Wednesday, February 15, 2012

God Never Changes

Bible Brief with Dr. H. L. Willmington

I hope you find this Basic Bible Brief informative, uplifting and beneficial.


A man and his wife were walking down the street when the husband spotted an old college friend coming towards them. With great enthusiasm he embraced him and said to his wife, “Doris, meet Bob Brown, my old college roommate from thirty years ago! But my, my, Bob,” he continued, “how much you’ve changed! Why Doris, when we were in school, Bob here was slim, dressed in the latest fashion and sported a full head of hair. But now, look at him. Bob, since then your weight, clothes and hairline have all radically changed.” At that moment, the other man, visibly annoyed, exclaimed, “Sir, I want you to know, my name is not Bob Brown, but John Smith!” The husband then replied, “How about that, Doris, he’s even changed his name!” Okay, so he didn’t change his name!

Actually this story serves to introduce one of God’s perhaps least well-known attributes, namely, His immutability. In a sentence, this says that God never differs from Himself. He may on occasion alter His dealings with men in a dispensational sense (more about this later), but His divine character remains the same. This is a vital attribute of God, without which He could not be God. For example, a person may change in only one of two directions. He may go from better to worse, or from worse to better. But it is unthinkable that God could ever travel down either of these roads.

But why? Well, to go from worse to better implies past imperfection. To go from better to worse implies present imperfection. Let it be added here, however, that immutability should never be confused with immobility! The first is stable and sure, while the second is static and sterile. Furthermore, immutability refers to God’s person, but not always His program. In fact, in His dealings with mankind, the divine program has often changed.

For example:

• God once destroyed the world by a flood in Noah’s day, but then assured us this would never happen again (Gen. 8:21; 9:11).

• God once imposed the Mosaic Law (Exod. 20) upon Israel, but now Christ is the end of the Law (Rom. 10:4). What then does the attribute of immutability assure us of?

• It assures us that God’s person never changes! “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

• It assures us that God’s promises never change! “Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant” (1 Kings 8:56). “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof” (Josh. 23:14).

• It reassures us that God’s purposes never change! “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).
And what are God’s purposes? Actually they are two-fold, and cover all those events that come into our lives. His eternal purpose is that:

1. He might receive the most amount of glory.
2. We might receive the most amount of good!
The bottom line application to this attribute is precious indeed:

Question: How can we be assured that Jesus still saves lost people and strengthens and comforts saved people?

Answer: Because He once did, and He never changes!

Henry Lyte’s hymn, Abide With Me, probably summarizes all this best.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me. Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day; earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me. I need thy presence every passing hour. What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Dr. H. L. Willmington
Willmington School of the Bible

(434) 592-4000

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