The Immutability of God

Attributes of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

The Immutability of God

Isaiah 40:28 ESV
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
As we have been talking about the attributes of God this summer, we find ourselves at one in which most people struggle to really understand.
While we may get that God is Holy, That he is all powerful, that God is Love, or even the concept of the Justice of God or Glory of God… these are all underscored by the importance of todays attribute.
The Immutability of God. My guess is that we will need a working definition for this because most people do not talk about mutability in common language.
Immutability - not subject or susceptible to change or variation in form or quality or nature
So when we talk about God in this way here is what we mean...

The Immutability of God means he is not subject to change

There is nothing and no one who can change anything about God… including his mind.
We will be tempted to think of God in ways that make him too human and this one attribute will stand against all other assaults on his character. But before we can talk about this in specifics we need to approach his word and see how he has decided to reveal himself to us and show us this divine attribute of his nature.
The big idea here is that God is unchangeable… He is perpetually the same: subject to no change in his being, attributes or determinations.
This becomes a hard concept for us to understand because the world around us is in a constant state of flux, like an ocean that is continually fluctuating with rising swells. It is also hard for us to understand this attribute because there is nothing else in all of creation that we can say this about, that it never changes. The closest thing we have is massive rock formations that seem to be immovable and constant over many thousands of years… Yet even those are subject to erosion, however slow of a process it may be, even rocks erode, but it seems to be the closest thing we can look at to get some understanding of a divine attribute that belongs only to God.
That being said, even the word pictures of scripture fail to speak to the glorious nature of God when they declare God is our rock.
Deuteronomy 32:4 ESV
4 “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
The rock that is our God gives us the idea of confidence and strength and an immovable nature, yet even the rocks will erode and ultimately be burned up one day… They speak something of the nature of God but language seems to fail us with certain aspects of understanding God. There is a language that we speak and assign meaning to, but it is baby talk compared to being able to understand God. However, God used men to write in languages words which will help us to know him.
But even languages grow and change as society continues on… and Again we then have more of a problem being able to understand that God is unchangeable, he is Immutable!
So the concept is simple but yet horribly complex… Since God has no beginning and no end, he can also know no change at all. This is why scripture declares him to be from everlasting to everlasting...
James 1:17 ESV
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
There is simply no variation with God, no change at all. The implications of this is exactly what makes the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so powerfully amazing. But we can’t get there yet, not un til we understand this better… So let’s look at the immutability of God in 3 different areas. First...

God is immutable in His essence

God in his nature and being are infinite. No beginning and no end. There is no measurements that are sufficient to explain God. He is infinite and we are finite. We have a beginning and we have certain limitations, yet this is not the case for God.
There was never a time when God was not, and there will never be a time when he shall cease to be. This also means that God does not evolve, he doesn’t grow, and he will never improve. Nothing can be added to him and no one can enhance him at all. This means that everything he is today, he has always been and he always will be.
Malachi 3:6 ESV
6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
Look at this statement and see why nit is so important to understand this attribute of God… When he sets his love one someone, even when they turn their back on him and disobey him, he cannot stop loving them… So the children of Jacob were not consumed… Because God doesn’t change even when we constantly change. This is the best news you can hear if you are a parent of a wayward child. God will be gracious when we absolutely do not deserve it, and he is this way because he doesn’t change.
Once he sets his love on you in Jesus Christ, he will never change his mind, because he is immutable in essence.
God will not change for the better, since he is already perfect. And being perfect he cannot change for the worse. In fact this is the only thing I would feel comfortable saying that God cannot do...
God cannot change, he is immutable. If he changed he would not be God and he has no need to change since he is perfect and fully in control of all things. God is unaffected by anything outside of himself, improvement and or deterioration is impossible.
God is always the same and that is why he revealed himself as such...
Exodus 3:14 ESV
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”
This almost seems confusing to us, “I AM who I AM”… And we would say, “Who is that?” And he would say, “I AM”!!!!
And God is uninfluenced by time, no matter how much time passes. If all of time could be understood, then compared to eternity, it would be like one single drop of water in the middle of the entire ocean.
God simply is who He is, which is immutable in essence… Therefore his power can never diminish and his glory will never fade. The Essence of God is constant, and this is why Isaiah 40:28 says - He does not faint or grow weary.
So being the ultimate source of all life and never being diminished in power and glory is a given with him. Then what about the other attributes?

