*Pastor’s Note: These lessons will be Scripture “heavy,” and though I am forewarning you I cannot apologize because it is the Word of God that brings things into the light. Remember that the Word says in the mouth of two or three witnesses, let everything be established. This is a spiritual principle that applies to the Word as well. (Matthew 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:1). Also because of the need to explain, the lessons will have to be divided up into parts.
In the last lesson we discussed God’s Eternalness or His state of being Eternal. In this lesson we will discuss what is called and described as His Immutability.
IMMUTABILITY: One of God’s attributes is His Immutability. A fancy word with a fairly basic yet profound meaning. By the Immutability of God is meant that God’s Nature AND Character is absolutely unchangeable. It is neither changing nor is it ever changeable. Again as we stated in the previous discussion, the best way to describe it AND God Himself is that HE IS! Again, as He told Moses, He is the great I AM.
So, in relation to His nature and specifically the attributes that we have previously discussed, it is absolutely impossible for Him to possess one attribute at one moment and in another moment does not possess it. The attributes that describe Him as God and makes Him Who He is, are a part of Him at all times, and never NOT a part of Him at any moment. Because of this fact there can never be a change in His Divine nature or character. He not only always IS, but He always was and always will be! Now, wrap your mind around that if you can! In easier terms, God remains and always will remain forever the same!
“For I am the LORD, I do not change; . . .” – Malachi 3:6.
“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.” – James 1:17. James is not only a popular Scripture but well known, but here it is from the Amplified Bible:
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].” – James 1:17 (AMP).
Now in the Book of 1 Samuel we have what some skeptics would say is a curious conundrum or a contradiction in the Scriptures, but then again, most skeptics do not rely upon the Spirit of the Living Word, but on their own intelligence (or lack thereof).
“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.” – 1 Samuel 15:29. Strength of Israel is another term for God Almighty.
This brings up the question that a lot of skeptics love to bring up and why it is so important to not just read the words of the Bible, but to seek God’s direction and understand the Spirit of the words read. Does God repent? If repentance is changing and God cannot and does not change, does God repent?
Before answering that, let me give you some examples: In Genesis, Moses wrote, “And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” – Genesis 6:6.
In Jonah 3:9-10, “Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”
Now remember, we are talking and learning about God’s Nature and Character. Keep that in mind! The repentant ATTITUDE of God does not involve a change in His Character, Nature or even His purpose. Think about it; when God threatens punishment, what is the reason? Is it to prove no one deserves second chances? “This is what I said, and I meant it, so be it!” If that were the attitude of God towards each and every one of us, there would never be any hope for a single one of us.
Rather, this is the perfect example of God’s unconditional love for His creation. He hates and abhors the sin, the actions that lead to disobedience and rebellion, but He NEVER stops loving the person, even when they are sinning. This is why He will go to great lengths to discipline and yes, even punish, if it will just cause people themselves to CHANGE. See that? People can change depending upon the circumstances and the motives to cause change.
In both cases, opposite though they were, God saw on one hand people not willing to change no matter the consequences and on the other with Nineveh, saw the people change for the better. Thus, His purpose in wanting to discipline or punish still had the same outcome. In the circumstance of the people around Noah, they refused to change, but God took favor with Noah and thus spared him and his family rather than destroying all of mankind and starting over. God’s Character stayed the same. In fact, it demonstrated other Characteristics of His that we will discuss in a later lesson, His Justness and His Mercy. If His attitude didn’t change while His Nature remained the same, He couldn’t be a Just and Merciful God.
Now as a side point, I’m going to tell you this insight and knowledge doesn’t just come on its own. This is why you have to study the Whole Word of God and you have to meditate and think about it, which all takes time, so that you can come to an understanding of Who God is and why He so desires a relationship with us as His creation, but more importantly, as His children!
It is possible to state then that God’s dealings with mankind may change, depending on man’s willingness to change, but God’s Character will NOT change and in fact, it IS His Character that allows His dealings with mankind to change in the first place.
Another thing concerning repentance. In most uses, we consider repentance to be a change in a 180 degree arch, from light to dark, dark to light, good to bad, bad to good, so forth and so on. With God, as James wrote, there is no “shadow of turning,” no variation because God is always, Pure, Holy and Right.
I read this analogy a long time ago and wrote it down. Sorry, don’t know the author, but to me it was the perfect analogy:
When a man bicycles against the wind and he, the man, turns around and goes in the direction of the wind as opposed to fighting against it, it would seem like the wind has changed in force and nature. Instead, it is the man who changed direction and the wind is still blowing just as it always did. – Author Unknown
So it is with God. He, as Holy Spirit can be likened to that wind. His Nature moves Him according to His Character. But when we, at His Word, choose to go in HIS direction rather than against it, it may seem from our perspective that He changed, when in truth it was us who changed and that was His purpose all along.
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” – John 8:58.