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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 61 - Romans 16:25-27 - Apostolic Praise Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


What a doxology! What a burst of praise! Full of divine melody; full of grace and truth! Glory to God in the highest is here, yet also peace on earth, and goodwill to man. The great Jehovah, the wise, the mighty, the good, the loving God, is the theme.

Let us look at the contents of this glorious hymn of praise, this rapturous hallelujah of a redeemed man, this utterance of marvelous song.

I. The Stablisher. He is the Creator; it was He who spake and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast; who laid the foundation of earth and heaven.

(1.) He is the mighty God. He is "of power" (literally, "able") to stablish you. He is the Lord God Almighty, infinite in might, whose is the "strength," and the "power," and the "dominion," and the "greatness," and the "majesty" (1 Chronicles 29:2; Revelation 4:2). Let us notice the different connections in which this power is introduced in Scripture: (1.) "God is able of these stones to raise up children" (Matthew 3:9); (2.) "Thou canst (art able to) make me clean" (Matthew 8:2); (3.) "Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above," &c. (Ephesians 3:20); (4.) "He is able to subdue all things to Himself" (Philippians 3:21); (5.) "He is able to succor them that are tempted" (Hebrew 2:18); (6.) "He is able to save to the uttermost" (Hebrew 7:25); (7.) "To Him that is able keep you from falling" (Jude 24); (8.) "To Him that is of power to stablish you" (Roman 16:25). What comfort to the feeble, and weary, and Satan-tempted, in this truth! He who strengthens and stablishes us is the mighty God.

(2.) The fountainhead of the mystery of hidden wisdom. The mystery (or secret) now revealed in Christ and His cross (that "God so loved the world," &c., John 3:16), which had been kept secret (hidden) in "the eternal ages," was God's everlasting purpose concerning His own, His saints, His chosen ones, His church of all ages. It is out of this purpose and this Purposer that our establishment flows. This eternal Purposer, the birthplace and well head of all being, and truth, and blessedness, is He who worketh in us according to the good pleasure of His will. He had sketched His great secret, His purpose of grace, in the prophets, giving us in them the outline and shadow of the good things to come; but not till the Word was made flesh, and the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, had declared Him, was the glorious revelation made.

(3.) He is the everlasting God. "From everlasting to everlasting thou art God" (Psalm 90:1). He is "the King eternal, immortal, and invisible" (1 Timothy 1:17); "with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning" (James 1:17). It is not with mortality, and finitude, and change, and corruption that we have to do, but with the immortal, the infinite, the unchangeable, the incorruptible. He who stablishes us is "the everlasting God."

(4.) He is the God only wise. Wisdom is His in its widest, highest sense; wisdom without weakness, or one sidedness, or imperfection. The perfection of wisdom is His. The God only wise is His name.

Such is our Stablisher! Can we fear or be discouraged? Shall our weakness, or frailty, or the number of our foes appal us? Greater is He that is for us than all that are against us, without or within! Let us stand fast, and not be moved, or shaken, or terrified.

II. The stablishing. The word expresses steadfastness, fixture, and strength (see Luke 9:51; Romans 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:2,13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17, 3:3; James 5:8;1 Peter 5:10). It assumes that on our part there is weakness, wavering, changeableness; that there is peril for us on every hand from snares and assaults, from wiles and enmity, and that we are constantly liable to be uprooted and overthrown. We are without strength; compassed about with infirmities; apt to be carried about with every wind of doctrine; ready to be moved from the faith, or made to err from ways of uprightness. The process of stablishing is what we need so much; it is more than being "kept from falling," and we require both. While this stablishing, in one sense, comes directly from the eternal Stablisher, in another, it comes through present means and influences, such as the gospel ("my gospel" [10]), and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, and the revelation of the mystery. Through means of these, God establishes us, by the power of the Holy Ghost, working in us according to His mighty power. The gospel (1) says to us, "Be steadfast"; (2) it shews us what steadfastness is; (3) it supplies us with the means of steadfastness. In clasping that gospel, we are holding that which alone can keep us from being moved. Let us lean on the cross; let us grasp it as the shipwrecked sailor grasps the life buoy, or is lashed to the mast to prevent his being washed overboard. The cross is thus everything for steadfastness. It stands firm, and it keeps firm all who keep hold of it. It is our prop; our resting place; our foundation; our anchor; our strong tower. The true stablishing (whether in faith, or love, or hope, or truth, or holiness) goes on only here. Apart from it, or away from it, all is instability, and feebleness, and destruction.

III. The stablished. These are, first of all, the saints at Rome, "called," "beloved of God," whose "faith was spoken of throughout the whole world." They needed "stablishing," though apostles were their pastors and teachers; not once, but all through; day by day; they needed to be "rooted and grounded in love"; to be "made perfect, stablished, strengthened, settled." And if these noble Roman Christians needed stablishing (men of faith and love, beyond us!), how much more we! For is not the, church of God in these last days far from steadfast? Is she not an unanchored, uncompassed, unballasted vessel, carried about with every wind of doctrine or speculation, departing from old beliefs as obsolete and fossile; rushing after what is new and fascinating; in love with change, and "progress," and "development," and "breadth," and liberality," according to modern phraseology proudly disdainful of what she calls "bigotry," and intolerance," and " stereotyping," and old-fashioned dogmas and theologies. Surely the church of the last days needs stablishing even more than the church of the first age; there are so many half-and-half disciples now, the mixed multitude that led Israel astray. Let each believing man give heed to this, lest he fall from his steadfastness. Be strong in the Lord; be steadfast and immoveable; hold fast that which thou hast received.

This peculiar doxology, at the close of such an epistle, connecting such a song of praise with the steadfastness of the saints of God, is very striking, and fraught with deep lessons to us. The glory of the God only mighty, and eternal, and wise, is connected with our being stablished; and the process of stablishing us depends on His being what He is here represented to be. Let us feel that we have much to do with Him as the God of power, and wisdom, and eternity.