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(Romans 16:25–26) Let's Sing it!

(Romans 16:25–26) Let's Sing it!

Ref: Romans 16:25–26

Join Stephen as he explores the profound influence of Thomas Ken's Doxology, a hymn of praise that has resonated through the ages. Written by a courageous 17th-century pastor and scholar, this timeless poem has become a cornerstone of Christian worship. Discover the story behind the words "Praise God from whom all blessings flow," and delve into the Greek origins of 'doxa', revealing its evolution from a simple opinion to a declaration of divine glory. This episode isn't just a history lesson; it's an invitation to contemplate your perception of God and the profound reputation of Jesus Christ. It challenges you to align your views with the true nature of Christ. Whether you're seeking to deepen your faith or simply curious about the historical significance of a beloved hymn, this message offers a unique blend of historical insights, spiritual reflection, and practical application. Join us in elevating our perspective of Jesus Christ and celebrating the glory of God through the timeless words of the Doxology. View all of the resources in this series here.


“Let’s Sing It!”

Romans 16:25-26

Today, all around the English speaking world, thousands of Christians will raise their voices and sing praise to God.

One particular poem has become a treasure in our English language in aiding our worship of God.

It was written by an extremely courageous pastor in the late 1600’s who refused to allow the King’s mistress to stay in his house when she came to visit.  He also demanded that a relative of the king follow through with a marriage proposal to a woman he had propositioned.

Thomas Ken was a scholar and author who served at Oxford in the mid-to late 1600’s.  He often wrote hymns for his students and encouraged them to sing them in the morning and at evening prayers.

In a 1709 edition of his hymns, in what he called the Morning Hymn, he attached at the end of his 14th stanza the words which are now near universally recognized as, the Doxology.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him, all creatures here below,

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

“The Golden Age of Hymns” Christian History, Issue 31 (Carol Stream, Christianity Today), 1997.

The name, Doxology, comes from the Greek word, doxa.  It originially meant, simply, “an opinion.”  Your opinion of someone was your doxology regarding that person.

It came to refer to someone’s reputation or power.  Eventually it came to mean honor or glory bestowed on someone.

In the Bible of course, the one deserving of all doxa – all glory and all power and all honor is none other than God.  In fact, the word doxa appears often in the New Testament as something related to or regarding Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus Christ is raised by the glory of the Father (Romans 6:4)
  • He is taken up into glory (I Timothy 3:16)
  • He is at the right hand of glory (Acts 7:55)
  • Glory is ascribed to him in Hebrews 13:21 where the writer closes his letter by writing, “working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen.”
  • Paul and James refer to Christ as the Lord of glory (I Cor. 2:8 and James 2:1)
  • One of the strongest verses on the glory and divine nature Jesus Christ – God incarnate – is Titus 2:13 where all believers are “looking for that blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Adapted from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged and edited by Geoffrey Bromiley (Eerdmans, 1985), p. 180

We will see Christ in all His doxa – all his glory and honor and power.

In the meantime, our opinion of Him should match who He is.

What’s your opinion of God?

What is the reputation of Jesus Christ to you?

What do you think of when you think about God?

A.W. Tozer wrote, “Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man.”  Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations and Quotes, Robert Morgan (Thomas Nelson, 2000), p. 350

No wonder J. I. Packer would challenge the believer, “Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction.” Ibid, p. 351

I praise God that we can meet today to elevate our opinion of God together – to raise our perspective of Jesus Christ – to give glory and honor to our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

If there is one thing needed for the church and every believer today,

-it is an eminent opinion of our eminent Christ.  

-it is a prominent perspective of our prominent, distinguished, gracious Lord.

And after all that Paul has written to the Roman believers; after all the proper theology and practical theology, he now ends with a doxology.  And so it should.

Ladies and Gentlemen, theology – the study of God, ultimately leads to a doxology. 

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow” is the natural response of coming in contact with our supernatural Lord.

Is it any wonder then that Paul will end his great revelation of God with praise to God.

The glory of God is the theme of any true doxa.  It is a declaration of the glory and honor and majesty of God.

1.  Paul begins with singing praise to the glory of God’s might.

Romans 16:25-26.  Now to Him who is able to establish you

To Him who is dunameno (dunamenw) - dynamic . . . it also gives us our transliterated word dynamite, which I like to think of periodically since it takes dynamite to break through mountains of disbelief and granite hearts. 

To Him who is powerfully dynamically capable of not only breaking through our depraved and blinded hearts, but building and establishing our lives for His glory!

This word “established” is used often by Paul and it comes from the original word “sterizo (sthrixai) which means to make firm, to make stable.

