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Praise God

1 Timothy 1:17
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (NIVUK)

This verse is called a ‘doxology’, which simply means praise to the honour and glory of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  After Paul had described his personal wicked life, violently persecuting the church (1 Timothy 1:13-16), he contrasted his own sinful past with the glorious unchangeable nature of God.  

True praise is always objective and descriptive.  It focuses on the character qualities of God which are always true, irrespective of whatever our response might be (Psalm 106:48).  Praise which arises from our experience of God is precious (Isaiah 63:7) but so affected by our circumstances; but praise which is rooted in the Scriptures’ description of God’s character will remain firm even in the darkest times (Deuteronomy 32:3-4).

God is described as the King.  He has all authority and has the right to command everybody and everything.  He is also eternal; He has always existed and will have no end.  God is immortal; although Jesus died bearing the punishment for our sins, it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him (Acts 2:24).  God is invisible, although God was made visible in Jesus Christ for a short time and He will be seen in great glory on the final day (Matthew 24:30).  Until then we live by faith – trusting what the apostles have recorded for us (John 20:30-31).  

Our response to this amazing description of God’s nature is to honour Him with our worship and obedience.  We glorify Him by drawing attention to His amazing character and wonderful works as described in Scripture.  However, the church is often preoccupied with ‘what God has done for me’, rather than who He is; with what we are doing, rather than what He has done.  We easily draw attention to what we do, instead of His powerful work in the world.  Sinners who value their salvation will say, in the words of the former slave-ship captain John Newton, at the end of his life, ‘My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things very clearly: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour.’

Almighty God. Thank You for this doxology which reminds me of the importance of the Scriptures in defining how I praise You. Forgive me for thinking of You as less than You are, or for limiting my praise to thankfulness when my circumstances are good. Please help me to see You in all Your glorious majesty as I read the Scriptures and help me to take time to meditate on the immense perfection of Your character. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams