Thursday, 16 November 2017
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17
After contemplating his calling and position in Christ which was so very undeserved, Paul breaks forth into a doxology, recognizing God’s great glory. It is the God who pulled him out of the clutches of Satan, and brought him into His marvelous light, that he now breaks forth in praise to with the words, “Now to the King eternal.”
This is from a commonly used Hebrew phrase – melech ha’olam, or “King of the ages.” Directly translated from the Greek, it also reads, “King of the ages.” It signifies the eternal nature of His rule. Time came into existence at His command and, since that moment, ages have come and gone. During these successive generations, God is on the throne. And as the ages continue on, even for all eternity, He will still be there. Whereas all else is created, He is uncreated. His rule has no beginning and no end.
Paul continues with “immortal.” The word literally means, “incorruptible.” Whereas “King of the ages” defines the scope of the rule of God, this word speaks of His being. He is without beginning and without end. While other rulers come and go, facing their own morality, God is eternal. The position of His rule is without end, and it is He who fills that position endlessly.
Next Paul states, “invisible.” The word used is a compound adjective signifying “not seen.” It is closely associated with the Greek word for “faith.” In other words, He is (figuratively) spiritual reality as perceived through God’s inbirthings of faith” (HELPS Word Studies). The reason this word is highlighted here (and elsewhere) as an attribute, is to continue to demonstrate His incorruptible nature. Whereas the idols of the nations wear down, are destroyed, are stolen, etc., such is not the case with the invisible God.
After these descriptive words, Paul continues His praise with, “to God who alone is wise.” Some manuscripts leave out “wise,” thus saying, “the only God.” Which is correct is debated, but with or without the descriptor, the intent is that God alone is above all else. Though there are other invisible created things, such as angels, principalities, and powers, God is the sovereign ruler over them. They are not “gods,” but are subject to Him.
It is to him that Paul ascribes, “honor and glory.” To Him alone all worship, praise, and veneration is to be given. He alone bears the eternal glory as He rules from His position of honor. Thus these things rightly and wholly belong to only Him. And this is, as Paul next says, “forever and ever.” This is another Hebrew phrase. It literally states, “to the ages of ages.” It is a superlative expression meaning “to all eternity.” There will be no time that another may receive His honor and glory. Rather, for as long as eternity lasts, which is forever, this is to be ascribed to Him.
Paul then finishes with “Amen.” It is the traditional ending to any such doxology, signifying “So be it.” This is how it is, and this is how it ever shall be. There is finality in the expression. God is God, and He was, is, and ever shall be. By faith, such an expression is made, and it confirms in the one making it that what has been said is agreed to in heart and soul.
Life application: God is invisible, and thus our Christian walk is one of faith. Christ has returned to the Father and left us with His unseen Spirit as our Comforter and Helper. During this dispensation, we are to live by faith, not expecting, nor receiving, a physical manifestation of God’s presence. This is what the Bible expects of us. Someday our faith will be sight as we stand in the presence of Christ Jesus. Until then, let us be steadfast in our faith, not wavering in conviction, and not waffling in our doctrine.
Lord God, Your word says that we live by faith and not by sight. But it also indicates that our faith will be rewarded. If we have sight, then faith is excluded. A hope which is seen is no hope at all, but rather is substance. Help us to not expect signs, sights, and visions, but instead help us to be people who study Your word and receive its truths by faith. In this, You will surely be pleased with us now, and You will be ready to reward us on that great Day when we stand before You. Amen.