The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament, (Zondervan, 1998), p. 345

Sterizo is the same word which gives us our transliterated word, “steroids”.  We’ve certainly seen plenty of newspaper articles where athletes misused steroids and other drugs to bulk up or speed up . . . getting an edge on the other athletes. 

But steroids have a good use – they are often prescribed by the medical community to help someone struggling with weakness or some disability or to help them recover from some disease. 


The Roman believers were known all around for their faith – but even though they were famous for their faith, they were not firm in their faith.

In this analogy, the Apostle Paul is encouraging the believers that as they follow after God, He is able to add spiritual muscle to their ministry.  He is able to add firmness to their faith.

So the first stanza of Paul’s doxology is simply this:

My God is able – even when you aren’t.

My God is capable – even when you can’t.

My God is strong – even when you struggle.

Now you must notice that in order to say, “Now to Him who is able,” means that everyone else is unable.  In fact, Paul finishes his doxology with that thought in the last verse – “to the only wise God.”

All other gods are made of wood and stone . . . the gods of this world are takers . . . but our God is The Giver – here, Paul implies, He gives strength to the weak.

E. M. Bounds, the author of numerous books on prayer in the late 1800’s, wrote; Rising early one morning, I heard the barking of a number of dogs chasing a deer.  Looking at a large open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn running across the field and giving signs [it was out of strength] – its race was almost run.  It leaped over the rails of the enclosed place and came within ten feet of where I was standing.  A moment later as two of the hounds rushed toward her, the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my knees.  I lifted the little thing up in my arms and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs.  I felt that all the dogs in the West could not and would not capture this fawn after it had come to me and in its weakness had appealed to my strength.

A.C. Dixon, quoted in E. M. Bounds on Prayer by E. M. Bounds (Whitaker House), p. 107

Are you running for your life?  Run to God.

After all you’ve learned about everything Paul revealed in the Book of Romans, the first thing Paul wants to sing about is the condescending, compassionate, caring, dynamic of God who is actually interested in us and completely capable of helping us survive life – to firm up our faith – to help us stand.

Praise God for His might!

Say it with me:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him all creatures here below,

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

And just what does God’s exercise program look like?  Just how does the Christian add fiber to his faith and strength to His stand?

How are we established?

2.  It is found in Paul’s second stanza where He moves from  

his opening lines of praise in glorifying God for his might and he begins to glorify God for His message.

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ,

First, we have the praise of God’s might and now we have the praise of God’s message.

Praise God for the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ.  You could translate this phrase in verse 25, “According to my gospel, even the preaching about Jesus Christ.”

Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans (Baker Books, 1998), p. 811

The Gospel is Jesus Christ.

Without the gospel we would not know God who is known only through Jesus Christ – without Christ, there would be no gospel.

The world knows we need good news about the afterlife, but they can’t come up with it.  Watch their movies and read their books about life after death and angels and the spirit world and they are like young people trying to pin the tail on the donkey.

They are like a kindergarten class where confused children are trying to spell “gospel” with all the wrong blocks. 

You spell the gospel with the blocks, “J” “E” “S” “U” “S”.

For the gospel is Jesus Christ, as one author put it, “God is the gospel.”

The British pastor and author, J. Sidlow Baxter wrote, “Jesus Christ did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He himself is that Gospel.  He did not come merely to give bread; He said, “I am the bread.”  He did not come merely to shed light; He said, “I am the light.”  He did not come merely to show us the door; He said, “I am the door.”  He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, “I am the Shepherd.”  He did not come merely to point the way; He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Morgan, p. 479

This past week one of my staff was telling me about being lost and needing directions.  They stopped and asked a young man for help – he tried to give them directions but it was difficult and somewhat confusing to grasp.  So this kind man said, “Listen, let me get in my car and you follow me and I’ll take you to where you want to go.”  So they followed him and he led them there.

In this case, he did not give them a map, he became the map.  He did not show them the way, he became the way. 

They were lost until he became, for them, the way.

Likewise, the world of humanity is lost – it doesn’t know how to find its way to God. 

You cannot get to heaven by mapquest. 

I went to Mapquest and tried.  I typed in my address and then I typed in heaven as the location of where I wanted to go.  I had way too much time on my hands!

From my home to heaven . . .

I was given directions to:

            Next to Heaven Cabin Rentals in Tennessee;

            Heaven on Earth Hair Salon somewhere in Iowa;

            Water Heaven Ponds in Charlotte;

            Horse Heaven Ranch in Oklahoma;

            Heaven Spa in Pennsylvania;

            Almost Heaven Gift Shop in Granbury, Texas;

And then this one:

            Heaven Earth Deer Horn Health Food in California –

            where else?!


