Title: The Immutability of God
Text: Malachi 3:6
Subject: The Unchanging, Unchangeable Character of God
Date: Tuesday Evening - November 28, 1989
My subject tonight is The Immutability Of God. The Apostle James describes our God as “The Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). And in our text, the Lord God himself declares, “I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
How great that God must be who is unchanging and unchangeable! Nothing reaches God. Nothing touches God. Nothing affects God. Nothing moves God. Nothing changes God. God reaches all things; but nothing reaches him. God touches all things; but nothing touches him. God affects all things; but nothing affects him. God moves all things; but nothing moves him. God changes all things; but nothing changes him. God is immutable. Sitting upon his high and glorious throne, with the ease and serenity of total and absolute sovereignty, God looks down upon the heavens, down upon the angels, down upon the earth, down upon men, the worms of the earth, down upon hell, the fallen angels, and satan himself, and declares, “I am the LORD, I change not!”
Satan led a revolt against his throne; but God changes not! Sin entered into the world; but God changes not! Nations rise and nations fall; but God changes not! The heavens and the earth shall vanish away; but God changes not! A new heaven and a new earth shall be made; but God changes not! God’s elect shall enter into the bliss of eternal glory, and the damned shall be cast into hell forever; but God changes not! God alone is unaffected. God alone is immutable. God alone never changes.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day,
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay all around me I see -
O thou who changest not, abide with me.
Proposition: Immutability belongs to God alone.
· This world is not immutable.
· You and I are not immutable. “Man, at his best estate, is altogether vanity.”
Illustration: The Fall
Life in this world.
All temporal affairs.
All spiritual affairs.
“God alone is, in and of himself, immutable” (John Gill).
Divisions: God is immutable.
1. In the essence of his being.
2. In the perfections of his nature.
3. In his purposes and decrees.
4. In his love toward his elect.
5. In the promises of his covenant.
I. GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN THE ESSENCE OF HIS BEING.
God is the eternal, infinite Spirit. He cannot change or be changed by anything. He who says, “I AM THAT IA AM” (Ex. 3:15), can never experience change. He is immutable. I realize that it is far easier for me to say what God is not than it is for me to say what he is. But, of this you may be certain, whatever God is in the essence of his Being, he cannot change (Psa. 102:25-27). He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever!
A. Eternality will not permit change.
That which is eternal must of necessity be. And that which necessarily exists from eternity can never be changed. God is eternal. He is the only Being who is without cause. He is, because he is. Therefore, he cannot change or be changed.
B. Perfection will not permit change.
Perfection cannot be increased or diminished. God, who is perfect, cannot change for the better, because he is perfect already. He cannot change for the worse, for that would make him imperfect.
C. Though God created the world, he never changed.
· It was his will to create from eternity.
· Creative power was in him from eternity.
· And the creation of the world has had no effect upon him.
D. God underwent no change when Godhead was united to manhood in the incarnation of Christ (Isa. 9:6).
· God did not become a man.
· Man did not become God.
· Godhead and manhood was united in one glorious Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of God’s elect. (Hypostatical union).
Do you see this? God is perpetually the same. He is immutable in the essence of his Being.
II. GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN THE PERFECTIONS OF HIS NATURE.
We are studying the attributes of God, those perfections of the Divine character which are essential to his Being as God. In all the attributes of his nature God is immutable.
A. The power of God is immutable.
It is never exhausted, or even slightly diminished.
B. The knowledge of God is immutable.
God has never learned anything. And he has never forgotten anything. I rejoice to hear him say, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” But that is a revelation of his grace, not a description of his omniscience. And that non-remembrance of our sins was an act of eternal grace.
C. The goodness of God is immutable.
God’s goodness extends to all his creatures. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. But God’s goodness is never in short supply. It is immutably abundant.
D. The faithfulness of God is immutable.
His faithfulness never fails! Though we believe not, “He abideth faithful.”
· To his people.
· To his purposes.
· To his promises.
· To himself.
