. Reason cannot hope except before the amazing depths of God's wisdom and mercy. As sinners, we need God to do for us just the wonders He has wrought. Had He not done them, we must have despaired.
(I. S. Spencer, D.D.)
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!