25So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters, I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, “Out of Zion will come the Deliverer; he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.”
27“And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” 28As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; 29for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 32For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
33O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34“For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
35“Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?” 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
With that last line you might think Paul was trying to end the letter. He cautions his readers not to think that they are too wise—that they, as Gentiles, understand something of God’s promise that their Jewish brothers and sisters don’t. On the contrary, Paul affirms that God’s eternal covenant is for everyone. And lest they try to theologize too much and explain who’s in and who’s out, Paul picks up steam and by verse 33 is quoting scripture, and by 36 has sped into prayer and praise. Paul often ends a letter this way, with a, “To him be the glory forever. Amen.” But we’re still in the middle of things here in Romans. Maybe Paul is tired of theology for a while. He’s explained enough. Or maybe deep thinking about God has led to the only place it possibly can—worship. That’s how we know we’re on the right track. When we think about God, we don’t get to understand. Instead we approach the mystery, take off our shoes, and worship. “To him be the glory forever. Amen.”
God, we meet you in worship and in praise, for who you have been, and who you are, in our Savior, Jesus Christ. By your Spirit, unite us with Christ in the mystery of his life, death, and rising again, to know you in our worship, beyond our simple understanding, in the fullness of your love. Amen.