t{squared}: Does God Change?

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Does God Change?

Seasons This morning, my son suddenly became fascinated with pictures of himself. I was checking Facebook, and he saw himself in the profile picture. So I clicked on it to enlarge it, and then we scrolled through all my previous profile pictures back to when I was pregnant with him. As I sat there holding this thirty pound toddler in my lap, listening to him tell me who was in each picture, I couldn’t help but be overcome with how quickly things change. There was a time, not so long ago, when he was a baby inside my belly, and look at him now. Astounding.

We live in a world that exists in a constant state of change. We as people live in a constant state of change. God, however, does not change. Herman Bavinck writes that “the contrast between being and becoming marks the difference between the Creator and the creature. Every creature is continually becoming. It is changeable” (The Doctrine of God, 149).

Grudem defines God’s unchangeableness (say that 5X fast!) as follows: “God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises, yet God does act and feel emotions, and he acts and feels differently in response to different situations” (163).

4 Areas in which God Does Not Change:

1.  His being. God has existed forever and will continue to exist forever. His state of being has not and will not change.

“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure;
they will all waer out like a garment.
You change them like raiment, and they pass away;
but you are the same and your years have no end.”
Psalm 102:25-17

2. His perfections (attributes, character). All the various attributes of God that Scripture describes will not change. “God is love” and always will be (1 John 4:8). “God is just” and always will be (2 Thes. 1:6). “God is faithful” and always will be (1 Cor. 1:9). I could go on and on. Whatever Scripture affirms that God IS, He will be that FOREVER.

3. His purposes. Grudem says it well, “Once God has determined that he will assuredly bring something about, his purpose is unchanging, and it will be achieved” (164).

“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

4. His promises. “God is not a man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he whouls repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Num. 23:19) God is faithful in all His promises.

Does God Change His Mind?

There are several stories in Scripture where God pronounces judgment on a group of people and then relents. Did God change His mind? The answer is simply, no. The situation changed, and so God responded to the current situation. Either the people repented (i.e. Jonah and Ninevah; Jonah 3:10) or someone prayed earnestly for the people (Moses Ex. 32:9-14 and Hezekiah Isa. 38:1-6). What an incredible thought: Our earnest prayers can create a new situation that in the end changes the situation (165).  Had the situation remained the same, God would have followed through with his judgment as we see repeatedly with the children of Israel (and ultimately some will see in their refusal to submit to Christ as Savior and Lord).

Application

I don’t know about you, but as I was typing and reading about the four areas in which God does not change, I wanted to shout Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!! Think about it: What if God DID change in those areas? Could we trust Him? I don’t think so. If we couldn’t be certain He existed forever, how could we be sure he could guarantee our ultimate salvation and eternal life? After all, he might not be there. If we couldn’t be certain God would always be loving, just, and righteous, then he might become evil. What then? Do you see where I’m going here? It’s absolutely necessary that God not change in these areas. The entire foundation of our faith falls apart if God is not unchangeable in these areas.

However, I’m also glad that I am able to change. How awful if we were doomed to be forever stuck in our sin, unable to overcome and change. I’m so thankful that God chooses to work in us to change us and mold us more into His likeness.

Stop right now and thank God that your salvation is sure because God is unchangeable and wholly trustworthy. <–Like it, Tweet it! If you are not sure about your salvation, read this post and contact me. Also, praise Him for how He has changed you.

How has God changed you recently? 

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If you are new to t{squared}, I am using Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine to guide this study! The numbers you see in parenthesis refer to page numbers in this text.

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This post is linked with thanks to:

Thought Provoking Thursday
Thoughtful Thursday
Thankful Thursday
Life in Bloom
Thrive at Home Thursday

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Photo Credit: Dawn

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