Tom Hayes

The Doctrine of God

Living in the mountains of Western North Carolina, I am accustomed to thousands of people coming to view the colorful leaves every Fall. As a teenager, cars stopping on the road without warning and long lines of traffic on Saturdays bothered me. But, over the years, I’ve come to realize that the leaf-lookers come back year after year because the beauty of the colors cannot be fully absorbed.

The natural man cannot grasp why believers continually admire and praise the God of their salvation. From an unregenerate perspective, going to church, reading the Bible, praying, and longing for others to come to faith in Christ, seem so unnecessary. For those of us who have experienced His saving grace, however, we seek to know more of the glory, the splendor, and the majesty of God.

It is stated in the Bible that “Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). The prerequisite for coming to God, and knowing Him, is believing that He is. The basis for loving Him is better knowing Him. Thus, the study, or the doctrine, of God, referred to in theological terms as Theology, is helpful to all classes of people.

A doxology is an outburst of praise, a celebration of thanksgiving to God. Throughout the New Testament, we come to various doxologies, all of which are recorded for different reasons. The doxology we will examine in this study concentrates on the reality and glory of God’s Person. We read, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17). Although this verse is very brief, it is loaded with truth about Who God is, and what He is like.

The first truth is a very basic one, namely:

l. The Existence Of God

In his book, The Future of an Illusion, Sigmund Freud declared that “God is an invention of man.” His reasoning is that man has deep-seated fears about the future, and has invented God as a protective father. But, using the Bible as our textbook, we see that He is “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.” And, if He has revealed Himself in this light, and is to be praised and honored “for ever and ever,” then, He must exist.

The beginning emphasis, therefore, involves:

A. The Personal Existence Of God

The God mentioned in the text is not set forth as a “thing,” or an “object,” but as a person. In fact, in using the name, “God” (Gr. Theos), the Apostle used the personal title for “the only and true God.” And, it is interesting, as well, that in the text, not only is His personal existence accepted, but He is highly esteemed. He is not viewed as “a” king, or “some” king, but “the” King, and “the” only wise God.

Furthermore, we are confronted with:

B. The Pre-Existence Of God

He is not just referred to as the “King,” but as the “King eternal.” Together, the two words indicate that God is “the King of eternity,” or “the King of the ages.” In ages past, before anything was created, God was the eternal King! “In the beginning,” Moses wrote, “God!” (Gen. 1:1). Of course, the term indicates, as well, that, in the ages to come, beyond this life’s shore, He will be the eternal King!

This brings us to another emphasis regarding:

C. The Perpetual Existence Of God

This One, Who is the King eternal, is to be praised “for ever and ever.” He not only is the God Who always has been, and the God Who is, but He is the God Who forevermore will be! The God of the past is the God of the present! And, the God of the present is the God of the future! “From everlasting to everlasting,” the Psalmist cried, “Thou art God” (Psa. 90:2).

We come, secondly, to the matter of:

2. The Excellence Of God

In a five-fold way, the Apostle celebrates the excellence, or the vastness, of God. The first term, “King,” points us to:

A. The Invincibility Of God

In this title, we see the One with no competition. He is the Mighty Monarch, the Powerful Potentate, the Royal Ruler. Our God is in a class all to Himself. In fact, He said about Himself, “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the LORD, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:6). To use New Testament phraseology, He is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15).

The second description, “eternal,” reveals:

B. The Immutability Of God

This means He is the One with no change. There is no variance in His character. With Him, there “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). There is no vacillation in His conduct. He is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8). In the marriage vows, couples vow to take their mates “for better or for worse.” But, God can never be better or worse, because He is always the immutable, unchanging, eternal God.

Without question, the word, “immortal,” directs us to:

C. The Immortality Of God

By immortality, we mean He is the One with no corruption. Our God is imperishable; He can never decay! When He contacts death, death dies, and life prevails. In Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, death was overthrown and resurrection life enthroned! Now, death has no power over believers. And, we are promised that “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53).

The fourth term, “invisible,” clearly accentuates:

D. The Invisibility Of God

As the invisible God, He is the One with no conflicts. Close the door, and He’ll walk through it. Raise a barrier, and He’ll climb over it. Attempt to hide, and He’ll be there before you arrive. He’s the invisible God, and nothing hinders Him! He knows no limitations, no boundaries, no obstacles. As the bride said about her bridegroom, we say about our God, “Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills” (Song 2:8).

Lastly, the phrase, “the only wise God,” underlines:

E. The Infallibility Of God

The God of the Bible is the One with no confusion. To quote the great commentator, “He only is infinitely wise, and the fountain of all wisdom” (Matthew Henry). His wisdom is perfect! “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). An author’s imperfections are often manifested in an added appendix. But, God needs no appendix; He makes no mistake!

The final phrase of the text magnifies:

3. The Eminence Of God

We come now to the high position and rank of our God. Paul calls to our attention that He is worthy of “honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” In the life of Abraham, we learn that He is “the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:19). The Psalmist declared that He is “the most high over all” (Psa. 83:18). To say the least, God is not just another character. He is not just another personage. He’s the exalted God of heaven and earth!

First of all, this phrase reminds us of:

A. The Deserving Nature Of God

In this doxology, we are called upon to give Him “honour and glory.” It is representative of the refrain of the future, when it will be said, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Rev. 5:13). All adoration is to be granted to Him! All accolades are to be cast before Him! All applause, or praise, is to be brought to Him! He alone is worthy. He alone is deserving. He alone merits our praise and thanksgiving.

Again, the concluding words of the text present to us:

B. The Durable Nature Of God

Not only is our God worthy of all honor and glory, but He is worthy of it “for ever and ever.” Nothing that is eternal in our lives is a result of our faithfulness! Rather, that of eternal significance issues out of God’s faithfulness. He is faithful and enduring, and He should be faithfully honored by His people! He saves us forever! He keeps us forever! He claims us forever! And, He is worthy of praise forever!

In the final analysis, we see:

C. The Dependable Nature Of God

The Apostle concludes the doxology with an “Amen.” He is convinced that God is dependable in all these areas. Our God is King! “Amen.” Our God is eternal! “Amen.” Our God is immortal! “Amen.” Our God is invisible! “Amen.” Our God is the only wise God! “Amen.” He is worthy of honor and glory! “Amen.” And, He is worthy of honor and glory forever! “Amen.” And, all the people said, “Amen.”

Not far from my house is a beautiful waterfall known as Pearson’s Falls. Another very beautiful sight is Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. An even more beautiful and powerful waterfall is the renown Niagara Falls. In the Person of God, there are also many different manifestations of divine glory and majesty. May we be brought “from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Cor. 3:18).