It is once again time to prepare our hearts for worship. The last seven weeks we have considered this quote from Ligon Duncan: “Reflect on and pray through the attributes of God. Consider what makes Him worthy of our worship. Consider yourself, and spend time in confession of sin. Pray that God would prepare your heart to hear the proclamation of His Word.” So, for seven weeks in a row we have looked at a different attribute of God. We have looked at God’s immensity, God’s omniscience, God’s power, God’s patience, God’s grace, God’s holiness, and God’s faithfulness. This week I want to focus on the immutability of God.
A.W. Pink writes that God’s immutability: “Is One of the divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a rock (Deut. 32:4) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state. Even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
John MacArthur writes this on God’s immutability:
“The Bible repeatedly and unapologetically underscores the fact that God does not change. In fact, He cannot change because He cannot improve on absolute perfection or decline in His eternally fixed nature. His person does not change: “‘For I the Lord do not change’” (Mal. 3:6). His plans do not change: “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations” (Ps. 33:11). His purpose does not change: “So when God desired to show more convincingly … the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath” (Heb. 6:17). God does not change His mind: “‘The Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret’” (1 Sam. 15:29); or His words: “The Holy One of Israel … does not call back his words” (Isa. 31:1-2); or His calling: “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29; cf. Heb. 13:8; James 1:17). There are absolutely no changes in God, no variations, and no surprises (cf. Ps. 102:27).
God does not increase or decrease. He does not improve or decline. He does not change due to some altered circumstances—there are no unforeseen emergencies to the One who is eternally all-knowing. His eternal purposes stand forever because He stands forever (Ps. 33:11). He does not react, He only acts—and He does so however He pleases (Ps. 115:3)….
God cannot change, His Word cannot change, and His purpose cannot change. His truth is the same because He is the Truth (cf. Ps. 119:160; John 17:17; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18)…the Bible presents God as the all-knowing Sovereign of all events, past, present, and future. In the words of Isaiah 46:9b-10:
“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.”
When I think about God’s immutability I think about Hebrews 13:8 which says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” So, what are some practical applications of God’s immutability. I think just like the other attributes of God we are reminded again as A.W. Pink writes of:”the infinite distance which separates the highest creature from the Creator.” Pink goes on to saw that: “We are entirely dependent on the Creator for every breath we draw…The realization of this ought to make us lie down under a sense of our own nothingness in the presence of Him “in whom we live and move, and have our being.”
I think another implication is that we should remember that we as human beings are mutable and inconstant, but God is not. A.W. Pink is so helpful here when he says: “However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him? But He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will stable, His word is sure. Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent sweeps away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isa. 54:10).
As we prepare our hearts for worship we should spend time in prayer for ourselves and for the service tomorrow. We should pray for Nathan and Elizabeth Long who will lead us in worship tomorrow. Let’s be sure to pray for Allen as he leads us in a time of confession. Let’s also be sure to pray for Mark as he will open up God’s Word to us. Mark will be looking at Galatians 1 again. The link to the ESV text is below.