Immutability is a big word with a simple definition: unable to change.
That’s a foreign concept for us, in today’s culture and especially our American culture. I’ve been watching Downton Abbey recently, and one of the main themes that keeps running through the shows is how each character responds to the fast-changing world around them. The American wife embraces them. The young people initiate them. But the older generation clings tightly to the traditions that are so dear and familiar, some out of fear, but more out of a reluctance to change their comfortable lifestyle.
We love the familiar. Good memories bring comfort, nostalgia, and peace. There’s blessing in being able to count on some things never changing because it gives us roots; it grounds us.
I’m thankful that God never changes.
Malachi 3:6 – For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
God’s changelessness gives us a foundation on which we can stand. When life seems shaky and fragile, we can put our feelings, our emotions, our thoughts, and our spiritual need deep into His changelessness, and hold fast to His promises to love us, care for us, and continue to rule sovereignly over our world.
We are not consumed…because God does not change, and He has promised to save us!
We are not consumed…because God does not change, and retains His power and authority over all that would consume us!
In Exodus 3:14, God reveals something about Himself, when He tells Moses His name: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
The word for “am” is hayah and means “to exist, to be.” It’s written in the imperfect tense, which is an action which is not completed, a continuing condition.
God was revealing that He is eternal (always has been and always will be), and that He can never be other than who He is.
Think about God’s unchangeableness, in light of His other attributes.
God will never cease to be all-powerful. He cannot change to become less powerful.
God will never cease to be all-loving. He cannot change to be unloving.
God will never cease to be all-knowing. He cannot change to be unable to know something.
God will never cease to be all-wise. He cannot change to be unwise.
God will never cease to be holy. He cannot change to be unholy.
God will never cease to be eternal. He cannot change so He will never die.
God will never cease to be faithful. He cannot change to be unfaithful.
God will never cease to be just. He cannot change to be unjust.
To change is to go from one state to another. Since God is perfect, and will always be perfect, He cannot be less than He is, or more than He is. He simply is who He is. Always.
What drew you to God when you came to salvation?
His love? The love you experienced on that day will never change – no matter what you do. God cannot “not” love you. He cannot love you any more than He did when Jesus died on that cross for you. He cannot love you any less, and He cannot stop loving you.
His holiness? The purity of God that you saw in relation to your own sin will never change – no matter what culture says. God’s standard of holiness, or righteousness, never changes. Sin is still sin, even when it’s legal according to man’s laws.
His power? The power of God you saw as you recognized your own powerlessness to save yourself will never change. The same power He exercised to save you is the same power that keeps you.
God will never be less than sovereign. He is sovereign, and He cannot change. It doesn’t matter who wins the election; it doesn’t matter what terrorist group takes control, God is still sovereign and His plans and purposes will be carried out.
Isaiah 51:6 – Lift up your eyes to the sky, then look to the earth beneath; for the sky will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not wane.
Tozer speaks of God’s immutability: The immutability of God appears in its most perfect beauty when viewed against the mutability of men.
It is because our lives are filled with change, from the moment we’re born until the day we take our last breath, that God’s immutability is such a comfort. Our lives are constantly changing – not only because we grow older and our physical bodies change, but there is something in us that always seeks more. We are easily bored, easily distracted. We look for new sources of excitement in our life.
I believe this is evidence that we were created for something more. Our souls are unsatisfied until they find their meaning and purpose in God.
As much as we may deplore the lack of stability in all earthly things, in a fallen world such as this the very ability to change is a golden treasure, a gift from God of such fabulous worth as to call for constant thanksgiving. For human beings the whole possibility of redemption lies in their ability to change. (Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy).
Our great and immutable God, perfect in Himself, eternally self-sufficient, uses change as the instrument to shape us into the image of Himself – His Son.
2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
What hope we have!
I love routine and structure, and I find great comfort in the familiar. I am not a brave person. So I’m truly thankful that God remains the same – He is trustworthy in His character. He will always be good. He will always be holy. He will always be sovereignly in control of my life. This gives me the strength and courage to embrace change, to welcome it as a tool in my Father’s hand to shape my soul into the image of His Son.
Our world is changing so fast it makes my head spin. To be honest, the changes in the world make me want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head until Jesus comes. But that is not how God wants us to live. We can get up every morning, confident that our God still rules over the affairs of men. We can rest in the unchanging fact that He loves mankind, and sent His Son to redeem mankind. And He still has the power and the authority to accomplish whatever He wills.
One day we will meet our immutable God.
I am ready for that day. I long for that day. But until it comes, I will rest in His unchanging grace and love, and allow Him to finish His redemptive work of change in me.