By Jon Quinn
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven ” (Eccl. 3:1). We live in a world of constant change. Time changes everything we see and touch. Things that were “in” yesterday are “out” today. I remember when I was a boy seeing all my father’s old ties hanging in the closet. They were wide and colorful, full of intricate designs. He never wore them so I asked why. He said no one wears ties like that any more but he expected that if he waited long enough that they would come back in style. I doubted that anyone would every wear anything like those ties again, at least not unless forced to do so at gun point! But sure enough, by the time I was in high school I was able to borrow his old, outlandish ties and let everyone assume that I had paid big bucks for them at the store.
The state of the world is different than it was ten years ago; far different than forty years ago. What will it be like ten years from now? As we read the Bible we see that it has always been so. We see changes in society; apostasy and return; dynasties thought eternal crumble and new ones take their places. Individuals age and grow closer to God, or sometimes grow away from God. We are accustomed to seeing things change.
It seems as if everything changes but such is not the case! Our link to Abraham, Moses and Paul is that we serve exactly the same God as they did. We may live in a different time, under a different government, but we build our relationship with the very same God, and for that reason the lessons they learned will find application in our lives today. God does not change. Let us consider this idea.
God’s Existence Does Not Change
“Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of thy hands. Even they all perish, but Thou dost endure, And all of them will wear out like a garment. . . but Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end” (Psa. 102:25-27).
God had no beginning nor does he have an ending. Children sometimes ask the question, “Who made God?” The answer is that God did not need to be made because there was never a time in which he did not already exist. He will never cease to be, nor will he ever cease to be what he already is, He is deserving of our trust because “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).
God’s Character Does Not Change
“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’ and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you'” (Exod. 3:14).
In the course of human life, events may alter the character of a man. There are things that happen to us that can change us forever. For example, a trusting soul may become cynical when he has been betrayed. But nothing like this happens to the Creator. He will never become less fair, honest, truthful, or good than perfection will allow. The character of God today is exactly as it was in Bible times, and as it will be long after this world ceases to be. Even the name “Jehovah ” or “I AM” bears out the eternal changelessness of God. The New Testament describes God as “the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (Jas. 1:17).
God’s Purpose Does Not Change
“And the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind” (1 Sam. 15:29). God does not alter his purpose. He does not go half-way into a job, then realize that he has made a mistake and repent. All his plans are based upon perfect wisdom and knowledge so he never has to! Nothing can take God by surprise. If he were painting a room he would not paint himself into a corner.
The Psalmist declared, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa. 33:11). Some may wonder about a few passages which seem to indicate that God does repent (Gen. 6:6; 1 Sam. 15:11; Jon. 3: 10; etc.). However, it must be understood that none of these suggest a change in his eternal purpose, nor do they suggest that God was taken by surprise. They are cases of God’s reversal of his prior treatment of an individual or group because the people had changed. If a people grew increasingly wicked, then God’s treatment of them changed from what it was before. If a people repented and sought forgiveness, then God would bless instead of punish.
God’s Son Does Not Change
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, yes and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Jesus loves us as much today as he did on the road to Calvary. There is a story of someone asking him, “How much do you love me?” Jesus answered, “This much ” and he stretched his arms out wide, and died. Certainly the gift Jesus has given us shows us that his love is eternal. His death proves that his love is undying. Jesus is “the Living One, and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Rev. 1: 18). Jesus is “able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). He is our absolutely trustworthy friend. What a friend we have in Jesus!
What is the difference between our relationship with God and those in Bible times? We worship the same God, not a new one. His character remains the same, we can know what he is like now by observing what he was like then. His purposes remain unchanged. The Messiah we accept is the same Son of God who they looked for, welcomed, and accepted.
We may live in a different age. We may rejoice that we live under a new covenant. We may have a complete written revelation and therefore a more accurate picture of God’s eternal purpose, character and nature. But God remains the same. By all means, place your eternal spirit in his hands.
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 5, pp. 149-150
March 1, 1990