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16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.


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16. Who only hath immortality—in His own essence, not merely at the will of another, as all other immortal beings [Justin Martyr, Quæst. ad Orthod., 61]. As He hath immortality, so will He give it to us who believe; to be out of Him is death. It is mere heathen philosophy that attributes to the soul indestructibility in itself, which is to be attributed solely to God's gift. As He hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (Joh 5:26). The term used in the New Testament for "immortal," which does not occur, is "incorruptible." "Immortality" is found in 1Co 15:53, 54.

dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto—After life comes mention of light, as in Joh 1:4. That light is unapproachable to creatures, except in so far as they are admitted by Him, and as He goes forth to them [Bengel]. It is unapproachable on account of its exceeding brightness [Theophylact]. If one cannot gaze steadfastly at the sun, which is but a small part of creation, by reason of its exceeding heat and power, how much less can mortal man gaze at the inexpressible glory of God [Theophylact, To Autolycus] (Ps 104:2; 1Jo 1:5).

no man hath seen—(Ex 23:20; Joh 1:18; Col 1:15; Heb 11:27; 1Jo 4:12). Perhaps even in the perfect state no creature shall fully see God. Still the saints shall, in some sense, have the blessedness of seeing Him, which is denied to mere man (Mt 5:8; 1Co 13:12; 1Jo 3:2; Re 22:4).




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