Mapquest never went vertical.  I never got off the ground.

The gospel isn’t so much directions as it is a Deliverer.

In this letter Paul has revealed to the Roman believer’s the truth of the gospel as he reveals the glory of God through Christ.

  • In Romans chapter 1 Paul writes of the depravity of man and the deity of Christ;
  • In chapter 2 Paul delivers the just impartiality of God toward lost humanity;
  • In chapter 3 Paul clarifies the redemption of Christ;
  • In chapter 4 Paul connects the gospel with the resurrection of Christ;
  • In chapter 5 it is the death of Christ overruling the transgression of Adam;
  • In chapter 6 the new life of the believer in Christ is explained;
  • In chapter 7 the deliverance of Christ is required in daily living;
  • In chapter 8 our victory in Christ is assured;
  • In chapter 9 Paul declares the sovereignty of Christ;
  • In chapter 10 Paul demonstrates the invitation of Christ to whosoever will;
  • In chapter 11 Paul repeats the promise of Christ to Israel;
  • In chapter 12 the body of Christ is empowered;
  • In chapter 13 the supremacy of Christ is restated;
  • In chapter 14 the grace of Christ is extended;
  • In chapter 15 our unity in Christ is exhorted;
  • In chapter 16 the glory of Christ is exalted.

Ladies and Gentlemen, God did not just send a map from heaven, He sent the Messiah. 

It is because of Christ that we can sing, Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

The doxology of God sings the glory of God’s might; the glory of God’s message and now Paul sings about;

3.  The Glory of God’s mystery

Notice the text again: Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations. . .

Many believe that the scriptures of the prophets is a reference to New Testament prophets, and I would agree. 

Paul wrote of himself, Apollos and Peter as stewards of the mysteries of God (! Corinthians 4:1).  These were among the New Testament prophets – receiving revelation and delivering it to the church regarding mysteries that had been hidden from ages past, but now revealed.

Paul further wrote to the Ephesians, “By revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief; and by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:3-5)

Now the word, “mystery” conjures up in our minds the idea of something mysterious.  Like some secret rituals of ancient religions – and modern ones.

That isn’t the idea here.  Musterion – or mystery – is not used for something that is mysterious, but something that is simply not understood until further revelation from God.

A number of mysteries are mentioned in the New Testament – things not understood by Old Testament saints, but disclosed fully with the coming of Christ and the development of the New Testament scriptures.

  • -the mystery of lawlessness – 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8
  • -the mystery of godliness – 1 Timothy 3:16
  • -the mystery of the rapture – I Corinthians 15:51
  • -the mystery of the kingdom of God – Mark 4
  • -the mystery of Christ’s will – Ephesians 1:9
  • -the mystery of the faith – I Timothy 3:9
  • -the mystery of Christ indwelling believers – Col. 1:27

These are mysteries – unknown in depth by the Old Testament saint, but disclosed – revealed – through the New Testament scriptures.

Even still we don’t understand everything about these mysteries.  Debates between solid believers continue to spill ink over the mystery of the rapture and the mystery of the kingdom and the mystery of lawlessness.

While we don’t understand everything, for even in eternity the wonder of God’s glory through these mysteries will continue to unfold.  However, we can now debate intelligently – we have a lot of data.  We understand so much more than those in the Old Covenant who didn’t have the unfolding of mysteries by the New Testament apostolic prophets.

Adapted from R. Kent Hughes, Romans (Crossway Books, 1991), p. 309

But which particular mystery is Paul referring to here in Romans 16?  Perhaps all of them . . . or one of them in particular; which I think is the case.

Because Paul talks about a profound mystery – the profound mystery Paul refers to in Ephesians 5:32 where he is writing about the marriage between a man and a woman and then he writes, “but this mystery is great – I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church” that is, the marriage of Christ to His bride – the church.

The profound mystery of the gospel is the inclusion of the Gentile into the family of God.  The marriage of God the Son and a predominantly Gentile bride.

There were hints at this in the Old Testament.  Abraham was to be a blessing to all the families of the earth.  (Genesis 12:3)

Through Isaiah God told Israel that the Messiah would be a “light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 42:6)

But they didn’t really catch it until the mystery was disclosed through the creation of a church that included – in fact – has been dominated by Gentile peoples.

A ladies Bible study recently finished going through a study that used my commentary on the Book of Ruth.  They invited me to come during their last session for a time of questions and, Lord willing, answers.  The first question I was asked was, “Since you wrote your commentary, have you learned anything new about the Book of Ruth?

