Now to the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17 (NIV).
Most folks don’t usually end a letter in the middle, but Paul did. I suppose he wasn’t like most folks, especially since he devoted half of his life to radically enforcing strict Judaism before (being shifted) 180 degrees and becoming history’s greatest evangelist for Christ.
Paul knew who to thank, who had earned the glory. It wasn’t the man in the mirror. Look in the mirror now (or as soon as you can). You’re pretty special; God made you to be “very good” and someone in whom He could personally delight. But you don’t deserve honor and glory forever and ever (amen). You just don’t. None of us do.
I started teaching Sunday School again for the first time in over a decade. This season, I volunteered to help teach our church’s ‘tweeners’ (grades 3-5). I believe that’s an important age for us to mentor kids because it’s the time when they start feeling their way into the world. They become interested in music and movies and the world around them; they develop wider-ranging friendships; they start to make connections.
On Sunday I said this to the kids: the same Jesus who loves us and holds us and died on the cross is the same God who created everything by speaking, and who kept Noah and his family alive on an ark while everything else around them was destroyed. It’s true. The same God who spoke in Genesis 1:1 and in every word, chapter and book of the Bible is the same God who promised “Yes, I am coming soon” as the Bible closes out.
The only thing you can say to such a God is “to You be all honor and glory forever and ever, amen.”
That’s an exploding grace bomb in your mind. You and I (and Paul and Noah and everyone else) are sinners. We were born to live in communion with God yet we messed it up. Yet God sent His Son, Himself, to make right what we couldn’t. He came to us in love to bring justice by declaring “it is finished” when He completed our salvation. He is magnificent in every way, and every time you feel your heartbeat, or view a sunset, or contemplate the simple, complex beauty of a tree leaf, or simply wonder how you made it through today alive, you and I get to remind ourselves – and praise Him – that he is King, eternal, immortal, invisible and worthy of honor and glory forever.
That’s the perfect thought with which to conclude every action, every day, every letter, every moment.
For further reading: Revelation 15:3, 1 Timothy 6:16, Colossians 1:15, Jude 25, Romans 11:36, 1 Timothy 1:18
Lord God, I praise You as my King, as eternal, immortal, invisible and worthy of all honor and glory forever.