Sunday – December 4, 2022
Word On Worship – Sunday – December 4, 2022
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him— to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
How do you end a letter like Romans that has often been called the greatest letter ever written and the greatest book in the Bible? Normally, Paul ends his letters with a benediction, such as (1 Cor. 16:23), “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.” So now, as he thinks back over what he has written, Paul wells up with praise toward God, who has provided a glorious gospel for people from all nations. The goal of sound doctrine should be a heart that overflows in praise to God.
Paul reminds us in this conclusion the goal of the gospel is more than our happiness. Certainly, we should be exuberant that God has rescued us and bestowed on us every blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3). But our happiness is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal of the gospel is God’s eternal glory. The Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” To glorify God, in simple language, is to make God look good as He truly is. John Piper defines God’s glory as, “The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of his manifold perfections.”
This concept, that the ultimate goal of the gospel is not about us, but rather about God’s glory, is a crucial and practical paradigm shift from the commonly held notion that the gospel is all about us. It affects, for example, our view of suffering. If the gospel is all about us and our happiness, then how do you deal with suffering and death, which aren’t happy experiences? But if the gospel is not ultimately about our happiness, but rather about God’s glory, then you can even face possible martyrdom as Paul did, with the goal that (Phil. 1:20) “Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Of course, as John Piper has often pointed out, our happiness and God’s glory are not at odds, because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. And we are most satisfied in Him when we get a glimpse of His “infinite beauty and [the] greatness of His manifold perfections.” Just as when you view a spectacular sunset over the Pacific Ocean or the beauty of God’s creation in nature, you exclaim, wow! So, when you see the beauty and greatness of God, you spontaneously praise Him. That’s the goal of the gospel.