Devotional Week 5 | Our God is Immutable
Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Who Is This God?
The Attributes of God
Our God is Immutable, Day 1
“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.” (Psalm 102:25-27)
Our God is immutable, that is, unchanging. No one and nothing is like him.
Our own sun is possibly four billion years old and has a possible life expectancy of another four billion years to go--in that time, it’ll get hotter, colder, expand, and one day, change into a white or brown dwarf star. The pyramids of Egypt, once sparkling under the desert sun, thousands of years ago...they’ve been weathered down to the ancient piles of blocks we see today. The continents of our planets aren’t where they were millions of years ago.
You and I can look at our high school yearbook photos and see the effects (positive or negative) of time and aging on our faces and bodies. Businesses we once shopped at or ate dinner at have closed down. Towns we grew up in just aren’t the same. We’ve lost friends and loved ones to career changes, failed relationships, and death. Everything changes, nothing stays the same.
But, not God. God is immutable. The God-man, Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). What he knew then, he knows now. How he felt about good and evil then, he still feels. God was love, is love, and will always will be love. God was, is, and always will be perfectly just. God has always loved humility and hated pride--these things will never change.
God’s not an old, white-bearded man, sitting on some distant throne. He doesn’t age, he’s never learned or grown or adapted to anything...he’s never needed to. He’s always been perfect in knowledge, wisdom, and holiness.
It’s good for us that God is immutable, untouched by time or any external thing or person because:
We can trust his faithful promises: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” James 1:17)
We can rely on who he is: Psalm 86:5, 103:8; Joel 2:13; Nehemiah 9:31 all assure us that “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” We might not know what God is doing, but we do know who he is and we can trust the one who’s doing it.
We can live now as though the future he’s bringing about is on its way: because God doesn’t change and because he is sovereign, all the promises of Romans 8 and all of Revelation are on their way; “God is not a man…(what) has he said and will he not do it?” (Numbers 23:10)
1. Think of all that’s changed in your life--yourself, relationships, communities, the world. Take time to ponder just how unchanging God is...how unaffected, unshaken, and unsurprised he is by all that has come to pass.
2. Pray and ask the Lord that, as you and your life change right before your very eyes, that you’ll trust in his promises, his character, and the destiny he’s bringing about.
Who Is This God?
The Attributes of God
Our God is Immutable, Day 2
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. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. (Isaiah 46:9-11)
Have you ever experienced someone lying about you and poisoning your character to your friends or colleagues? Perhaps you had a friend you thought you could trust, but once they got around some other people, they got an ear-full of poison: half-truths, total lies, insinuations...or even the actual truth about you? Now your reputation is smeared and the relationship is irreparable. All because someone manipulated and changed your friend’s mind about you.
That can’t happen to God. He’s immutable and, because he’s omniscient, he already knows everything there is to know about you. No one--not even Satan--can get in God’s ear and poison him against you. In fact, the only time and place Satan doesn’t have to lie about you is when he accuses you before God. All he has to do is tell the awful truth about you.
And, wonderfully, God is unsurprised. He never gasps in astonishment, looks at you with his mouth open, hand clutching the pearls around his neck. He just points to the bloody cross and Satan is silenced.
In addition, where we humans change our minds and opinions as we learn new information--and when the culture and influencers around us shift--God never changes. We’ve stopped playing the more racist and insensitive cartoons Looney Tunes made back in the 1940’s. Someone dug up Tweets from the comedian Kevin Hart (jokes he made ten years ago, which we all laughed at back then)...and then he was socially punished. Human beings adapt their values and evolve...whether it’s because we’ve learned something that tells us our view was wrong...or because if we don’t change our views, we’ll suffer from the culture and society around us.
God’s not subject to change his mind by culture or newly learned information. Where he stood on human sexuality, abortion, and justice for the sojourner, the widow, the orphan, and the poor ten thousand years ago is where he still stands, regardless of whether the world around us says it’s old-fashioned or on the “wrong side of history.”
God can’t be manipulated and he’s faithfully reliable in his views. What he says isn’t spoken to get votes from anyone. We can trust God to tell the truth about what he says and to stick with it.
1. What views have you found your mind changed on over the last five, ten, or even twenty years? Which of those things have you shifted in because you legitimately learned something new? Which have you possibly shifted in because you don’t want to be left behind in career, society, or relationships?
2. What positions on major issues of our world today are you worried about being “on the wrong side of history?” In what ways are you worried about drawing attention to yourself too much because you stand with Jesus, in opposition to the world?
3. Pray and ask the Lord to help you tell the truth about yourself to yourself and to be brave enough to stand with God.
4. Pray in gratefulness that God hasn’t and won’t change his mind about his love for you--that no one can poison him toward you!
Who Is This God?
The Attributes of God
Our God is Immutable, Day 3
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” (Romans 8:18-22)
Every earthquake, hurricane, tornado, and tsunami is the Creation around us crying out under the curse and pain of sin. Every cancer cell, virus, flesh-eating bacteria, and artery-clogging molecule of fat is the brokenness of biology, suffering under sin. Deer run from us, dogs disobey us, cats treat us like moronic servants, and sharks eat us like a midday snack. On top of all that, the efforts of our minds and hands seems to fight us, turning our work into toil.
Everything is broken, everything is poisoned, everything is crumbling under the law of entropy. That’s a scientific concept describing our universe’s tendency toward disorder. The room you spent energy and time putting in order gets messy again. The energy you put into your mug of water in the microwave will be lost to coldness if you forget it and you’ll just have to warm it up again if you really want that tea. What’s orderly will fall into disorder. All the stars will go out someday, all the particles will stop spinning, and everything will all get cold and die, on a long enough time-line.
