God, Show Us Your Glory! Part 2 – Immutability
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We want to see God’s holiness (his transcendences above other people and things). Thankfully, God reveals his holiness through His glory. Glory is the public display of His holiness. One of the most direct ways we can witness His glory is to study His attributes as revealed in Scripture. Last week, we considered God’s self-existence (read that article here). Today, I want to look into God’s immutability (changelessness). Please remember that seeing God isn’t an academic exercise. It is a spiritual exercise. Let’s pray that as you read and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s glory to you.
1 Corinthians 2:9-12 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Attribute: God is Immutable.
Defined: not capable of or susceptible to change. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/immutable
Malachi 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Psalm 102:25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens [are] the work of thy hands.
Psalm 102:26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
Psalm 102:27 But thou [art] the same, and thy years shall have no end.
Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Isaiah 43:10 Ye [are] my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I [am] he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Application: We live in a world that is continuously changing. Technology, relationships, the stock market, and social agendas change more than my twin five-year-olds change their mind at the candy store. This year, The COVID-19 virus has changed how we work, go to school, play, watch sports, shop, attend funerals, and react to sneezes. In a time like this, have have a God that doesn’t change! Praise the Lord!!!
God never changes in his essence. I’ll be forty years old in November, my body (my essence) is changing. Things I used to be able to do, I now find more difficult or impossible. I’m losing my hair, elasticity, memory, and flexibility. While I change, God remains the same! While it is difficult to describe God’s essence because He is a Spirit, and no one has seen God, the fact remains that He has never changed.
God never changes in his attributes. He is love all the time. He is all mercy all the time. His grace, 100% of it, is there every day. God doesn’t have good days and bad days when it comes to his omnipotence, omnipresence, or omniscience. The next time we meet at Walmart, you might think I’ll be my usual self, but who knows? I could be cranky because I’m spending too much money to feed my family, or my tire just went flat. I might not be gracious because something you said annoyed me, or I’m not trusting God to provide all of my needs, and so I’m not gracious toward you. Thankfully, we have an immutable God. He never changes! He doesn’t get cranky or moody because life gets overwhelming. While everything around me changes, God remains the same.
God never changes his plans. From eternity past, God has planned to glorify his name through the redemption of humanity. I have plans, and they only change thirty-two times a day. I forget my drill, so I can’t finish installing the shelf. I ran out of money, so I can only get four pumpkins instead of 7. I’m getting tired, so I can’t run 4 miles. I ran out of time, so I can’t hang out with my friend as much as I intended to. I didn’t think it would happen that way, so we went to plan B. God never forgets or runs out of resources because He is omniscient and. God never gets tired or runs out of time because he is omnipotent and eternal. God is still on Plan A. He does not need a Plan B.
God never changes his promises. Has your friend ever promised their presence at your event, and then they couldn’t make it for whatever reason? As much as we want to be true to our word, there will always be things outside of our control and our depraved nature that will cause us not to fulfill promises that we make. Not God! When he says it, we can count on it. I can rest and be content in what God is providing for me right now because He has promised never to leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5-6). From God’s promise of eternal life (John 3:16) to His promises made to David concerning his kingdom (2 Samuel 7), we can trust God’s Word because it is immutable.
Bob Deffinbaugh does a fantastic job explaining why when the Bible says that God changed his mind, this doesn’t hurt His claim of immutability. https://bible.org/seriespage/12-immutability-god
He gives three reasons.
- First, we must clarify what immutability means. Immutability applies to the nature of God. He is always God, and He is always infinitely powerful. Never will God fail to accomplish His will due to a change in His power to accomplish His purposes.
- Second, God is immutable with regard to His character or attributes:
- “. . . God is immutable in His attributes. Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so forever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Semper idem (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied. The attributes of God can no more change than deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is ‘forever settled in heaven’ (Ps 119:89). His love is eternal: ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love’ (Jer 31:3) and, ‘Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end’ (Jn 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is ‘everlasting’ (Ps l00:5).
- Third, God’s purposes and promises are immutable (see Romans 11:29).88 God finishes what He starts. This was the basis for Moses’ appeal to God in Exodus 32 (verses 11-14). Here, God’s actions in response to Moses’ appeal were not a contradiction to His immutability but an outworking of that immutability.
Charles Spurgeon’s sermon on the immutability of God. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0001.cfm