Romans 16:21-27: Doxology
What distracts you in worship? Is it the heat? Maybe it is the sounds of people cutting their grass. Maybe you are distracted by the sounds the kids make, misspelt words on the slides, or maybe it is something at work or at home that enters your thoughts and derails you. As we come to the end of Romans we come to the doxology. But Paul is like us he gets distracted. He begins in the traditional way, ‘Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel….’ And then Paul loses it, the gospel is so distracting Paul goes on a tangent, and then brings it back, ‘to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.’ Paul gets distracted by the gospel and into deeper worship, if only we would get distracted like him!
Today we come to the end of our exposition of the text of Romans, I will do one more summary sermon to pull it all together. We began this series in Romans in early February 2012, that is just over 7 years. We have walked with Paul through 16 chapters of gospel grace, how would you end a letter after this, what notes of worship would you hit, what are the specific things that you would want to praise God for after such a reflection on the gospel? Paul’s doxology focuses our worship on three things, the power of God, the gospel of God and the wisdom of God.
Our section begins in v21 and includes the final greetings 21-23, ‘Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.’ Paul we know is writing from Corinth, where v3-16 are greetings to the Church in Rome, v21-23 are greetings from the church in Corinth. Timothy, Lucius, Jason and Sosipater are probably travelling companions of Paul who are all going together to Jerusalem to deliver the gift from the Gentile churches to the needy in Judea. Gaius would be the rich Christian who hosts the church in his home and is host to Paul. Tertius and Quartus are probably his slaves who are converted, their names literally mean third and fourth, and Tertius is the secretary who wrote what Paul dictated. Erastus we are told is the city treasurer, and incidentally archaeology has found evidence of an Erastus donating a pavement to the city of Corinth and this could be the exact same person. There is much we could say about the church in Corinth through the details we can glean from this but we have made the point already of the love and unity expressed between churches.
So we want to move on then to the meat of our passage to the doxology and look at it under our three headings, the power of God, the gospel of God and the wisdom of God.