God is immutable in his attributes

All his divine attributes are unchanging. Whatever the attributes of God were before the creation of all things, before he called something out of nothing… These same attributes of his character are still the same right now, and they will never falter, they will remain forever.
God’s power is unfailing, his wisdom is undiminished, and his holiness is unblemished. God’s decrees are unchanging, his foreknowledge is unrelenting, his supremacy is unassailable, his faithfulness is unceasing, even his wrath is perfectly fixed and untainted, his patience is unbroken, his goodness is undamaged, his grace is unimpaired, and his love is unspoiled.
The attributes of God can no more change than deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable because...
Psalm 119:89 ESV
89 Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
God’s love is eternal
Jeremiah 31:3 ESV
3 the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
He loves with and everlasting love, and so he continues in faithfulness to his creation. And he will love us to the end.
John 13:1 ESV
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
And his mercy ceases not
Psalm 100:5 ESV
5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
There is truly none like our God. Try as you may to think of something or someone more than the most high God… it is simply impossible. Nothing about who God is will ever change, period!
But there is more to the immutability of God...

God is immutable in His counsel

God’s will never varies, it isn’t in flux. He has determined his will and his counsel never changes. And this is where people will object to this God of scripture, and they will even try to use scripture to object. We must be very careful here, when people try to pit God’s word against his nature revealed in his word. There are no contradictions on his word, because there are no contradictions in him.
But let me show you how this idea of God being immutable in his counsel or will is fought by well meaning people in some churches.
Genesis 6:6 ESV
6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
This is how we see God describing himself to us as he is ready to unleash a flood on the earth. Regretting, another translation says “repenting” speaking of God’s disposition in those days.
So are we to think that God changed his mind, and turn his counsel and will around, that he didn’t see something coming and he had to modify his plan? Well… Do the scriptures contradict themselves? NO! Well then what?
Numbers 23:19 ESV
19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
IS this simply one verse pitted against another?
1 Samuel 15:29 ESV
29 And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.”
How are we to reconcile this? And the answer is simple.
When God is speaking of himself he is graciously accommodating our limited capacities with basic language. God describes himself AN-THRO-PO-MORPHIC-ALLY. A big word to say he describes himself with human characteristics, so we can understand him better. He describes himself as clothed with bodily members, with ears and eyes and hands and feet… Even speaks of himself as “walking” and in Psalm 78:65 even more curiously as “awaking from sleep”… Yet he never sleeps nor slumbers...
Psalm 121:4 ESV
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
So what does Genesis 6:6 mean when it says God regretted? A.W. Pink put it this way,
“When God institutes a change in his dealings with men, he describes his course of conduct as ‘repenting’ or ‘regretting’”.
Let us not mistake a loving God who cares for his creation for a fickle god who has his mind changed by those he created.
So, Yes, God is immutable in his counsel. His will is determined and plan is fixed.
Romans 11:29 ESV
29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Job 23:13 ESV
13 But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does.
God purpose never alters. He is not like us. Remember I said the question I want us to wrestle with this summer is this, “Are our thoughts of God too human?” Well one of the best ways we see that we think of God too human is when we think of him changing his mind, or amending his plan because of some sort of unforeseen circumstances. But that is no more the God of the bible than the wizard of Oz is a man behind a curtain pulling levers.
God doesn’t change his mind or amend his plans. He is not like us.
There are 2 things that cause a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: His want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of power to execute his plans. Man will change his mind for lack of Knowledge of all things and for lack of power over all things… Well this is simply not a problem for God.
God is both Omniscient and Omnipotent, (all knowing and all powerful), so there is never a need for him to revise his decrees. But does his word say so?
Psalm 33:11 ESV
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
How long does his counsel stand for? FOREVER!!!
Hebrews 6:17 ESV
17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,
Scripture tells us that God actually desires to show his Immutable or unchangeable character. Why? Why would God desire to show us something of his nature that we can hardly comprehend? The fact that he never changes? Again, I submit to you the Prophet Malachi.
Malachi 3:6 ESV
6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
He goes on to tell them that they have turned away from God but that God would still have them return back to him. God didn’t get mad and leave them, he didn’t give them what they deserved, he told them exactly how they could be back in right relationship with him. He told them they were robbing him by not giving as they were directed and promised to bless them if they would simply come back.
God desires to show off his Immutable nature to us because it is that nature that keeps him from destroying us when we fail to follow him. Even when we are in sinful disobedience to him and he is rightly wrathful, he also is able to simply forgive because his nature will not allow him to remove his love from those he has placed it upon.
See we can depend on God when we cannot depend on anyone else. He doesn’t just quit on us like some around will do. No human being can be depended on...
Psalm 146:3 ESV
3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
We can only put our trust In Jesus for our salvation, it is found in him alone. No matter what society thinks is the answer to the problems they identify in this world… They simply cannot be trusted, because they are creatures that are Mutable, meaning they change constantly. There is no salvation found in them… And if you listen to them enough they will try to redefine salvation.
But furthermore, we will be disappointed by each other in the body of Christ, since we still struggle against sin in our flesh.
A. W. Pink said it this way… “If I disobey God, then I deserve to be deceived and disappointed by my fellows. People who like you today may hate you tomorrow. The multitude who cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” speedily changed to “away with him, crucify him.”
This will be a cause for tension in our churches, but there is hope and comfort even in these distressing times.