I immediately said, “Yes!”  Why would Boaz be open to marry a Gentile woman named Ruth – a marriage that would isolate him from his people – bring potential scorn and rebuke from his elders.  Why would he harm his reputation among his nation by marrying a Moabitess – a former idolater?  What would create in him a desire to trust the testimony of Ruth?  Maybe she wasn’t telling the truth?  Why would he believe her faith in God was genuine?

Because he had seen it first-hand.  In the life of his mother – a Gentile and former prostitute named Rahab.  A woman who risked everything to hide the Jewish spies and then ask to be counted among them and rescued from her hometown of Jericho when the Israelites marched against it.  She was saved by the people of Israel and later married an Israelite man.

Her faith was genuine!

Now Boaz, with Jewish and Gentile blood flowing through his veins will risk everything to marry a woman who probably reminded him of his own mother’s testimony.

And the Messiah would eventually come from the line of Boaz and Ruth.

The Messiah, with Gentile and Jewish blood flowing through His veins, He would one day choose a bride, composed of Gentiles from every tribe, tongue and nation.

Only God could create the myriad of types and illustrations – prophecies and predictions regarding the fulfillment of the mystery – Christ and His Bride, the church.

Only God could come up with Christianity.  And He did.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Praise God for the glory of his might;

Praise God for the glory of his message

Praise God for the glory of His mystery

4. Finally, Praise God for the glory of His ministry.

This has been made known to all the nations leading [to bring about] the obedience of faith.

The ministry of God is seen and heard through the lives of obedient believers – obedient to the faith.

Paul writes here of that ministry, observed by the world, as “obedience of faith.”

That’s an odd phrase – only appearing one other time in the entire New Testament – Romans chapter 1 verse 5!

We covered what Paul meant in that exposition of chapter 1 verse 5 – 6 years ago – so let me refresh your memory.

While salvation comes by faith in Christ apart from good works, faith in Christ produces good works.

Faith is essential to salvation and good works are the evidences of salvation.

You could say that faith is the attitude that saves; works are the actions of those who are saved.

Paul wrote in Titus 2:14 that the believers are purified for God – zealous for good deeds.

He wrote to the Ephesians in chapter 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.”

Salvation is God’s gift to us and good works are our gifts to God.

When Thomas Ken published his Doxology in 1709, the doxology had this stanza preceding it, which sings of our duty to serve Christ;

            Awake, my Soul, and with the Sun,

            Thy daily stage of duty run,

            Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,

            To pay thy morning sacrifice.

            Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

            Praise Him all creatures here below,

            Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,

            Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Praise God for the change that comes in a person’s life who trusts the gospel of Christ for salvation.

Fred was a convicted thief and heroin addict – but had been led to Christ in prison by the family of one of his robbery victims.  The changes were dramatic. 

His original conviction was overturned on a legality and he was released from prison.  He joined a church, got involved in an ex-prisoner’s fellowship group and continued to grow in Christ. 

At his retrial came due, Fred believed that it was his obligation as a Christian to be completely honest in court and, to the shock of everyone, he confessed to other crimes where he had stolen from places where he had never been caught.  He then told the judge he was willing to accept whatever punishment was appropriate. 

And awkward silence filled the courtroom while the judge considered what to do with Fred and his newly-confessed crimes.  When the judge announced the sentence, it reflected a wisdom that gave Fred back his life: he was to make restitution to his victims for their losses with 50% interest and he was sentenced to 10 years for each robbery – but then the judge suspended all of them, requiring no jail time to be served.

For a moment no one in the packed courtroom moved.  Then Fred’s pastor jumped to his feet and shouted, “Let’s sing it!”  and proceeded to lead the entire courtroom in the singing of the doxology.  The Seattle Times captured the scene: Everyone stood up, little old ladies in spring dresses, girls in jeans, men in business suits, a biker with his motorcycle jacket and helmet, prison guards and ex-cons – and they began to sing the doxology. 

Officials later said that it was the first time a Seattle Superior Court case had ever closed with the Doxology.  Kenneth Boa & William Kruidenier, Holman New Testament Commentary: Romans (Broadman & Holman, 2000), p. 464

Is it any wonder that Paul – a redeemed sinner with guilt before God piled high, leads the church now for 2000 years in doing what all of us redeemed sinners can do upon realizing the glory of God . . . the ministry of God in our lives; the mystery of God revealed; the message of God delivered and the might of God provided to all who regularly run into His everlasting arms..

One of the things we love to do whenever we assemble – sing to the praise and honor and glory of God.

Let’s sing it together:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him all creatures here below;

Praise Him above ye heavenly host,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost; Amen


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