1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
It is significant that when writing to Timothy, from whom he probably had no secrets, and specifically in writing about himself, Paul couldn’t hold back from a doxology. This verse has been memorably set to music, but the important thing is that this be the attitude of our lives, the unfeigned exclamation of our heart. The musical version follows the King James and inserts the word “wise,” but that was in all probability a scribal error. God is the only God, period. He takes no qualifiers, even though many descriptive terms, including wise, may rightly be applied to Him. There is not a group of foolish gods, and He being the only wise one, unless you count the myriads of idols that people claim as gods. Everything in existence is in some way defined by its relationship to the Creator, certainly including us. Paul has just been talking about how he was a blasphemer and a persecutor, (verse 13) and you can’t really be those things if there is no God to blaspheme. It is only when we live our lives in awareness of God, understanding that everything relates in some way to Him, that we begin to make sense of things and steer correctly. The problem is that we tend to flip that around and think of everything in relation to us, as though we were the reason for the universe. That leads to countless unforced errors (to use a sports analogy) and is the foundation of sin. To be happy, we have to accept that everything doesn’t exist for us, but we exist for God, to please Him and do His will. The blessing is in God’s character, because He really is love, (1 John 4:8) and as it says repeatedly in the Old Testament, “slow to anger and abounding in mercy.” The devil tries to tell us it’s a bad thing that God’s in command, but that’s a lie just like everything else he says. The better, the more accurately we see God, the more we will respond as Paul did, in overwhelming gratitude for God’s mercy and grace.
Of course this applies to me, just as it does to every human being. I’m all too familiar with the negative of this, having walked in stupid pride, all the while thinking I was a fine Christian. I keep coming back to it, but I couldn’t be more grateful that God tapped me on the shoulder and showed me a mirror, giving me a glimpse of the blackness of my soul. I wish I could say I have walked in perfect humility and obedience since then, but sadly that’s not the case. I’m still daily in need of His grace and mercy, but praise God, He gives it! Like Paul, I am in awe of the fact that God chose and uses me. I desire to help every believer grasp that He has chosen them and wants to use them as well. We are so slow to grasp that! We cling to Ephesians 2:8-9, but forget 10, that says God has already prepared good works for us to do. One of my good works is helping others understand that He has things prepared for them as well! It is absolutely incredible that the Creator has planned for us to spend eternity with Him, in fellowship of a kind and a degree that is beyond our grasp at this point. I am to rest in that assurance and rejoice to communicate it to others, so that they too may move into all that He has planned for them.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that I can call You Father! That in itself is downright incredible. Help me indeed live as Your child, being increasingly transformed into the likeness of Your Son, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!