“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)
Many of the grand old hymns of the faith consist of the actual words and phrases of Scripture, either repeated verbatim or paraphrased and collected around a doctrinal theme. Such is the case for the stately hymn “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise,” where we find, almost in list form, the attributes and character of God. In each of the next four days, we will focus our attention on one of its four verses, and through them on our great God and His nature.
Immortal, invisible God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.
Obviously, much of the source for this first verse comes from the benediction in our text above. God is both eternal and immortal. “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14) He called Himself. Later we read that the Immortal One died but rose from the dead and now “ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25).
Daniel called Him the “Ancient of Days” and described Him with great splendor and brilliance (Daniel 7:9-14). Paul called Him “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
Note Daniel’s testimony of praise: “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his, and he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: . . . and the light dwelleth with him” (Daniel 2:20-22). JDM