Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE INVISIBLE GOD”

First Timothy 1.17

 

I have spoken to you on numerous occasions about the severe limitations imposed upon the pursuit of truth by the scientific method. To refresh your memory, though science can be a very powerful approach to searching for truth, it has two profound limitations that secular science worshipers refuse to admit: First, science requires observation, or the ability to see something happening, by means of the natural senses, or by means of scientific instruments such as telescopes and microscopes and things such as that. Second, science requires repetition, or events that both occur and occur again. If you cannot observe the event, either because it is beyond the reach of the five senses to detect (even with instruments), or because it is a non-repeating event that occurred in the past, then science is of little use to your search for truth.

Let us say, therefore, that this auditorium is the expanse of that portion of all truth that is within the grasp of science. That is, the area under this roof represents that which can be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and touched in connection with events that are repeated, that take place again and again. If that be so, then the domain of all truth could be represented by all of Monrovia, and not just what is under this roof. That would be truth related to what cannot be observed by means of the senses or with instruments, and which is either not related to an event that occurs, or it is related to an event that occurs only one time and that one time has come and gone.

You might wonder what in the world this line of thinking has to do with you. It has a great deal to do with you, in part because your life here on earth, and your eternity after you leave this life for the next life, is profoundly affected by events that are outside the realm of science to study, or by truth that is not what would be called an event, or a happening. Remember, science studies events. Let me provide an example to show you what I mean: Consider a little boy named Garrison. Garrison is a wonderful little boy, very bright and cheerful, who dearly loves to play with grownups. He likes to challenge big people, play games with big people, and he is addicted to laughing with big people. However, because Garrison is so young and inexperienced, he does not yet have a practical understanding of reality and the world he is in. That being the case, he actually thinks that when he is playing hide and seek with someone, if he closes his eyes and cannot see you he thinks because his eyes are closed that you in similar fashion cannot see him.

Of course, those of us who are big people smile at such a notion as Garrison has about closing his own eyes and becoming invisible. We know very well that my ability to see you has no affect on you being present, as well as being observable to someone else. Your existence is what is referred to as an objective fact, that is entirely unaffected by you being or not being seen. We understand the logic of that, while granting to Garrison his childish folly that he will outgrow over time, unless he is challenged. However, even if Garrison does not outgrow his childish misconception of reality, we know enough to attach no significance to his opinions. He is both scientifically unsophisticated and immature in his experiences. However, we should not be so tolerant of anyone who is supposedly sophisticated about things scientific and mature in his experiences who commits the same blunders as our little boy Garrison. You and I know that the existence of anything, or anyone, is not predicated on our having seen it, or upon our ability to see it. The question I have is that if so many people know this theoretically, and you know no adult of at least average intelligence who would not accept this line of reasoning, why do so many people deny the existence of God because they have not seen Him, and because they cannot see Him? Yet they do just that.

My friend, science examines events. However, God is not an event; therefore He is beyond the reach of science to examine and to consider. Science is limited to this physical universe, but God is outside this physical universe, though everywhere in it since He is omnipresent. Further, since science is only capable of dealing with the time-space-matter continuum, how is God to be considered in light of the fact that He not a part of and is entirely separate from the time-space-matter continuum?

Turn in your Bible to First Timothy 1.17, where the Apostle Paul describes the God he serves to young Timothy, who was his co-laborer for years before becoming the settled pastor of the church in Ephesus. When you find that verse, please stand for the reading of God’s Word: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Is it not interesting that so many people deny the existence of a Being simply because He is invisible, though He is at the same time the King eternal, immortal, the only wise God, Who is fully deserving of honor and glory for ever and ever? So many people are basically just grown up Garrisons who never outgrew their childishness about certain things. I sincerely hope you are not a bit of a Garrison, and that you are fully aware that it is not only possible, but absolutely certain, that there exists that which is not only unseen by you, but is invisible to you. Further hoping that you are not so foolish as to sometimes question the existence of God for so pathetic a reason as never having seen Him, let me spend some time this morning bolstering you. Before I begin, aren’t you glad one does not have to be a scientist, or to really even be interested in science, to know that the invisible God is real, and to know that denying Him because He is invisible is foolish?

