Eternal, Immortal, Invisible

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters. Readers by now know that we are in a Trinitarian Bible Study. We have been going through the Bible looking at what we can find on the doctrine of the Trinity. Right now, we are in the Pauline epistles and tonight, we are going to start the pastoral epistles which begin with 1 Timothy. Our verses tonight will be 15-17. Let’s go to the text:

15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

To begin with, let’s be sure we’re all at the same ground on the cross. Christ Jesus came to save sinners. Paul realized that he was the worst. This is my contention with any of us if we look at the cross. We have to be able to say that we are the worst. None of us can look at the cross and say “Well geez. I’m a pretty good guy. I’m not that bad.” No. There is no room to lift yourself up at the cross.

Paul sees this as the basis for his being shown mercy however. Since he is the worst of sinners, Christ can show how awesome his grace is. Note that he speaks of the unlimited patience of Christ. Christ is willing to forgive the worst of sinners and is therefore willing to forgive anyone.

However, couched in that is the statement that all who believe on Christ will receive eternal life. Paul makes the focal point again be the response to Christ. In the Old Testament, we would expect the response to YHWH to be the main reason, but in the New Testament, it is the response to Christ.

The next verse is a doxology to God, but I find it important since I believe these same attributes are given to Christ and if that is the case, then we see Paul would have here been including Christ within the divine identity.

In fact, we see John did apply these to Christ. For his eternality, we saw that Jesus was in the beginning with God. There never was a time when the Son was not. We will see this more when we get into the wonderful epistle of the Hebrews.

John again reminds us of the immortality of Jesus in that no one can take the life of Jesus, but he willingly lays it down. Jesus could die in his humanity, in that his soul could be separated from his body, but he could not die in his deity. He could not cease to exist.

Now as a man, he is of course visible when in the body, but Jesus in his deity is invisible. We know this because he is the one through whom all things came, including matter, the instrument by which anything is seen by material beings.

Paul’s statement is a statement of monotheism. However, it is not a statement of monotheism that excludes Jesus from the divine identity. One can believe in a divine identity with multiple persons and still be a monotheist.

We shall continue this tomorrow.

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