· To his Son.
E. The glorious holiness of God is immutable.
God’s holiness is never tarnished. He is the immutably just and righteous one. His holiness is always illustriously the same.
· Satan has not tarnished it.
· Man has not tarnished it.
· Grace has not tarnished it.
III. GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS PURPOSES AND DECREES.
“There is a purpose for everything, and a time for that purpose. God has determined all that ever was, is, or shall be” (John Gill). All that comes to pass comes to pass according to the counsel and decree of God. And his counsel, his purpose, his decree is immutable (Heb. 6:17; Eph. 1:11; Rom. 11:36; Prov. 16:4).
The purposes of God are always executed. They are never frustrated. It does not lie within the realm of created power to frustrate the purpose of the Creator. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever” (Psa. 33:11; Prov. 19:21; Isa. 14:24, 27; 46:10).
A. God’s purposes are in himself (Eph. 1:9).
That which God has purposed in himself cannot change until he changes. And he cannot change until he ceases to be God. And that cannot be!
B. God’s purposes and decrees are eternal ((Eph. 3:11; Rom. 8:28-30).
No new thoughts arise in his mind. No new resolutions are formed in his heart. No new decrees come forth from his lips. His counsels are of old, from everlasting.
Note: God’s purposes and decrees are called his counsel because they are wisely and deliberately formed. Yet. We must never imagine that his counsels are like the counsels of men. God sees and knows all things at once. He declares the end from the beginning!
1. Nothing unforeseen can ever arise to make him change his mind.
2. He is able to perform what he has purposed.
3. Changes in providence do not imply any change in God (Job 23:10-14).
4. God’s immutability is not inconsistent with the prayers of his people.
a. Prayer will not change God’s purpose (Jer. 15:1).
b. Prayer is one instrument by which God accomplishes his purpose (Ezek. 36:36-37; II Sam. 7:25-27).
IV. GOD’S IMMUTABLE IN HIS LOVE TOWARD HIS ELECT (Jer. 31:3; John 13:1).
God’s love is like himself. It is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. “God is love.” And God’s love for his elect is...
· Without beginning!
· Without cause!
· Without limitation!
· Without change!
· Without end!
A. Though we fell in Adam, God’s love never changed.
B. Though we lived long in sin, God’s love never changed.
· Ezek. 16:6-8
· Eph. 2:4-5
· Tit. 3:3-5
C. Though we often sin against him, God’s love never changes.
1. He hides his face from us; but he does not cease to love us (Isa. 54:7-10).
2. He afflicts us; but he does not cease to love us (Heb. 12:6-11).
V. GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN THE ESSENCE OF HIS BEING, IN THE PERFECTIONS OF HIS NATURE, IN HIS PURPOSES AND DECREES, AND IN HIS LOVE TOWARD HIS ELECT. AND, FIFTHLY, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN THE PROMISES OF HIS COVENANT (II Cor. 1:20).
The everlasting covenant of grace was made with Christ before the world began. And it stands fast with him. All the blessings of the covenant are called “sure mercies.” They flow to us from the free and sovereign grace of God through Christ. And they cannot be reversed (Rom. 11:29).
A. What has God promised in the covenant? (Heb. 8:10-12).
B. To whom are these promises made? (Psa. 89:19-37).
2. All who are in Christ.
3. All who believe (Isa. 55:3, 6-7).
C. Will God ever break his promise? (Heb. 13:5).
Never! He will never turn away from you to bless you and do you good.
1. He will never take away his gifts of grace.
2. He will never charge his own elect with sin.
3. He will never cease his own to cherish!
Application: “I am the LORD, I change not.”
1. Here is solid comfort (Isa. 54:10).
2. Here is the Foundation for faith (Mic. 7:18-20 - “He delighteth in mercy!”
3. Here is encouragement for prayer (I John 5:14).
4. Here is terror for you who will not seek God’s mercy. “I will deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Ezek. 8:18).
5. Here is assurance and security for every believer - “I am the LORD, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”