November 21, 2010

To the King Be Honor


“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).

Every proper response to God is a response to God’s greatness. Every right relationship to God is based on respect for God’s majesty. So if we seek God, what we are really seeking is to know enough of God’s greatness to respond to it with honor. By our sin, we have dishonored God terribly. What we should be seeking now is to regain the ability to honor God properly.

God is the source of all light. Our response to God should be to open our minds to God’s truth. It was falsehood and delusion that moved us to break our relationship with God, and if our problem is to be solved, we must have the courage to return to reality. We honor God when we make an honest commitment to truth and when, based on that commitment, we seek to know God truly.

But God is also the source of all life. Paul spoke of God as the God who “gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:17). The resurrection of God’s Son serves to “release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15). We honor God when we love God for the life that God has made possible.

And finally, God is the source of all strength. God enables us to do God’s will and restores to us the privilege of participating in God’s work. As Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). In the very highest sense, our labor can be a “labor of love” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). And we honor God when we serve God faithfully in the strength that God provides.

A simple way to sum up our proper response to God is to say that we must adopt both reverence and gratitude. To fail in either of these ways is to dishonor God. God's greatness as our King calls for us, as God’s subjects, to find our gladness in God’s glory. “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in” (Psalm 24:7).

“O Thou, who are the Light of the minds that know Thee, and the Life of the souls that love Thee, and the Strength of the thoughts that seek Thee; help us so to know Thee that we may truly love Thee; so to love Thee that we may truly serve Thee, whose service is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” (Gelasian Sacramentary).