Day 344: The Three “Orthos” (Romans 11:33-35)

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
    or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
    that he might be repaid?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-35)

Through the Bible: Romans 11-13

There are three key components to the life of faith. Orthodoxy is right belief. It’s the truth about who God is. Then there is orthopathy. Orthopathy is right feeling, or attitude. It’s our response to that truth. Finally, there’s orthopraxy, which means right practice. It’s the behavior associated with that truth.

The first 11 chapters of Romans are among the most theologically profound in the entire Bible. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul establishes the case for salvation by grace through faith. There are preachers who have spent years preaching verse by verse through these chapters. Martyn Lloyd-Jones famously spent fourteen years preaching through every verse of Romans.

But in verse 33, Paul shows how right doctrine leads to right attitude. It’s almost like he says, “Not even I can plumb the depths of God’s wisdom. Its unsearchable! It’s inscrutable! I can’t explain it. All I can do is worship the sovereign, glorious God.” So he puts down his pen and lifts up his hands. Sound doctrine must lead to God exalting worship.

As John Piper put it so powerfully, God says to all of us: “I will not simply be analyzed. I will be adored. I will not simply be pondered. I will be proclaimed. My sovereignty is not simply to be scrutinized. It is to be heralded.”

But then, Romans 12 moves from right worship to right behavior. There is a definite hinge between the doctrine and the practice, and it is worship. Romans 12 urges believers to live in a manner worthy of their calling, and of the sacrifice that was made for them.  Look how Paul follows up the “amen” of 11:35:

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,  by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Don’t miss the progression. True worship springs from truth. Orthodoxy leads to orthopathy. But orthopathy leads to orthopraxis. If we end with worship, we’ve missed the reason the reason the Lord doesn’t just snatch us up to heaven at the moment of salvation. In the next devotion, you’ll see how Romans 12 equips us, in incredibly practical ways, to wage war in our real, everyday world. 

Author: James

I pastor Glynwood Baptist Church in Prattville, Alabama. I read a lot, write a little, and drink lots of coffee. I have three callings in life: surrender to Christ, be a husband to Trish, and be the best father/grandfather I can be. Everything else is an assignment, because everything else can be done by someone else.

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