Fittingly, Paul’s concluding doxology in Romans ends with a reminder of the great wisdom of God. After all, it is in the gospel of God presented in this epistle that the Lord reveals the depths of His wisdom and proves that He is the only wise God (Rom. 16:27). All other gods are fools, pretenders to the throne.
Even though false gods are fools and unable to fulfill the deepest needs and longings of human beings, we have served them anyway. We have rebelled against the most holy Creator even though creation itself tells us we should honor Him and give Him thanks. In our sin, we seek gods of our own devising, and are turned over to our sin and idolatry. Jew and Gentile alike are guilty of this great sin, and it puts us under the wrath of God (Rom. 1:18–3:20).
There is but one solution to the unrighteousness that makes us deserving of judgment, and that is the righteousness of another. This righteousness is received by faith alone apart from the works of God’s law. Nothing we can do will meet God’s perfect standard, and only the perfect obedience of Jesus, who lived to make us righteous and died to bear the wrath we have merited, preserving the Lord’s justice, can give us peace with our Maker (3:21–5:21).
In God’s great wisdom, this righteousness and peace are provided for us while we are still sinners, so that we cannot boast. The legal judgment against us having been satisfied, we receive the Holy Spirit and begin to walk truly, but imperfectly, in the ways of the Lord. Our failures show us that only Christ can rescue us from this body of death and redeem the created order. Thus, we return to Jesus again and again, being reminded that His work alone can avail before the heavenly throne and grant us a secure citizenship in His Father’s kingdom (chap. 6–8). The fact that so many Jews have rejected the gospel does not negate these realities, for only the elect of God among the Jews will believe. Their failure to believe is history repeating itself, and it allows elect Gentiles to be grafted into the people of Israel so that the Jews, too, will one day return to Christ (chap. 9–11). Those justified by the only wise God bear holy fruit as they love others, use their gifts to serve the church, obey the authorities, and present themselves to God as living sacrifices (chap. 12–16).
God’s wisdom is to impute to us the perfect righteousness of Christ through faith alone so that we will be at peace with Him, receive His Spirit, and live to please Him because we are grateful for the salvation that He alone provides. This is the gospel and its fruit in our lives.