The Attributes of God: Immutable
It is said that if you and I understand something, we should be able to explain it to someone else. It is my task today to talk to you about the immutability of God. How can the indescribable be described? This thought keeps echoing through my mind: how can man, an ever-changing man, explain the One and Only eternal, unchanging, Immutable God?
Our words and thoughts often fail. The moment we get an idea or thought in our minds about who we believe Him to be, in a flash it is gone. We are left with a lack of understanding and utter amazement that we can even understand or grasp just a little of who He is.
God says this about Himself in Isaiah 55:8-9, "My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways." But, does it mean by we cannot know Him at all? Psalm 103:14 tells us God is mindful that we are but dust. He gives the believer enough faith and understanding to comprehend all we need to know about Him.
We come to know Him through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:25-26) and His spoken, inspired word, the Bible. The infallible, all-sufficient word which gives accurate information about Himself and His perfect character. It describes Him perfectly! He describes Himself perfectly.
What Does It Mean God Is Immutable?
Before we move forward, I think it would be helpful to define immutability. The word immutable/immutability is not found in the Scriptures. However, Malachi 3:6 describes it well for us, "For I the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed." To say God is immutable is to say He does not change.
In the book, "Biblical Doctrine, A Systematic Summary of Biblical Truth" by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, immutability is defined as "the unchanging character and dependability of God."
Because God is unchanging in His character and being, you and I can depend on and trust in what His Word says about who He is.
Everything Around Us Changes, but God Never Changes
Look back at the passage in Malachi, did you notice the utter rebellion and sinfulness of the sons of Israel had no effect on the character and dependability of God?
You and I are accustomed to change. Everything around us changes constantly. The climate changes, the earth is changing, and people are changing. The world as we know it is going from bad to worse right before our eyes. We are affected in some way by all of the changes happening around us. But not one of these changes affects the character and dependability of God.
God is incorruptible (Romans 1:23), eternally the same ( Psalm 102:25-27), and never changes (James 1:17).
Mankind Is Not Always Dependable, but Is God?
Has anyone ever told you they would do something and failed to follow through? Has anyone ever said you could depend on them no matter what, and you learned the opposite is true?
I have never been one to seal my word with a promise. Why? Because I know that circumstances can change. I can change. However, when God makes a promise, He will always fulfill it. Because the promises He makes are dependent on His will and unchanging character. To be dependable is to be faithful.
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:13 that God is faithful even if we are not because He cannot deny Himself.
Because God Does Not Change, We Can Trust Him
I need to know there is someone that I can trust. The Gospel message is dependent on faithfulness, not mine but God's. If we cannot trust God is true, faithful, and unchanging, we have nothing to offer a lost a dying world, nor do we have the assurance of our own salvation. By faith, our God-given faith (Ephesians 2:8), we can trust God when He says about Himself, "He is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent." God will always do what He says He will do (Numbers 23:19).
Even When Critics Oppose, We Must Trust God
There are some who oppose and question the immutability of God. They point to Scriptures which "seemingly" contradict each other.
In one passage it says God is not a man, and He should repent ( Numbers 23:19). In another, He repented (Genesis 6:6). In those times, you and I must be Bereans of the word. Luke tells us in Acts 17:11, some noble-minded men received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if what was being said was true.
There is nothing wrong with healthy discussion. Ask the questions and search the Scriptures for answers to those questions. However, at the end of the day, Christians must believe God does not change and is true to what His word claims. A proper understanding of the fact the Word of God never contradicts itself is a must. If we do not trust that truth, everything we believe has no solid foundation.
By faith, I take God at His word. I have no doubt and do not waver in this truth! Be assured you can be, too! I will close with a quote by J.I. Packer that sums up our discussion very well:
“When we read our Bibles, therefore, we need to remember that God still stands behind all the promises and demands, and statements of purpose, and words of warning, that are there addressed to New Testament believers."God’s unchangeableness is the foundation for being able to open Scripture and still find it relevant today."
Lisa Morris is a student of God’s Word, Bible study writer, and creator of Conforming To The Truth. She is wife to her high school sweetheart, Roy, and mom to three of the greatest kids ever! They make their home in good ole Rocky Top, Tennessee, the volunteer state! Go Vols! Lisa is passionate about defending the truth of God’s word so that He is high and lifted up.