That would all be true--guaranteed! Except for one missing detail in that future vision: the Lord Jesus Christ!
Our immutable God in Christ has promised to change our crumbling, weakened universe. As beautiful and wonderful as we might find the mountains, the woods, the beach, or even the snow reaches of our earthly poles...it’s not what it was meant to be! Jesus has promised to change all of that.
In the Romans 8 passage above, we see that once God finally redeems his people, and therefore, mankind, he’ll redeem and perfect the universe he made for us. In Jesus’ eternal kingdom, bodies won’t wear out, viruses won’t harm us, bears won’t maul us, the ocean depths won’t crush us, and earthquakes will no longer threaten us. The Creation will finally be at peace, rescued from the injury of sin and settled happily under the administration of its One True King and his people!
1. Where God doesn’t change, we can take great hope that he will change the world! Where do you feel hopeless when it comes to the world around you? A loved one’s health or your own? Wars in distant lands? Famine? Virulent outbreaks? Ravaging storms? Spend some time praying for the Lord to show you hope in his now-and-future changing of everything.
2. Christians are meant to be gospel-ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5), taking what is pure and godly, pushing back what is dark and deadly in the world around us. What do you believe Jesus wants you to do today or this week, to bring his type of change to the world around you? It doesn’t have to be amazing or newspaper-worthy (though, that’s great!)...but what simple, obedient acts will you enact to serve as a preview of God’s world-changing efforts?
Who Is This God?
The Attributes of God
Our God is Immutable, Day 4
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13)
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14)
Ever feel trapped by your habits or sins? Ever feel like you’ll never finally grow up or get brave or become more organized? Does it seem like you’ll never stop being an: overeater, alcoholic, pervert, coward? Do you ever feel hopelessly enslaved to the anger, sadness, loss, and injury of someone else’s abuse and sin? Doesn’t it just feel impossible, a lot of the time, to pray more, read and understand your Bible, and love Jesus the way you know you ought to?
Good knews: you can change. You can. We were designed to change, by the Creator-God himself! It’s true. Adam and Eve, though created perfectly good, the way God meant for them to be, were still created ignorant. God had to teach them things. They weren’t born omniscient or wise...and that’s what God intended. God intended for us to experience the fun and pleasure of learning and discovery!
Sadly, sin poisons everything--especially our process of learning, discovery, and maturation. Nevertheless, Jesus has a plan and a purpose. Sin blinds our eyes so we can’t see the truth, condemned to sit in one place and never get anywhere. Jesus has come to change us, give sight to our blind eyes, and bring us into the Kingdom of His Marvelous Light! We call this process progressive sanctification: that is, every day, bit by bit, God is making the way you think, feel, and desire to be more and more like Jesus.
Unchanging, immutable God has chosen to bring about the kind of change in us that brings us life, peace, hope, and joy! In the face of the lies your fears, anxieties, shame, and sicknesses tell you--you can change and you will change. Will you ever become perfect and perfectly free from these things? Maybe not on this side of Heaven, but Eternity is a long time to get to enjoy what you’re praying for now!
This will take practice--tries. Attempts. It’s a discipline, to try to obey God and live like Jesus. It’s going to mean failures, fumblings, and falling. Expect them! Practice, most of the time, looks like failure more than it looks like success. But on the other side of every sin and failure is God’s redeeming victory that teaches you, making you more like him. You can change!
1. “You have not been given a spirit of slavery, to fall back into fear,” Romans 8 tells us. Instead, we’ve been given a spirit that teaches us that we are adopted kids of God and we call on him. Take a few moments to read and reflect on Romans 8:1-17 and then pray, asking God to set your mind on his Spirit, rather than your failing, stuck, and sinful flesh.
2. You need to believe you are free from the chains of tempting sin--you are under grace, and not the law. You’re under the power of Jesus and not your own power. You need to believe that you can change because you believe Jesus can change you!
Who Is This God?
The Attributes of God
Our God is Immutable, Day 5
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:14-17)
I’m going to leave some blank space here for you to sit and think, pray, and write down some things. Here’s what I want you to put in the space below:
1. Write down the names of the person or people in your life you believe are the furthest from God; most hostile to God; the least likely to ever become a Christian.
2. Write down what’s keeping you from sharing the gospel with them; what’s keeping you from inviting them to church with you; what’s keeping you from testifying to how good God is?
I want my encouragement to land on you like a really good coach, shaking you by the shoulders or slapping you on the back, saying, “What’s wrong with you! Wake up! Let’s go! We’ve got good work to do!”
My friends, some of you may need to stop being so worldly! Wake up! Who’s in a better position than a charismatic Calvinist to stand up, speak up, and invite people to meet God? We believe God’s Spirit still does crazy and miraculous things. We believe God can and will unfailingly save who he wishes to!
How do you know which of your friends and family he’s not going to save? Are you omniscient like God?
How do you know which of your attempts will be powerless? Are you expected to be omnipotent and unfailing?
How do you know which of your friends is more or less likely to be saved? Do you have saving sovereignty like God?
Our unchanging, immutable God has come to change sinners and transfer from darkness into light, from death into life, opponents to friends, and enemies to family.
1. Pray, again...and again...for the Lord to do what only he can do: change the hearts of people and save them. Pray for them by name.
2. Do something. God’s plan for change demands of you to be an agent of change. What will you do to obey the Lord and invite someone to meet Jesus and his people?