Thursday, September 10, 2009

God's Character Does Not Change

A.W. Pink says, “Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so forever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Semper idem (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied. The attributes of God can no more change than Deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is "forever settled in heaven" (Ps. 119:89). His love is eternal: "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3) and "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is "everlasting" (Ps. 100:5)” (The Attributes of God).

That is Reflected in His Name

In Exodus 3:14 God discloses His name to Moses as “I Am Who I Am” which is the definition of the Hebrew Yahweh. “This sacred name is known as the tetragrammaton (‘four letters’). English Jehovah comes from the Hebrew YHWH,...The Jews consider YHWH too sacred to utter. The name proclaims God as self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, and sovereign” (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary). “This name is not a description of God, but simply a declaration of His self-existence and his eternal changelessness” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God). In Ex.34:5-7 we read how God proclaim YHWH to Moses by listing the various facets of His holy character. “Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation.”

That is Reflected in His Nature

James said in Jas.1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” “The celestial bodies God created have various phases of movement and rotation, changing from hour to hour and varying in intensity and shadow. God, however, is changeless” (John MacArthur, James). A. W. Pink again says, “He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything outside Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible. He is perpetually the same” (The Attributes of God). God's unchanging character sets Him apart from everyone and everything.

The heavens are subject to change. They move about, following their courses. The Book of Revelation gives us a drastic picture of the extreme changes the heavens will undergo until fire eventually dissolves them. The stars will fall, the sun will go out, the moon will turn a bloody hue, and the heavens will roll up like a scroll. The earth also is subject to change. People have been changing the face of the earth with their bulldozers and the atmosphere with pollution. The Book of Revelation says that in the end times both people and plant life will die and the seas will be polluted. The earth was changed once by a flood; it will be changed again as it is consumed with intense heat (2 Peter 3:6-7). The ungodly are subject to change. Unbelievers now think they have a happy or at least an acceptable life. But one day they will realize that an eternity without God is a tragic existence. Angels are also subject to change, for some "did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode" (Jude 1:6). Those beings are demons. Even believers change. There are times when our love for Christ burns and we obey Him, but there are other times when it smolders and we disobey. On the one hand, David trusted the Lord as his Rock and Refuge (2 Sam. 22:3); on the other hand, he feared for his life, saying, "I will perish one day by the hand of Saul" (1 Sam. 27:1). Everyone and everything in the universe changes. But not God! (Taken from Our Awesome God by John MacArthur, 34-5).

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