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Singing the Doxology to God

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Romans 16:25–27

Paul fittingly closes his foundational epistle to the Romans with a doxology—praise to the God of all wisdom, truth, honor, and eternal blessing. May we join in praising Him with our lips and our lives.


Thomas Ken was a pastor, professor, and author who served the Lord in ministry in England during the late 1600s. He often wrote hymns for his congregation and his students, whom he encouraged to sing these hymns during their devotional times with the Lord.

Many of Pastor Ken’s hymns were much longer than we would be used to today. Hymns today typically have four stanzas, and we usually skip the third stanza. I have often wondered why anybody ever wrote a third stanza because we usually do not sing it.

Well, one of Pastor Ken’s hymns was called the “Morning Hymn.” It had fourteen stanzas in all, if you can imagine that. Maybe he thought it still was not long enough, because he added a final stanza at the end of it that read like this:

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.

Today, Christians around the world do not know his fourteen stanzas, but we recognize this final one. We call it the “Doxology.”

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

Over time, doxa came to refer to someone’s reputation. Eventually, it came to mean honor or glory bestowed on someone. Of course, the only one who deserves all doxa—all glory and all honor—is our true and living, great and awesome God.

The apostle Paul ends this great letter to the Roman church with a doxology here in chapter 16. He is effectively saying, “Listen, this is my opinion of God, and it ought to be your opinion as well.”

Paul gives us several reasons why we should be singing the doxology along with him. And here is the first reason: We should sing glory to God for His gospel. He writes in verse 25, “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ.”

In the Greek, the phrase “to him who is able” is one word: dunamai, derived from dunamis, meaning “power.” We get our words dynamic, dynamo, and even dynamite from it. Paul is saying, “To Him who is powerfully, dynamically capable of strengthening our lives for His glory!”

The word for “strengthen” is another interesting word. It comes from sterizō: “to make firm, or stable.” The believers in Rome were famous for their faith but not entirely firm in their faith. But Paul encourages them that God is able to strengthen their faith. Sterizō gives us our word steroids. God is able to build up the spiritual muscles of faith and trust in Him.

Beloved, God is able to do in you what you cannot do yourself. Even when you are weak, God is at work in your life; even when you struggle, God is developing strength in you, as you trust Him day by day.

Now you might wonder how God strengthens us? What is His spiritual exercise program? Paul answers in the next phrase in verse 25: it is through the truth of the “gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ.”

How do you become strong in your faith? By preaching the gospel to yourself every day. By telling yourself the truths of Scripture, keeping your focus on Jesus and the gospel of your salvation through Christ alone.

So, let us sing this doxology. Let us sing glory to God for His gospel.

Second, we should sing glory to God for His revelation. This is what Paul writes next:

According to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith. (verses 25-26)

What is this “mystery” Paul is talking about? When we hear the word mystery, we think of something dark or dangerous. Mystery novels are usually pretty dark and even frightening.

That is not what Paul is talking about here. The word “mystery” (musterion) does not refer to something dangerous or dark but simply to something that is not known or understood until we get further revelation from God.

The New Testament reveals many things that were not understood by Old Testament believers and prophets—things that were finally revealed with the coming of Christ. We now have a completed revelation—the Bible. The New Testament reveals and explains to us the mystery of the coming kingdom of God (Mark 4:11); the mystery of the church, the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:32); and the mystery of Christ indwelling believers (Colossians 1:27).

So, what mystery is Paul referring to here in Romans 16? He revealed it back in Ephesians 3:6:

This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

The profound mystery of the gospel is the inclusion of Gentiles (most of us!) into the family of God.

This mystery has now been fully revealed, as Paul explains here in verse 26:

[It] has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith.

He is declaring that the truth is now revealed—the word is out, and it is going global! The door of salvation is open to everyone! No one has to be left out of His invitation.

And for those who accept His invitation to follow Christ, Paul writes that it brings about “the obedience of faith.”

Do not misunderstand. Salvation comes by faith in Christ apart from good works, but you can be sure that faith in Christ is going to produce in and through us good works. The Reformers used to say it this way back in the sixteenth century: We are saved by faith alone, but saving faith is never alone. In other words, faith will be demonstrated in life.

There is one more stanza in Paul’s doxology of praise to the glory of God, and it tells us this: We should sing glory to God for His supremacy.

Paul writes in this final verse, “To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

We are singing to the “only wise God.” And let me tell you, that little word “only” is so important. All those other “gods” people are worshiping today are just statues or stumps or rocks or animals or mother nature. There is only one true and living God. There is only one true Lord and only one true faith (Ephesians 4:5).

Paul is singing and inviting us to sing with him this doxology to the singular God—the supreme Sovereign of the universe. He is the only one there is. And I can assure you, beloved, He is the only one you will ever need—the only one who can save you and make your life worthwhile.

How do we get to know Him? Paul says here in verse 27 it is “through Jesus Christ.”

With that comes the crescendo of this great doxology. Paul ends by singing to this only wise God, “To [Him] be glory forevermore”! You know what that means? It means this doxology is never going to end. We are going to be singing and praising and honoring and worshiping and serving our God for all of eternity.

Paul adds one final word—the word “Amen.” It means “so be it,” or “this is the truth.” And indeed it is.

And with that, we finish our Wisdom Journey through the book of Romans, and what a ride, what a journey, it has been.

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