One of the highest points in my short, six-year teaching career in the Biblical Studies department at Bethel College was in the spring of 1977. I had spent the entire semester on Romans 9-11 leading about dozen advanced Greek students through the rigorous exegesis of these three chapters. It was the final class of the year and I was drawing the final “ arcs” on the board to sum up all the relationships between all the units. I drew one last arc over all three chapters, from one side of the board to the other, and underlined Romans 11:36 as the ultimate point of the entire section: “From him, though him, and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.” Before I could turn around, these twelve students—some of the brightest I ever had—(including Tom Steller) began to sing the doxology.
I didn’t ask them to. I didn’t plan it. It just came out. And that’s the way it was for Paul when he wrote this. He comes to the end of these three chapters on the ultimate purposes of God to show the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, and he breaks into doxology as he closes. All theology, rightly grasped, leads the mind and the heart to doxology. The story of God is about the glory of God. All revelation of the ways of God leads to exultation over the wonders of God.