Bible Doxologies: Part 5
A Biblical doxology is a short segment of Scripture praising God and extolling His glory. Doxology means ‘word of glory.’ This article will present popular doxologies from the later books of the New Testament. These doxologies are frequently used in Christian worship services. We will examine their deeper meaning. Hopefully this will enable a greater appreciation of God’s glory.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph 1: 3).
This is another doxology that doesn’t have the word glory attributed to God. However, it ascribes blessings to God, who continually showers blessings upon His children. This verse enlightens us about the spiritual nature of most of God’s blessings. This means we do not apprehend them with our physical senses. That seems strange in a time in which televangelists crowd the media outlets. They proclaim material blessings of prosperity God has lavished upon them and extend those promises to many. But these claims are not well founded in Scripture. God does not promise believers material blessings that bring prosperity in today’s world. There are many Scriptures that promise a future time during which there will be no sin and suffering (Isaiah 25: 8; 60: 20; Rev. 21: 3-4). Peace will reign in that world (Isaiah 9: 6-7). People will live hundreds of years free of diseases that afflict us today (Isaiah 65: 17-20). But that is a future time. We are not there yet. The Scriptures clearly explain believers of our world will be beset with sufferings, afflictions, and persecution (Rom. 8: 18; Phil 3: 10; Col 1: 24; 1 Peter 4: 13). These will persist until Jesus calls His Body of Christ heavenward. However, God promises to satisfy our material needs when living in this world (Matthew 7: 25-34). Jesus explained our needs for food, clothing, love and fellowship will all be supplied by God. But Christians tend to expand these needs to wants.
This above Scripture explains our true blessings reside in heaven. This means each believer has a multitude of blessings residing in heaven. They can’t be seen because they are in a place where we cannot go—a place that is not bound by time. What are some of these heavenly blessings? We do not know all of them, for the above Scripture tells us ‘every spiritual blessing.’ We know there are many blessings awaiting us—beyond our greatest imagination. The Bible lists some of these blessings—enough that we should be satisfied in this world until we arrive home—in heaven. God’s Word promises we will have a glorified brand new body free from the scourges of sin and death. God will banish suffering from eternity in heaven. Tears and pain will never again afflict a believer. God has provided us an eternal home in heaven. We can only imagine what that might be like. Jesus has been constructing it for several thousand years. We must remember that it took Him only six days to create the entire universe! Most of all, we will see God in the fullness of His glory. We will frolic with the Shepherd, the Lamb of God, who died for our sins in this world. We will converse with Him and the saints who we read about in God’s Word. We will fellowship with believers from the Body of Christ, as well as believers saved by faith in other ages. If that is not enough, the Bible cites additional heavenly blessings promised to God’s children.
We live in a world where fulfillment of expectations in a timely fashion is of utmost importance. However, God’s Word teaches otherwise. Many Bible writers instruct us to defer present desires and place our hope in a time future. The Scriptures term this our blessed hope (Titus 2: 13) and our living hope (1 Peter 1: 3). This hope connects with the heavenly blessings Paul refers to in this doxology. Biblical hope is not a maybe, pie in the sky, fantasy. It is a sure, certain target that all believers will one day achieve (Hebrews 6: 19-20). But we must apprehend it by faith with our spiritual eyes while living in this world.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Eph 3: 20-21).
We must draw great comfort from the fact that God does far more for us than we even know. We do not have the ability to ask for every spiritual need and often cannot even name them. What a wonderful thing to consider—God supplies our eternal needs and blessings from His fountainhead of omnipotent power. Nothing can interrupt that flow of electricity! The power that works within us is God’s Grace—God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. ‘To Him be the glory forever and ever!’
Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen (Philippians 4:20).
Other Scriptures ascribe glory to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This Scripture places the laser focus on God the Father. Why is that? God the Father is top dog in the heavenly hierarchy. God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have all the attributes of God the Father—omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, as well as many others. But Persons of the Godhead do not act independently of one another. They function as a unit, submitting to God the Father as their Head. Jesus repeatedly cited His oneness with the Father and His submission to Him in all things (ie. John 8: 42; 10: 37-38). The Holy Spirit functions similarly. God the Father sent the Holy Spirit after the Son ascended to heaven to sit at His Father’s right hand (John 15: 26; 16: 13-14). God established worldly institutions of marriage, government and work to function in a way that mimics the submission within the Godhead. So we must attribute eternal glory to God the Father, from Whom all things flow and to whom all must submit—even God the Son and God the Spirit.
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen (1 Tim 1: 17).
Most theologians believe this grand doxology addresses God in His compound unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Now unto the King eternal – There is one and only One God, who is the everlasting King—the King of all ages. He created the world and the universe in which it resides. He sustains the stars in their constellations and the planets in their orbits. He brought light out of darkness and said it was good (Gen. 1: 3-4), and He is the ‘Light of the world’ (John 1: 9; 8: 12). God the Son will rule the world on King David’s Throne during the earthly millennial kingdom (2 Samuel 7: 12-13; Isaiah: 9: 6-7). Thereafter, He will reign Supreme in the New Heavens and Earth.
