"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Timothy 1:17)
The second verse of "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?" poses and solves a great mystery:
T'is mystery all! the immortal dies!
Who can explain this strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries,
To sound the depths of love divine;
T'is mercy all! Let earth adore!
Let angel minds inquire no more.
Our text reminds us that God is immortal. And yet, "Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3) to bring us salvation. If this astounds us (and it should), we can take solace in that we are not alone. "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things . . . which things the angels desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:10-12).
Think of it! The Creator, the Author of life, has died to offer eternal life to His creation, for "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23), and the "wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). He died, so that we don't have to die! This grand plan remains beyond our full grasp, as it always was to the prophets and the angels.
The motive behind His plan is God's mercy. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us; . . . Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour" (Titus 3:5-6). "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out" (Romans 11:33). JDM