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Doxology! 1 Timothy 1:15



Paul Praises God for His Grace – but Look at the CONTENT of His Praise!
Text: 1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Suddenly and without warning, Paul bursts into a spontaneous song of praise to Almighty God, in verse 17. Paul often does this, – praise flows from our understanding of what God has done on our behalf, worthless sinners that we are. What does Paul’s praise sound like? Is Paul praising God for what he (Paul) has done, some act or work or saving merit of his own, or for what God has done FOR HIM?

1. The CAUSE for Paul’s Praise!
Notice carefully the motivation for Paul’s song of praise. Paul praised God for:-

Personal grace! God has been gracious to Paul.
* In saving him! His grace had been effected in Paul’s life, – he describes himself as the worst of sinners, yet God had drawn him and regenerated him, and given him the necessary faith that he needed to accept his mercy and pardon, and he had repented from his sins.
* In using him for His glory. Furthermore, despite Paul’s awful record of persecution of the Body of Christ, God had dealt with him even more graciously when he placed him in a unique position within the foundational ministries in the church. V12

General grace! Look at verse 15-16. There are two references to the grace of GOD TO ALL SINNERS:
* Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS! That was his mission, – and if God’s grace to extend as far as Paul, a blasphemer and persecutor, then there is no limits to it’s reach!
* His pattern is established! No, we won’t all have Damascus Road experiences – but a pattern HAS been established, in that God will draw each one of us, rebellious sinners to himself with great patience, wooing us to himself, arresting us on the road to eternity, – that is to those who ‘are going to believe on Him for eternal life’

A personal experience of God’s saving work in Christ, and a knowledge that that saving work is also available for other worthless sinners too.

2. The CONTENT of Paul’s Praise!
It is solely about God, and nothing about Paul. Paul’s praise is directed to God, and expresses in doctrinal terms, the majesty of God’s person. He declares that God is:

  1. The Eternal King. The word eternal here translates the Greek word, αιώνος – its root is the word from which we get our word eon, it literally means AGES. He is the King of AGES! Let’s just explore that for a minute:
    1. He is the King of Ages past! He is the sovereign God who who created the universe, out of nothing at all, – who shaped this formless earth.
    2. He is the King of Ages present! Right now he reigns! He reigns over his church, and, although they might not acknowledge it yet, he reigns over the kingdoms of this world. Psalm 22:27
    3. He is the King of Ages to come! There will be a day when all tribes and tongues and nations will bow, and acknowledge his kinship. The kingdom of God will never perish.
  2. The Immortal King. So, is Paul saying exactly the same thing when he declares that God is both eternal and immortal? Not at all! His IMMORTALITY refers to the incorruptibility of his divine nature. We mortals dwell in bodies that are perishing! But one day we will inherit his immortality! There will be a day, when Christ shall return and there shall be a resurrection of the dead and we shall be changed!
  3. The Invisible King. That’s a relief! People want to see so that they believe, and they say, ‘seeing is believing’. Yet: If we were to see God we would perish for he dwells in unapproachable light. …  God has revealed himself in Jesus! John 14:8 When we meet Jesus, we meet the Invisible King!
  4. The Incomparable King! God alone. μόνο Θεός (The KJV adds, ‘wise’ Σοφία and there is no reason why not, – that is true – for He is the source of all wisdom – but many manuscripts simply read, ‘the Only God) There is no other God beside the Lord! Let’s just look at how Paul describes this ‘one God’ to us here.  In verse 15, Jesus is God! Paul confidently affirms for us that He has forgiven our sins, and that, to the Jewish mind was a work that only God could do.In verse 17, the Father is God! Now that is no contradiction, it is simply a practical understanding of the Trinity, demonstrating the role of the three persons in the one Godhead in our redemption – a classic out-working of Paul’s trinitarian theology.

All of these attributes are the qualities of God’s sovereignty! He is the KING – Βασίλης – Now, we are well used to referring to Jesus as King but the Bible also designates Kingship to God the father too! There is no conflict there. They are ‘co-regents’ of the Royal throne – for the Holy Trinity is undivided in its essence.

3. The COMPASS of Paul’s Praise!
So this whole verse encompasses the greatness of God – how greatly is he to be praised?
* See its extent in its exaltation! Honour and glory! It is the highest of Praise! It is the song of the redeemed in glory around the heavenly throne, when they cry ‘Worthy is the Lamb!’ – And we join with them in praising our great God and king.
* See its extent in its eternal duration. For ever and ever! Again ‘for ever and ever’ is the same root as ‘eternal’ – τους αιωνας των αιωνων – for ages and ages! True praise is not confined to this life, for we shall continue to praise him for his grace throughout eternity. Rev 1:5
© Bob McEvoy

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