How Great Is God’s Unchanging Nature
How do you feel about change? In some ways, change can be exciting, such as a new opportunity or a new adventure or restored health or a reconciled relationship. However, for many of us, when we think of change, our mind goes to the negative things that are beyond our control. After all, we live in a world that is constantly changing! Every day, the night changes to day and back to night again. Every year, spring and summer give way to fall and winter. We’ve all seen the before-and-after pictures of neighborhoods that looked perfectly normal and peaceful until a tornado came through and wiped them out in a matter of seconds.
Just recently, I read the following news report. “A large sinkhole nearly swallowed a car in Davenport, Iowa. Water crews are working to fix the sinkhole that developed overnight due to a water main break. The sinkhole had a car in it that has since been removed. Residents in the area have been notified of the situation and were able to move their cars off of the streets. Story is developing.” Of course the story is developing, because it is just like every other story in a world that is constantly changing!
Of course, the world around us is not the only thing that is changing. As people, we are changing, too! This became even more obvious to me during this pandemic as I have gone months without seeing children that I would normally see every week. It’s amazing how much kids change in a few months, isn’t it? As adults, the changes may not be quite so exciting as we experience changes in weight, changes in the color (or density) of our hair, and changes in health. More than that, though, our attitudes and actions change. Like the sinkhole mentioned before, sometimes sins break through in ourselves and in others in ways that we might not have imagined. As we become tired and stressed, we start saying and doing things that might seem out of character, and it takes awhile to get back to “normal.” If there is anything about this world that never changes, it is the truth that everything is changing!
God Never Changes
How amazing it is, then, when we read in the Scriptures that God is a God who never changes! The psalmist declared of the Lord from a heart that was faint from affliction, “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end” (Psalm 102:25-27). What was true of God the Father in the Psalms is equally true of God the Son. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Furthermore, because God never changes, what was true in Bible times is still true today! As J. I. Packer writes in Knowing God, “Where is the sense of distance and difference, then, between believers in Bible time and ourselves? It is excluded. On what grounds? On the grounds that God does not change. Fellowship with Him, trust in His word, living by faith, ‘standing on the promises of God’, are essentially the same realities for us today as they were for Old and New Testament believers. This thought brings comfort as we enter into the perplexities of each day: amid all the changes and uncertainties of life … God and His Christ remain the same—almighty to save.”
God Is Unchanging In His Love
Thus, as we relate to the Lord, we must not think that He has changed since the inspired authors of Scripture wrote of Him in the Bible, or that He has changed from our experience of Him throughout our lives. As it relates to God’s love, the words of Romans 5:8 thrilled our hearts when we first believed that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” For, as one preacher puts it, “It was from the darkness round the cross that there rings out a voice so sure that God is love. Stand there for a moment, and surely you feel that, there and then at least, beyond all doubting, God was love. … [But remember,] that is not a mood from which He might pass, but His mind is settled toward you. … His love is a hugeness beyond all human reckoning. It is an everlasting Calvary. Our mood changes, our emotions cool; for us there come dreary seasons of gray skies and dripping spiritual weather, but God does not change. … God’s love is a sun that never sets. It is always, always, at its full noonday glory!”
God Is Unchanging In His Holiness
But, what is true of God’s love is also true of His holiness. With Isaiah, we are struck with awe and fear as we read of his description of the throne room of God. “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’” (Isaiah 6:1-3).
God always has been and always will be a God who hates sin. Indeed, it is God’s just wrath towards humanity’s sin that rendered the Cross of Christ necessary for humanity to come into right relationship with a holy God. It is God’s holiness that commits Him to righteousness that gives us hope that in a world full of evil and injustice that every wrong will ultimately be brought to account and righteousness will prevail in the end. However, this should also give us pause that still today a holy God will not turn a blind eye towards sin, especially in the lives of His children whom He has redeemed. For our own good and for His glory, He will discipline us in hopes of bringing us to a place of repentance and growth. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (cf. Hebrews 12:11).
Be Changed By Our Unchanging God
God never changes. But, we do, and we must in response to these truths! So, let us remember in seasons of trial when we are questioning God’s goodness and love that the same God who loved us to the uttermost at Calvary is still in control and loves us the same now as He did then. We may not understand it, but we can trust that His purposes for us are still good. Let us remember that the God who loves us is still a God who hates sin, so that by His grace we might confess our sin and make positive strides towards repentance and growth in personal holiness. Above all, in a world that is constantly changing, let us delight in our God who never changes. Along with Mark Altrogge of Sovereign Grace Music, let us declare the praises of our God [LISTEN HERE].
Father of peace, help of the weak, Though mountains fall into the sea, Though tempests may rage, the sun hide its face, Your favor will rest upon me.
And You never change, and You never lie, Age to age You are the same, I will trust in You, all Your faithfulness, For I know You never change.