Thou Changest Not!
The second verse of the famous hymn “Abide With Me” was written by Henry Francis Lyte. The verse reads, “Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me.” Lyte wrote the poem and set it to music while he lay dying from tuberculosis. In fact, he only lived for three weeks after completing the hymn.
For us as 21st Century citizens, change seems to be the one constant in life. Our world has experienced powerful, painful, and perplexing changes in the last year. Political parties have changed, health conditions have changed, the times have changed. We could go on and on listing changes ranging from technology to our bodies and the way they look.
The truth is there is deep within our beings a desire for something that isn’t fickle and fluctuating; that’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. And the good news is this is found only in the one true and living God of the Bible! One of my favorite verses declares, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
The God of the Bible whom Christians call, “our Father,” is unchanging in his person, perfections, purposes, and promises. He lives forever without mutation, alteration, variation, or fluctuation!” The immutability of God’s nature means that:
- Since God is Unchanging - Nothing that Matters has Changed!
Despite all the changes that science and technology have produced, nothing that really matters has changed.
God’s evaluation of the human heart is the same in every generation. It’s still deceitful and desperately wicked.
God’s offer of salvation in Christ is a constant. The work of the Holy Spirit in salvation is the same as it always has been. The statistics for death haven’t changed - they are still one for one. The certainty of life beyond the grave is unaffected by the changes in society. The Biblical definition of Truth remains the same despite postmodernism’s assertions and all the public opinion polls.
- Since God is Unchanging - Never Will He Need Improvement, Information, or be Inconsistent!
God is never “less than” who He is. He never improves because there is no improvement possible … He is already perfect. God is always wise, sovereign, good, just, holy, merciful, gracious, and always present. Whatever God is, he always is. There are no “sometimes” attributes of God. All his attributes are “always” attributes. He always is what he is.
- Since God is Unchanging - None of His Promises Will Fail!
Listen to some of these promises and purposes of God:
“The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:11).
“The LORD Almighty has sworn, ‘Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand’”(Isaiah 14:24).
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
This means that when the unchanging, ever-faithful God promises to supply all our needs, He will do so. When He promises to never leave us, He won’t. When He promises to finish the work He has started in us, He will. When He promises that everyone who comes to Him will not be cast away, He means it.
- Since God is Unchanging - Nothing will Ever Cause His Love for You to Diminish!
God feels about us the same way He did when He sent Christ to the earth. The same love that motivated him then motivates him now. Jeremiah 31:3, “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you.”
John 17:23, “that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
The Bible is the love story of God with His people. When scripture declares that God is immutable, it doesn’t mean that He is immobile. He is stable but not static. He isn’t frozen in some sort of eternal pose. While He is never at the mercy of His creatures, neither is He detached from them. His eternal love for His people is more real, powerful, and more enduring than any earthly emotion that ever bore the label “love.” Unlike human love, God’s love is unfailing, unwavering, and eternally constant.
- Since God is Unchanging - Never does the Future Hang in the Balance!
Psalm 115:3, “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.”
Isaiah 46:10, “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,”
God is too wise to be mistaken; God is too good to be unkind. So when you don’t understand; when you can’t see his plan; when you can’t trace his hand - trust his heart.
God’s purpose doesn’t change … the people do. Since the people have changed, God relates to them differently as He pursues His purpose in their lives. The Biblical testimony is clear . . .The Lord does not change like men do. Our relationship with Him changes but it is due to a change in us . . . not in Him.
1 Samuel 15:29 – “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.”
- Since God is Unchanging - Nobody Should be Waiting for A Better Deal!
Because many people believe everything changes, they feel that when all is said and done … God will grade on a curve and if one is above average, all will be well when they meet Him in eternity. Others think that God will give us another chance after death. Still others will believe that God will grant eternal life to everyone … regardless of what they believe.
The truth of God’s unchangeableness is very bad news for rebellious sinners. God will not “change his mind” and let them slip into heaven. That means there is no escape from the hands of an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God!
“Here is terror for the wicked. Those who defy Him, break His laws, have no concern for His glory, but live their lives as though He did not exist, must not suppose that, when at the last they shall cry to Him for mercy, He will alter His will, revoke His word, and rescind His awful threatenings.”
On the other hand, this is very good news to those who want to be saved! God’s nature does not change! God’s attitude toward seekers does not change. That’s why John 6:37 is such a comfort. Jesus said, in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
How does this truth of God’s immutability translate into day-to-day living? Practically, it means that God will not ever leave you or forsake you because your behavior surprised Him and He regrets saving you because He didn’t know what He was getting when He got you. It means that He will always take care of His own. He will always seek an eternal, ever-deepening, ever-maturing love relationship with you. He will always forgive the one who truly repents, and always save the one who trusts in Christ’s atonement. He will always be your Rock and Fortress, your Shield and Defender, your Strong Tower.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand!