Our Exalted Savior!

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:11-16)

If you have read many of Paul’s letters in the New Testament then you know how he regularly spends time simply exalting the Lord with grand descriptions of His character and truths about Him. The whole reason that Paul lived was to exalt the Lord. Whether he was in prison or pastoring a church or working as a missionary evangelist or traveling or teaching one on one, his aim was to make the name of his Lord known.

He had miraculously found Christ, or really, Christ found Him and ever since then he longed that others would also know Jesus.

It is easy for any of us to get so bogged down with life and work and ministry that we almost forget why we are here. Isn’t that true? We go to work or school or we are working at home, we shop and we do hobbies and we have relationships and this is an election season and football season and people in our families get sick and we all have problems with which we are dealing. Life is full, life is busy, and in the busyness of life we can completely miss what we are here to do. Why are we here? We are here as Christians to glorify God and make Him known, or as John Piper says, we are here to make much of God.

Paul too was a busy man, he was busy training Timothy to stand against false teachers and training him on how to pastor a church. Paul was busy, but not too busy to praise and glorify the Lord. And so in the midst of writing to Timothy and encouraging Timothy he does just that, he launches into a few short statements that speak volumes about God.

He is like, “Timothy, yes, life is hard and you are in the middle of a significant trial, I know that, but let’s not forget why we are here and whom we are serving!” So who are they serving? Here is what he says:

he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:15b-16)

Who is the Lord God? Who is Paul serving, who is Timothy serving, and who are we to be serving?

“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign.”

Here is the thing for Christians. We have a relationship through Jesus with the blessed and only Sovereign. We are so enamored with powerful people. We can be carried away by powerful people, whether actors, actresses, athletes, politicians, business people, those who are the go-to thinkers in our day. We listen to them, we seek their opinion on things, we would be honored to sit with them over dinner. And yet for most of us, our interaction with them will only be in our imagination or it will be one way in that we may hear what they say but they will never hear what we say. We may be a part of their audience but they will never be a part of ours.

But whoever these people are that we look up to, they are not the blessed and only sovereign. They are not God. And yet we can have a relationship with God. He does take an interest in every believer’s life, He is near and He cares, and that is incredible!

God being the only Sovereign means that His rule and power is from Himself and to Himself. There is no power delegated to Him from some other source. If He got His power from somewhere else then that source could be cut off and His power diminished. God’s power comes from God. He is absolutely sovereign. His rule is everywhere and He has no rivals. Listen to what Isaiah has said about God:

25 To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:25-31)

Or listen to God’s claim from Isaiah 43:13: “Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”

yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Corinthians 8:6)

As the only Sovereign, He is also said to be the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We need to not just hear this but we need to believe it. We need to believe that our God is the King of all kings and He is the Lord of all lords. He is over and above and in control of every earthly leader. His sovereignty, His power, His status as King of kings does not fade during an election season.

It is right, I think, for us to be concerned about the state of our nation and about those who are chosen to lead our country. We have a unique role in our country in that we get to participate in elections for our leaders. We should be applying biblical principles and biblical thinking when we make decisions about voting. We should have a biblical worldview as we discuss politics with our neighbors. We should be praying about our voting choices, praying for our leaders and leaders to-be and praying about the direction of our country and its future.

We should do all these things as citizens of this country and as Christians. But we should not talk and act as if our earthly leaders, no matter who they are, act as if they are ultimately in control of us or our future. Whoever is elected president this November, he or she will not be the only blessed sovereign or the King of kings or the Lord of lords. That position is permanently filled and cannot change.

We should find comfort in the position of our God. We need to find comfort in His role as ruler and Lord over all other rulers. He is at work and His work will be done even if we don’t understand it. We may face persecution in our country as Christians, but that does not mean God is not at work. Persecution may lead to revival here as it has in other places. Persecution may lead to a fresh outbreak of the Spirit’s work here among us. We don’t know but we can trust our God who does know.

For some of us, honestly, these national or world issues are not something you are thinking about. Sometimes those things we can say, “Okay, I get it, God rules over all other authorities,” but our struggle may be believing that He rules over our individual lives, over our circumstances, over our troubles and pain. We can see that God is big and so we may think He is too big to care, really care for us and our troubles. But God does. He is with you too!

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:29-30)

He is not a God who is so big that He has to be distant from you. He is a God who is so big that He can be near you while still ruling the whole world and all the people in it. He is near and He cares.

How do we know He cares for His children? The greatest way we know is because He sent His Son to be crucified for them, for us. That demonstrates that He cares. He cares for you.

Can you see God in His rightful place? Are you able to live your life with Him in view and see Him as the ruler of all and see Him as one who loves you? We need that, we need to see Him for who He is and rejoice that He is over all!

Paul goes on to exalt the Lord…he can’t stop yet, there is more to say!

who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. (1 Timothy 6:16)

Notice the exclusivity of God. He is the only sovereign, and now He alone has immortality. There is no one like Him, no one equal to Him. This is a way of saying that God is eternal. He has been in existence forever and He will exist forevermore. Immortality literally means deathless. God is unending. In John 5:26 we read that the Father has life in Himself. He is the everlasting God.

This is huge for us. He is not like an earthly leader whom we like and agree with who will be in power today but gone tomorrow. He is not elected at the whim of the culture or society. He is immortal, eternal, and His reign will not end.

He also “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.”

In Psalm 104 we read that God covers himself with light like a cloak. What does this mean, what is this reference to light? It is an expression of holiness. It is descriptive of perfection, moral purity. This is certainly unlike any earthly ruler or any person period. And since He is perfect and holy, so are all His ways.

Do you know and do you believe that all of God’s ways are pure and right? I mean do we know this beyond just a religious thing to say, do we believe that? Can we look around us and into our life circumstances and say, “God is good and wise and His ways are pure and I can trust Him in this, in His care for me”?

Though we have never seen Him, we have seen His Son in the pages of Scripture. We see Christ who is the perfect image of His Father. We see Jesus described this way in Colossians 1:15 – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”

And this God who dwells in unapproachable light has given us this message through His Son, listen to what our God desires from John 17:26, this is important and should be encouraging for each of us: “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Do you believe that the Father loves the Son? Of course He does, He loves His son perfectly and what does Jesus want for us? That that very same love will be in us, that God’s love, the love of God be in us.

Paul concludes with this: “To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” To God be honor and eternal dominion! God is to be respected, honored.

whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:11)

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24 and 25)

God is to be honored and glorified and we are to see Him as having majesty, authority, all power. When we are not actively thinking this way, life gets hard, circumstances overwhelm, and a lack of joy will come over us. When we take our eyes off of God and His perfections and His will, we will focus our eyes on something inferior and we will easily become discouraged. We are here to look to Him and depend on Him. And He is able to perfectly care for us. We can settle in with Him. And this is not just for today, it is for all eternity.

I want to encourage you to look to Him today. Look to Him when things seem to be going well and when they don’t. Let His character, His attributes comfort and keep you. Find rest in Him, peace in Him.

he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:15b-16)