People cannot be relied upon, but God can!

However unstable I may be, or however fickle our friends may be, God does not ever change.
If God was anything like us, and he changed his mind today about something he said yesterday, then we could never have any confidence in him. If he was committed to us in offering salvation but quickly changed his mind about us and removed it every time we messed up, we would have no hope at all.
Yet we give him all praise we can muster because he is our rock! His purpose is fixed, his will is stable and his word is sure! I love how A.W. Pink put it...

“The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of his promises” A.W. Pink

Think about that. God’s character is a permanent reality. It will never change, and so, his promises will never fail his people. We can trust his word because he never changes. If God was changing like his people can often be, we would have no confidence that anything is true. But this immutability of God means that his word is true and his promises will be fulfilled no matter what.
Isaiah 54:10 ESV
10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Aren’t you glad that God never changes his mind and he never fades in power, he never fails his promises and he never ceases to work in his people?!
The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is made infinitely more powerful when we understand that immutability of God.
Hebrews 13:8 ESV
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Even though we weren’t there when he hung on the cross we still receive his forgiveness because of his immutable nature. Even though we can’t see him walking with us we have his word which is sure and reminds us that just as Jesus forgave those who came to him, he will forgive us as well. His nature doesn’t change, just like the Fathers nature doesn’t change...
John 10:30 ESV
30 I and the Father are one.”
Jesus declared that he and the Father are one, and his word says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever… This is because the Godhead is immutable. God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit are all unchangeable and never able to be diminished or improved upon. They existed before we came into existence and they will exist forever and ever and ever. The questions is this??? Have you come to see that God is infinitely far above you in every way shape and form?
Have you come to realize that you cannot go on living without him? Without his forgiveness, without his salvation from his wrath that will come upon this earth? Have you come to a place where you see your own sinfulness and your need for a savior? IF so, call upon his name today! Call out to Jesus and ask him to forgive you of your sins! He will surely do it, because his word declares he will never change. The gospel call goes out to all sinners and those who hear it and receive it with humility, those who acknowledge their sins and ask for forgiveness will receive forgiveness.
If God is immutable, and unchanging, then this verse will comfort you as it does me...
1 John 1:9 ESV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This is good news of an immutable God who will tire of sinful activity. I don’t care how many failing you have had, this day come to him and s=confess your sin, he will forgive, because he changes not!
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more