Allow me to bring what I hope is a thought provoking message from God’s Word related to the invisible God. Three things:

 

First, THE BENEFITS THAT ACCRUE FROM GOD BEING INVISIBLE

 

We know that God is good. Amen? We also know that God is love, that God is merciful, that God is gracious, and God is exquisite to the nth degree with respect to every other admirable moral quality. Therefore, can it be a bad thing that God is invisible, or must it be a good thing that God is invisible? It must be a good thing. Let me suggest several benefits that you enjoy, or that you could enjoy if you were so disposed, from God being invisible.

However, before we go there, allow me to make an additional comment regarding the fact of God being invisible. There is, of course, a difference between being unseen and being unseeable. Our little Garrison does not understand that difference, and thinks by closing his eyes he becomes unseen by his own inability to see you. Whether Garrison’s eyes are open or closed, though you may at times be unseen, you are not unseeable; you are not invisible.

God is invisible, though He is not invisible to all His creatures. We know from Isaiah 6.2 that the seraphim, the flaming angels who guard the throne of God, cover their eyes in the presence of God, presumably because they are intent on preventing the possibility of seeing the brightness of His glory. Thus, my guess is that God is invisible to men, though He is not invisible to His holy angels who were created before God spoke the universe into existence and are not, therefore, subject to its physical laws and limitations. We also know that God has made Himself visible in some fashion in times past, though the precise nature of such theophanies, such God appearances, is not known to us. John’s gospel states the general principle in John 1.18, where we read, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

Why is it beneficial to us for God to be invisible? First, the very nature of God is such that He is the pinnacle of majesty, the greatness of glory, the most sublime Being in existence. Therefore, even if we never discover what precise benefits result to us from God being invisible, it must still be a good thing. It must be a great thing, because God is good and God is great. That said, it is a protection to us that God is invisible. Samson’s father said, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God,” in Judges 13.8. He was mistaken in thinking he had seen God, when he saw the angel of the LORD. His understanding that he would have died had he looked upon God’s glory, however, was spot on. The seraphim cover their eyes in the presence of God in the throne room of heaven. The holy of holies in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple was to be filled with smoke to protect the high priest when he entered once a year on Yom Kippur. Further, we know what happened to Moses’ face when he communed with God in a thick cloud. God is declared to be a consuming fire in three separate passages of scripture, certainly owing to His dazzling holiness.[1] Just as certainly, was God visible to us, unholy and defiled creatures that we are, we would be consumed. Job 15.15 tells us, “yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” Is it not then a wonderful thing that “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”?[2] Yes, it is a protection to the unsaved that God is invisible, for they would be consumed by reason of their sinfulness. Third, it is an opportunity to us that God is invisible. Hebrews 11.1 informs us that faith has to do with things not seen, while Hebrews 11.6 explains to us that without faith it is not possible to please God. If God was visible instead of invisible, imagine the difficulty of living by faith for creatures such as we are. And yet we must live by faith, for the just lives by his faith, we are told in four places in the Bible.[3] Therefore, as difficult as it is for us to live by faith and do His blessed will in these weak temples of clay we call bodies, it would be so much more difficult for us to please God, actually impossible to please God, if He were visible to us in this lifetime. Finally, there is the glory of God that is revealed to us by His creation. Assume it would be possible to look upon the brightness of God’s glory and live. Would not the brightness of God’s glory to such as we are so blind us that we would perceive little else? Yet with God being invisible to us, what can we know of God from His creation according to Psalm 19.1-3?

 

1      The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

2      Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3      There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

 

There is no time of the day or night when God’s glory is not declared, and there is no place in His universe where the testimony of His creative and sustaining genius is not shown by the nature of what He has wrought. At this time, and in these bodies of flesh, such would not be possible if God was visible to us.

 

Next, THE RESPONSIBILITIES THAT ARE ENJOINED FROM GOD BEING INVISIBLE

 

May I direct your attention back to our text? Reading it once again, First Timothy 1.17 says, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Is there any indication in these words that the Apostle Paul was suggesting any diminishing of the honor and glory to be paid to God because He happens to be invisible? Whatever is owed to God in terms of the honor paid to Him and the glory in which He is held is irrespective of Him being invisible. Thus, when it comes to worshiping God, when it comes to obeying God, when it comes to loving God, when it comes to exalting God, when it comes to praising God, when it comes to giving God great glory, it is due Him. Do not for a moment think that because God is the invisible God that He is not worthy to receive all His due.

