Worship in Romans (38)

After eleven chapters of the most profound theological thinking ever penned, the Apostle Paul ends the didactic part of his epistle to the Romans with a response praising God for the wonder of His Person and His ways, as they have been seen in the incredible truths which Paul has just been presenting. These truths have not remained lodged in his head alone, but have filled his heart as well; and he apparently cannot contain himself as he bursts forth with a song of praise to the God who has made these things possible. Paul has dug deeper into the depths of the divine mystery than anyone ever had, and there is still plenty of cause for standing and wondering at the still unplumbed depths of God’s wisdom and understanding and grace and love:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?
Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again?

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen!  (Romans 11:33-36)

 Paul was not just a great theologian; he was also a great worshiper. For Him, theology was not an end in itself; it was a means to the infinitely greater end of knowing God better and hence being able to praise Him more fully. He understood that it was for that purpose that He had been made and saved and called into ministry.

J. I. Packer once wrote: “The purpose of theology is doxology. We study in order to praise.”

—Ron Man, “The Principle of Praise: Theology Serves Doxology”

Worship in Romans (13)

As Karl Barth says, the wrath of God, the “no” of God against our sin in Romans 1, is the “next-to-last word.” And the next-to-last word is for the sake of the last word, the “yes” of the gospel. Realignment comes first with the atoning work of Christ in Romans 3, the resulting new life in the Spirit in Romans 6-8, finding our place in God’s story in Romans 9-11, and the resulting new community in Romans 12-16.

—Don Williams, “A Charismatic Worship Response,” in Exploring the Worship Spectrum, 245

Worship in Romans (6)

The sequence of events outlined in Romans 1 recalls the story of Adam in Gen­esis 1–3. God revealed to Adam what can be known of Him (Rom 1:19), and that from the creation onward, God’s attributes were clearly discernible to him in the things that had been made and that he was thus without excuse (v. 20). Though Adam knew God, he failed to honor Him as God, and grew vain in his thinking and allowed his heart to be darkened (v. 20). Adam’s fall was the result of his desire to be God, to attain the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:5), so that, claiming to be wise, he in fact became a fool (Rom 1:21).

—M. D. Hooker, “Adam in Romans I,” New Testament Studies 6 (1960), 300

Worship in Romans (3)

Romans 1:18-32 is a foundational passage for understanding all of Paul’s theology. . . . [It] centres on the nature of worship. Human beings are clearly portrayed as creatures who must worship, and whose sin lies in the fact that they do not choose to worship as they should. . . . The real goal and scope of redemption [is] the restoration of true worship and the destruction of the false.

—Noel Due, Created for Worship, 29

Worship in Romans (2)

The error described in Romans 1:18ff., is not the neglect of worship, but the exchange of worship. Men and women are inveterate worshipers. Worship belongs to their essential structure. The expression of human sin is that the worship for which they were created is exchanged for idolatrous worship. They sin, not by not worshiping, but by worshiping wrongly.

—Noel Due, Created for Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, 27

Worship in Romans

The theological counterpoint to the opening chapter of Romans, with its emphasis on illicit worship and the moral degradation brought about by idolatry, is Romans 12. Whereas in Romans 1 we are given a picture of illegitimate worship that leads to the moral breakdown of every kind of social relationship, in Romans 12 we are given a picture of the integrating effects of true worship, in which the whole of the new covenant community delivered from the power of the idols and brought out from under the wrath of God which such idolatry merits – expresses its worship through love. p. 185  

—Noel Due, Created For Worship:  From Genesis to Revelation to You, 185

The Ministry of Song 11

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to Your name.”

And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.”

And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol Him.”

And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,
even He who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in Him will the Gentiles hope.”  (Romans 15:5-12)

The theological point is the bringing of the Gentiles under God’s mercy, so they can share together with Jews in the hope that is in Christ, as the final quote in the catena declares, “The root of Jesse shall come, and He who rises to rule the Gentiles. In Him the Gentiles shall hope”(Rom. 15:12; cf. Is. 11:10). But the choice of Paul to use worship texts  is more than a matter of finding useful texts regarding the Gentiles. It places the proper outworking of the passage in the actual united worship of the Roman believers.

—John W. Taylor, “The Lord’s Supper in Romans: The Common Meal and United Worship in Romans 14–15 as Demonstration of the Gospel,” 12

True Worship

Significantly, in the call to true worship in Romans 12, Paul calls believers to reverse the false worship described in Romans 1. Instead of worshipping ‘created things rather than the Creator’ (Rom. 1:25), Paul calls us to be involved in ‘spiritual worship’ (12:1). Instead of degrading our ‘bodies’ (1:24), we are called to offer our ‘bodies’ to God (12:1). Instead of ‘sexual impurity’ (1:24), we are called to offer the sacrifice that is ‘holy’ (12:1). Once given over to a ‘depraved mind’ (1:28), the ‘mind’ will now be renewed (12:2). Once being ‘filled with every kind of wickedness’ (1:29), we are called not to ‘conform any longer to the pattern of this world’ (12:2). If Romans 1 describes the ingratitude (cf. 1:21) that characterizes those who refuse to worship Him, Romans 12 calls us to offer all of ourselves ‘as living sacrifices’ (12:1) to Him who deserves all praise and thanksgiving.

—David W. Pao, Thanksgiving: An Investigation of a Pauline Theme, 102