1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
After focusing on how much he had needed God’s grace, and that it was indeed poured out on him, Paul can’t help but break out in praise. I really like a song that is this verse set to music, but the song inserts the word, “wise,” (the only wise God) actually diluting the meaning. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the only God, period. Most Americans aren’t used to living in a society that accepts many different deities, but in countries like India and Japan, the idea of there only being one true God is at times a major obstacle to evangelism. (That’s not to say that idolatry isn’t rampant in the US, because it is. People worship pleasure, technology, or any of a number of things other than the Creator.) Raised a devout Jew, Paul had no problems at all with monotheism, but he was immersed in a polytheistic culture. That can create intellectual and spiritual pride, thinking about all the “ignorant heathen” around you. However, a very necessary part of Paul’s preparation for ministry was humbling him to understand that he was as much in need of God’s grace and mercy as any of the “heathens” around him. He had misunderstood God’s law and used it to attack the Body of Christ, which made him guilty of treason in the Kingdom of God. Understanding that, is what made him declare that he was the chief of sinners. (verse 15) The more we understand our absolute need for the grace of God, and that it is indeed sufficient even for our sin, the more available we become to God for His use for His glory.
I am frequently reminded of how I wallowed in intellectual and spiritual pride, just as Paul did, and that I am no less in need of God’s grace than he was. When God showed me the state of my own heart – and it wasn’t everything even then – I was absolutely devastated. The irony is, I still get tripped up by pride all too often. I have alienated one of my sons in the Lord by having betrayed him in telling others something he wanted to keep secret. Forgiveness is essential and secrets in general aren’t a good idea, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that I spoke out of pride at being “someone who knows stuff,” and it hurt him deeply. At this point I can only trust God with him, praying that the Holy Spirit will enable him to see through the lies of the devil that are binding him and stealing joy and any of a number of other things from him. I am never to give up on him, but continue to speak and act in love, and genuine humility.
Father, thank You for this Word, and for all that You are doing. I do pray for my son, that he would call to mind the truth he knows and apply it to himself and his situation. I do ask for restoration of his relationship with me, but his relationship with You is far more important. Right now, because I am such a father-figure to him, he has conflated You with me, and doesn’t trust You, either. I ask You to bring others into his life who will speak Your truth to him so that he may receive it, for his liberation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!