…the gospel of the glory of the blessed God. —1 Timothy 1:11
The gospel is a gospel of glory and the glory is the glory of God, but is Paul wanting to say something more specific than that? Is “blessed” just a chance adjective that Paul uses to describe God here such that he could have just as coincidentally said the gospel of the glory of the holy God, the immortal God, or the gracious God?
Rewind thirteen years. I come home and tell my parents that I have good news. Specifically, I say that I have “good news of the beauty of my godly fiancé.” When I use that phrase, do I desire to tell them about her beauty in general, such that godly is a chance adjective, or is the specific beauty that is such good news the beauty of her godliness? If you know my parents then you would know that the news that would most thrill them would be the news of her godliness. When you understand the person, then you realize that the adjective isn’t a chance choice.
When you understand the persons involved in 1 Timothy 1:11, then you know that “blessed” isn’t some chance adjective, and by persons I don’t merely mean Timothy and Paul. I mean the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When you understand the Trinity, then you see that the good news is good news of the glory of God’s happiness, His eternal bliss, His unconquerable joy.
Why is God so happy? The short answer is that He is God. But our sinful minds can misunderstand that too easily. We read Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases,” and we think God is happy simply because He can do whatever He wants to do. We say we would be happy too if we were God. Like the little child that sees dad and mom staying up late, watching a movie, eating popcorn and thinks that being an adult is the happiest thing in the world because you can do whatever you want, we are naive. Their are deeper joys and complexities beyond the child’s comprehension. So it is with God, but we do get glimpses. One such glimpse is at Jesus’ baptism. There we get a snippet of how the Triune God has eternally related. The Son does the Father’s will, The Father sends the Spirit to anoint His Son and exclaims, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” No dad rising from the bleachers has ever matched God the Father’s rising from the throne, rending the sky and exclaiming His joy. The Father is happy because the perfect Son perfectly reflects His perfect glory.
God’s happiness rests ultimately not on what He does, but in who He is. God is love. God’s being love didn’t happen once upon a time. It didn’t rev up at creation. It didn’t ignite when God breathed into man the breath of life. Eternally the Father has delighted in the Son, the Son in the Father, and the Spirit in the Father and Son.
Redemption overflows from this love. Creation and redemption speak to the fullness of God’s delight in God. Why did the Father plan our redemption? For the glory of the Son (Philippians 2:8–11; Colossians 1:15–17). Why did the Son accomplish our redemption? For the glory of the Father (John 12:27–28; 14:31; 17:1-4). Why does the Spirit apply our redemption? To glorify the Son and the Father (John 15:26; 16:14).
But now for the goodest part of this goodest of news. Our redemption not only flows out of God’s joy in God, it flows into God’s joy in God. At the end of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 He asks His Father, “that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” With what love do you love Jesus? You love Jesus with the Father’s love for Jesus put in you by the Spirit. Your love for Jesus is an expression of the Father’s love for Jesus. Astoundingly, in John 15:9, Jesus says that He loves us as the Father has loved Him. How is this not idolatrous? Because His love for us and toward us is an expression of His love for the Father. Jesus goes on to say that He has spoken these words (Joh 15:9-11) so that His joy may be in us, and that our joy may be full. Our love for God is God’s love for God. Our joy in God is God’s joy in God.
Behold the fountain from which our salvation flows and which it flows into—the blessed triune God. This fountain is its own undiminishing source, so it is natural that it would flow back into itself. The ocean of bliss from which our salvation flows, is the fountain from which it gushed. God is the Alpha and the Omega of our salvation. Our salvation flows out of God’s delight in God, and into God’s delight in God so that we exclaim with David, “in your presence there is fulness of joy, and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).” This is the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. —Romans 11:36