When reading through the sixth chapter of 1 Timothy 6, verses 15-16 may seem like a bit of a tangent. The Apostle Paul is giving instructions to his disciple, Timothy. In the midst of one of these instructions, he begins describing the majesty and glory of God. But this doxology is not random, it is positioned perfectly in Paul’s thoughts. He is encouraging Timothy in the task (that will not be easy) of remaining faithful in his ministry to the end. He is reminding Timothy, “This is the God who you serve! He is not mere stone or wood. He is sovereign, immortal, and even unapproachable. He is God!”
As Timothy engaged in the work of shepherding souls and establishing leaders in the church, he could do this knowing that He served the Creator God. Knowledge of God was intended to build up Timothy’s strength for the task. This is true of every church leader, member, or pastor today. The question is, “Do we know God?”
Here are a few thoughts from 1 Timothy 6:15-16 intended to help us in this task.
God Works in His Time for His Glory
Paul is encouraging Timothy to remain faithful in the task “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (14).” He then goes on to refer to this appearing when he says, “…which He (God) will display at the proper time.” Although we look forward to the coming of our Lord and Savior, we are not meant to become overly obsessed as to when that will happen. Paul expected the coming of our Lord as imminent, but he was not distracted by this. In fact, the coming of Christ propelled Paul’s mission to declare the Gospel to the world.
We would do well to remember that God works in His time for His glory. There are many things that we don’t know and maybe never will. This is okay! God is not bound to reveal anything to us. We should be overwhelmed by the fact that He was gracious enough to reveal His Son, Jesus Christ.
God is Ruler of All
Paul continues his reflection on God and describes Him as “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign (Ruler), the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (15).” What an incredible encouragement to know that God rules over all. There are times in this life when God seems very distant. Nations rise against nations, sickness prevails, and turmoil seems to be everywhere. But amidst these times, God is ruling over all, and He is working His great plan for the salvation of man and the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:6). You can trust Him!
God Cannot Die
In verse 16, we read, “…who alone has immortality.” God is eternal. God is holy. He is without sin. He never had a beginning, and He will never have an end. Not only this, but He defeated death. By sending His Son to pay the penalty for sinful man, God overcame death and now offers life.
God is Holy and Unapproachable
As we continue on in our text, we come to see that God is also One “who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see (16).”God is so holy and so pure that it is impossible for sinful man to gaze upon Him. In fact, we see in Isaiah 6 that even the angels who worship around the throne cover their faces due to the brightness and glory of God. No one can look upon this God and live. His holiness and His purity demand perfection, and we don’t match up to this perfection.
But Christ Jesus came to die for those who could not approach God. By the death and resurrection of Christ, we, sinful man, now have access to God through Christ! Let us live out Hebrews 4:16 which says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
What a God we serve! To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.