God is Unchanging: STTA!

One of the biggest mistakes we make when thinking about God is that He has to be like us in order for Him to relate to us and for us to relate to him. While there are some ways our attributes are like God’s, in most ways He is not at all like us. Most importantly, God is not changed by anything or anyone. That includes changes caused by us or even by God himself. I want to convince you that this is actually a good thing.

First and most importantly, God tells us that He is not like us in his Word. God tells His people that the reason they are not destroyed is because He does not change (Malachi 3:6). God is “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17). God cannot swear by anything higher than Himself because he does not change (Hebrews 6:13-18).

What does it actually mean when we say that God is unchanging? The technical term is “immutable,” a word that I’ll admit may or may not sound pretentious if you try to work it into everyday conversation. The Second London Baptist Confession, Chapter 2 Paragraph 1 states that God is “working all things after the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will.”

As James Dolezal puts it,

“One reason that change in God, no matter how small, is theologically devastating is that it would signify some alteration in his being or life and thus, to the extent that such change occur, destabilize human confidence in His covenant promises.”[1]

If it were possible for God to undergo change then we would have reason to doubt His love. If you are in Christ and have been justified and adopted into His family, does that mean God was less loving before He saved you? Or is He more loving now? Of course not. God does not change from wrathful to loving.

God does not just love, He “is love” (1John 4:8). Too many people, including professing Christians, will say “God is love,” meaning that God would never punish sin. To do that is to ignore or forget that the same passage that tells us “God is love” also acknowledges his wrath only two verses later. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1John 4:10). Christ is the “propitiation” or “wrath removing sacrifice” for sin.

To quote Dolezal again,

“God cannot be made more compassionate towards sinners or more opposed to sin than He is from all eternity. This is because it is His nature to love, and it is His nature to detest sin.”[2]

Is God’s wrath still on you? There is one and only one way of escape and it is through turning away from sin and to Christ Jesus as your substitute who satisfied the wrath you deserve. Then you can rest in the secure knowledge that you are a true child of the God who will never let you go because He does not change.

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[1] James E. Dolezal, All That Is In God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism. (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017), 19.

[2] James E. Dolezal, All That Is In God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism. (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017), 136.

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