In addition to that, there is something that is due God because He is the invisible God. He is due your faith. More about the particulars of faith in relation to the matter of salvation in a moment. For now, please look to Hebrews chapter eleven. Notice verse 1, where we are told that one aspect of faith is that it is “evidence of things not seen.” That applies not only to events that occurred without being observed, but also to the unseen Being, Who is the invisible God. Verse 3: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” That which is seen, our physical universe, does not come from that which is seen. Rather, what is seen comes from Him Who is invisible. Look at verses five, six, and seven. Remembering that faith has to do with that which is not seen, verse five reminds us that Enoch pleased God. Verse six tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. And verse seven tells us, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen.” Drop down to verse twenty-seven, where we are told about Moses obviously pleasing God: “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Would that we had more time to develop this. However, we can already see what is required. God is invisible. Faith deals with issues that are not visible. Faith pleases God. In days gone by men pleased God by faith, implicitly obeying Him in the same manner they would obey God if He were visible, to cite the example of Moses. Hebrews 4.13 shows us that God, this invisible God, is “him with whom we have to do.” In other words, we have to deal with God. You have to deal with God. Yet, because He is invisible, the only way you can deal with God, the only way you can deal with God in a manner that is pleasing to Him and at the same time beneficial to you, is by means of faith. Sadly, most people, because all men are dead in trespasses and sins, do not and will not deal with God by means of faith. That, of course, spells their ultimate doom.

 

Finally, THE INCARNATION OF THE GOD WHO IS INVISIBLE

 

The invisible God has created a race of men who were sinless, but who fell into the dark depths of depravity and are now estranged from God. Adam’s fall resulted in the death of all mankind, leaving us with spiritual death and utter hopelessness. To provide for the salvation of sinners, God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to become a man so that He might redeem individual men.

Jesus, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, was born of a virgin, taking upon Himself human flesh and human nature, yet without sin, so He might bear our burden, suffer the punishment of God’s wrath on our behalf, and become the great Object of our saving faith. Yes, He certainly was visible during His earthly sojourn, as He will be visible to us when He comes again to seize control of this wicked world and establish His kingdom here on earth. At present, He is not visible to us, though He is the Object of our faith. The Apostle Peter wrote these words about Christ and Christians: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

While He was here on earth the first time, the night before His crucifixion, Jesus said, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”[4] Now that He is raised from the dead and returned to His Father’s side in glory, He is the grand and glorious Object of our faith. Hebrews 12.2: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

To be sure, there will come a day when faith will no longer be needed. Paul wrote, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”[5] He was alluding to what John wrote about in First John 3.2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

At present, then, we deal with the invisible God by means of faith. We are reconciled to God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Without faith it is impossible to deal with the invisible God. For the Christian, there will come a day, when Jesus returns for us, when we will see Him face to face, ending any further need of faith as we look upon Him whom having not seen we love. However, for you who have refused to deal with the invisible God by faith, there will be only judgment, following by punishment.

 

I started a blog a couple of days ago. I suppose I will write down my thoughts in it from time to time. I have only one entry so far, which I wrote as I was thinking and praying about this message, and about the refusal of atheists to acknowledge the invisible God. Here is a portion of what I wrote:

 

“. . . the atheist would claim there is no God, though the reality is that the invisible God has not, or not yet, chosen to reveal Himself to the atheist beyond His natural revelation of Himself in the sky above or the earth beneath. What a frightening thing to ponder, that One of such majesty and glory might not choose to reveal Himself to someone, leaving him in the smug cockiness of his ignorance to suffer the fate he deserves.”

 

Are you one who is not yet convinced that God is? Please avoid the error of little Garrison, to think that because you cannot see God, He therefore does not exist. If you are not convinced by things around you that God is, or if God has not in some other way persuaded you that He is, it does not mean He is not. It only means that the invisible God has left Himself unknown to you. Be afraid, you who are unaffected by God.

You need to seek the Lord while He may be found. And you must come to His Son, the only savior of sinful men’s souls, to find that salvation that is in Christ, by grace, through faith. It is difficult? It is impossible. However, it can be done through faith in Jesus, the faith of a small child. Just come to Him and He will receive you.



[1] Deuteronomy 4.24; 9.3; Hebrews 12.29

[2] 1 John 1.7

[3] Habakkuk 2.4; Romans 1.17; Galatians 3.11; Hebrews 10.38

[4] John 14.9

[5] 1 Corinthians 13.13



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org