I’ve been meditating on 1 Timothy lately. I figured it was a good place for me to camp out since it’s a letter written to a young pastor and I’m a young pastor, etc.
I came across a verse that caught my attention in a special way. It was 1 Timothy 1:11. Here it is:
…that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I was entrusted. (NRSVue)
The reason this stuck out to me so much requires a little explanation. I’ve been in a season of renewal recently. I’ve realized anew that I love God. How odd for a pastor to say, but it’s true. I realized how much I loved God. Or more aptly, I remembered how much I love God. It is so easy to forget.
I harken it to the phenomenon I sometimes get with Hannah. In the midst of the business of life I forget sometimes that we are not just roommates or teammates. In the business of life – paying bills, working, getting the car’s oil changed, budgeting, etc. – it is so easy to forget that we not only like each other…. we love each other. I have found myself at times pausing and coming to my senses and saying, “hey! I love you! That’s why we got married and started this journey together in the first place!”
For me, it’s the same way with God. I get caught up in the business of ministry and forget why I got into it in the first place. I can get so busy working for the Lord that I forget to just be with the Lord.
How does all of that relate to this verse? Great question. I promise I have a connection.
I was enraptured by this verse in my reflections because I remembered that “blessed” is sometimes translated “happy” in scripture. Reading this verse through that lens sparked some excitement in me: the glorious gospel of the happy God. I need that: a glorious gospel of a happy God.
I need a glorious gospel. I am so tired of the sentimentalisms and worn cliches that often pass as the gospel in the church today. I am tired of the idea that Jesus is just my whipping boy who gets punished instead of me – an idea that is not in the Bible. I want a good news that is actually good. More than that, I want good news that is glorious. And I have remembered recently in this time of renewal that the gospel is glorious! The Gospel is not a “get out of hell free card.” The Gospel is the good news that we all the roadblocks to relationship with God have been removed and now the path is clear to walk with God unhindered forever. The Gospel is a for more than a from. We are saved for love, relationship, personhood, new creation, resurrection bodies, and joy.
I also need a happy God. I am so tired of thinking of God as an angry tyrant who seems more childish than God-like (i.e. the God of the Calvinists). In no uncertain terms, that is NOT the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is NOT the God I worship. That is the corrupted picture of God painted by Calvinists and theologians with daddy issues (often those are the same). Our God is happy. He is happier than our most robust picture of happiness. He is Happiness in the fullest sense.
I need a glorious gospel and a happy God because I was raised on – and I imagine many others were also raised on – a pitiful gospel of the angry and petulant God. Rejoice my friends! The gospel is glorious and our God is the happy God.