Immortal – Immortality refers to God, Himself—not His reign. It means He does not die, and this distinguishes Him from other ruling monarchs. All other kings and rulers die, just like their subjects. God is incorruptible. He never grows old and never deteriorates in function or strength.
Invisible – God fills all things, works everywhere, and yet is invisible to angels and men. False gods and idols, on the other hand, are sticks and stones confined to one spot. They have no ability to work, and are seen by everyone who worships them.
The Only God – This rules out all other gods—those worshipped by polytheists and monotheists. God is unique, all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), and everywhere present (omnipresent). He is One and there are no others.
Be Honor and Glory Forever, and Ever. Amen
No created being, heavenly or earthly, can even begin to approach God, for He is far above all principalities and powers in the spiritual realm (Ephesians 1:19b-23). Yet, He touches those who desire forgiveness and have a contrite heart (Isaiah 57:15). He is reachable in the realm of the spirit to those whose hearts are open to Him (John 4:24), and His Word (John 1:1-3; John 1:14). Therefore, He is the One to Whom all honor and glory belong for ever and ever (compare Ephesians 3:21), for He alone is worthy of these, to which all created beings will proclaim: ‘Amen!’
There are two great forces molded together in God’s revelation of Jesus Christ—power and love. Power alone is harsh and may become oppressive. However, power is an equal link with love in the chain of God’s attributes. Love is often impotent unless it is energized by power. Both these traits are maximized in Jesus Christ. God’s power lifts His love to the highest height. We appreciate God’s love for us because Jesus humbled Himself, taking on the flesh of a man and dying a criminal’s death on a cross (Phil. 2: 5-11). God’s power raised Jesus from the grave, proving His Deity. An unregenerate man has no capacity to appreciate the loftiness of the King of ages. Neither can he apprehend the majesty of the incorruptible, invisible, and eternal God until he sees God in the face of Jesus Christ—hanging on a cross to pay for his sins. God’s brightest glory explodes from the Cross. ‘The King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God,’ is most honored and glorified in the forgiveness that He provides through Jesus Christ, and in the transforming power of the Grace Gospel. May ‘honor and glory forever, and ever’ be His alone! Amen!
Finally, the Apostle Paul penned these remarkable promises in his letter to the Ephesians:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe (Eph. 1: 18-19).
Wow! Could it be that God actually imparts the riches of His glory and the greatness of His power to believers? It certainly appears so, but patience and hope is the key to apprehending this inheritance in the next life.
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory (1 Tim 3: 16).
This is the last of Paul’s doxologies that we will consider. It was sung as a hymn in the early church by the communal fellowship of believers, and it summarizes the gospel message.
Great is the mystery of godliness! – The Old Testament prophets foretold Jesus’ first coming, but they did not understand it in all its fullness. God the Father kept this secret since before He created the world. The mystery speaks of God’s hidden plan of salvation accomplished in Christ’s first coming—the victory in the cross and resurrection. The word ‘godliness’ connotes faith and conduct bearing God’s testimony in a believer’s life. ‘The mystery of godliness’ connects the victory of Christ with the behavior of a believer. The victory of Jesus is key to a transformed life in Christ.
The remaining contents of this doxology build the foundation for the mystery of godliness in a believer’s life. They portray the mystery in greater detail.
He who was revealed in the flesh – God the Father revealed His Son in the flesh, affirming the incarnation of the Christ. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father” (John 1: 14). Jesus was born of a virgin and seen by a myriad of angels who observed His birth and proclaimed God’s glory (Luke 2: 14). Heavenly angels intervened to minister to Jesus after He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matt. 4:11). Jesus died a horrible death on the cross for the sins of mankind. The crucifixion completed His revelation in the flesh. However, He rose from the dead in all His resurrection glory and ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father.
Was vindicated in the Spirit – Jesus’ claims to Divinity during His earthly life (John 9: 42, 58; 10: 27-30) were vindicated by His resurrection from the dead and ascension to heaven. Through these two momentous events, Jesus Christ entered the supernatural realm and demonstrated His victory before angelic and hostile demonic powers. He was ‘vindicated’ in the heavenly realm of the Holy Spirit. Thereafter, God the Holy Spirit came into the world on Pentecost and vindicated the life and sacrifice of God the Son. He began the Body of Christ in the world and He continues this marvelous creation today. As a result, Jesus Christ is proclaimed among the nations and believed on in the world! The glorious Grace Gospel is proclaimed to the Gentiles, who previously dwelled in the darkness of the shadow of death. Jesus splendidly fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the coming Messiah:
He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations, so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth (Isaiah 49: 6).
Taken up in glory – qualifies this verse as a doxology. Indeed, God the Son is the glory of God the Father manifested to the world. He was taken into the heavenly realm following His glorious resurrection.
This doxology rejoices in the reality of the incarnation and the victory of salvation for all followers of Jesus Christ as a proven historical fact. Therefore, godly faith and behavior should be the testimony of all who follow Jesus Christ.