The Unchanging God
A verse of a familiar hymn goes like this: “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. Oh, Thou who changest not, abide with me.” We all know the truth contained in these words, but those of us who are older know them best. At this writing I am 79 years old and I have seen many changes. There have been the changes brought on by aging. There is diminishing of eyesight and hearing. There is a reduction in energy. There is a change in appearance as the ravages of age have their way.
There is the inevitable loss of loved ones and acquaintances to death. Because of sin, man is born to die. My grandfather, who lived to 92, once told me that he knew more people who were dead than he did alive. I have lived long enough to see people who have both begun and ended their careers. I had a history professor I liked very much. I was in his first class after he received his doctorate. He was filled with enthusiasm. He was multilingual and a great communicator. He planned to write many books. But, sadly, he did not serve Jesus Christ. At the end of his career, some 40 or so years later, he was disillusioned and sad, and a heavy drinker. Drastic changes, indeed.
We also see changes in the culture and in the political system under which we are ruled. In recent times the changes in both our culture and political philosophy and actions have accelerated to an astonishing degree. These fundamental changes are absolutely breathtaking. It looks like we are witnessing the destruction and rejection of the Judeo-Christian ideology under which our country was founded. There is a moral revolution going on before our dismayed and astonished eyes. There are also changes in economics. This country was built on and prospered under free-market capitalism. Now, the failed system of socialism is prevalent.
There are changes in political alliances, changes in countries, changes in technology — we could go on and on. But basic and fundamental change has taken place and is taking place all around.
Even though some changes are for the better, many of them are for the worse. There is something very unsettling about change. We get used to and base our daily lives on things that are familiar and predictable. There is something reassuring about things that are “normal” and certain. We like things to be what we can reasonably expect. When changes come, we feel sort of like being in swirling waters licking about our feet. We feel in danger of being swept away and maybe drowned.
In all of this change and decay, we desperately need to find a solid rock on which to stand. If we can find that rock, then we’ll be OK, even when the angry waters swiftly flow all around us.
Christ, the Solid Rock!
Well, hallelujah, we do have a solid Rock. He is Christ Jesus our Lord. We can always depend on Him. He does not change. He is our stability, no matter what happens in our lives. Edward Mote wrote many years ago, “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.” He also wrote, “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”
Now, how can such a wonderful thing be true? It is because we serve an Unchanging God! One of the attributes of God is His immutability. We read of this in Malichi 3:6: “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” What a glorious and comforting truth! This should be self-evident because God is perfect. If He changed, He would no longer be perfect. He is eternally perfect. He was perfect before the creation of the universe and the advent of time, and He will be perfect when the present order of things is destroyed by fire. He is, as Toplady called Him, “The Rock of Ages.” Now, there is a Rock you can stand on! A New Testament writer wrote of Him in 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.”
There are great practical implications for our lives because of the Lord’s immutability. If He is immutable, His truth is unchanging. In this world of moral relativism, when academia, the mainstream media, the entertainment industry, and even the government are supporting the LGBTQ+ agenda, we know they are wrong. We and our children must not be persuaded and brainwashed by them. We, trusting our unchangeable God, can say with the utmost confidence, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3: 4). Abortion is wrong. Immorality, lying, and cheating are all wrong. Trusting our immutable God, we rejoice that His word is “a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.” (Psalm 119:105). In short, we can know how we should live because He has given us His unchanging word to guide our feet surely in a rapidly changing world. As was written centuries ago in Ps 119:89, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
We can also draw comfort from the fact that we serve the Unchanging God. We can trust His promises. Since he is unchangeable, His promises don’t change. We read of this in Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began….” Since He is unchangeable, His promises will never fail. One of these promises is found in Hebrews 13:5: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” In the New Testament Greek, in this verse there is a five-fold negative. He is saying I will never, never, never, never, never forsake thee!” Dear frightened, confused, apprehensive little child of God, how plain can He make it? Another glorious promise from our Unchanging God is found in Romans 8:38, 39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Don’t let these truths go in one ear and out the other. Lay hold on them and meditate on them. Do what we read in Isaiah 26:3,4: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength….”
One of our brethren in Siberia, Sergey Maksimov, desperately needed a teaching job, for which he was well qualified. Initially he got the job, but then lost it when it was found out he was a Christian. He made a remarkable statement. He said he knew God was sovereign in his mind, but when he had this great disappointment, it took a couple of weeks before his heart caught up with his mind. Hold on to these unchanging truths from our unchanging God. Meditate on them often. When new challenges arise and Satan works on you, just hold on. It won’t be long before your heart catches up with your head.
This article is from the January/February edition of our print publication The Baptist Witness. To subscribe, click here.