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Immutability

(9 posts)

Unchanging God

Tuesday··2008·11·18 · 2 Comments
God himself does not change. He is as he always has been and will always be. But many Christians who would affirm that statement believe, on the basis of circumstances and experience, and even on the basis of a few passages of Scripture, that God does change his mind. How shall we answer them? J. I. Packer writes, “God’s purposes do not change.” “He who is the glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind,” declared Samuel, “for he is not a man who should change his mind” (1 Samuel 15:29). . . . Repenting means revising one’s judgment and changing one’s plan of action. God never does this; he never needs to, for his plans are made on the basis of a complete knowledge and control which extend to all things past, present, and future, so that there can be no sudden emergencies or unexpected developments to take him by surprise. “One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of foresight to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need to reverse his decrees” (A. W. Pink). “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Ps 33:11). What God does in time, he planned from eternity. And all that he planned in eternity he carries out in time. And all that he has in his Word committed himself to do will infallibly be done. . . . No part of his eternal plan changes. It is true that there is a group of texts (Gen 6:6–7; 1 Sam 5:11; 2 Sam 24:16; Jon 3:10; Joel 2:13–14) which speak of God as repenting. The reference in each case is to a reversal of God’s previous treatment of particular people, consequent to their reaction to that treatment. But there is no suggestion that this reaction was not foreseen, or that it took God by surprise and was not provided for in his eternal plan. No change in his eternal purpose is implied when he begins to deal with a person in a new way. —J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 79–80.

Hymns of My Youth II: Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Saturday··2011·11·05
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:22–23 Great Is Thy Faithfulness Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father! There is no shadow of turning with thee; Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; As thou hast been thou forever will be. Refrain: Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed thy hand hath provided— Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above Join with all nature in manifold witness To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Refrain Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow— Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Refrain —Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Immortal, Invisible

Saturday··2014·04·19
Immortal, Invisible Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. 1 Timothy 1:17 Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes, Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious—Thy great Name we praise. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might; Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love. To all, life Thou givest—to both great and small; In all life Thou livest—the true life of all; We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee. Great Father of glory, pure Father of light, Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight; All praise we would render—O help us to see ’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee! —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Saturday··2014·05·17
Great Is Thy Faithfulness His compassions never fail. They are new every morning: Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22–23 Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with thee; Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; As thou hast been thou forever will be. Refrain: Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed thy hand hath provided— Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above Join with all nature in manifold witness To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Refrain Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Refrain —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Lord’s Day 46, 2014

Sunday··2014·11·16
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. —James 1:17 The Infinite and the Finite Thou Great I Am, Fill my mind with elevation and grandeur at the thought of a Being with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, A mighty God, who, amidst the lapse of worlds, and the revolutions of empires, feels no variableness, but is glorious in immortality. May I rejoice that, while men die, the Lord lives; that, while all creatures are broken reeds, empty cisterns, fading flowers, withering grass, he is the Rock of Ages, the Fountain of living waters. Turn my heart from vanity, from dissatisfactions, from uncertainties of the present state, to an eternal interest in Christ. Let me remember that life is short and unforeseen, and is only an opportunity for usefulness; Give me a holy avarice to redeem the time, to awake at every call to charity and piety, so that I may feed the hungry, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant, reclaim the vicious, forgive the offender, diffuse the gospel, show neighbourly love to all. Let me live a life of self-distrust, dependence on thyself, mortification, crucifixion, prayer. —The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord’s Day 51, 2014

Sunday··2014·12·21
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. —Hebrews 13:8 He Died and Lives Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood, I see the mighty sacrifice, And I have peace with God. ’Tis everlasting peace! Sure as Jehovah’s name, ’Tis stable as his stedfast throne, For evermore the same. The clouds may go and come, And storms may sweep my sky, This blood-sealed friendship changes not, The cross is ever nigh. My love is oftimes low, My joy still ebbs and flows, But peace with him remains the same, No change Jehovah knows. That which can shake the cross May shake the peace it gave, Which tells me Christ has ever died, Or never left the grave! Till then my peace is sure, It will not, cannot yield, Jesus, I know, has died and lives,— On this firm rock I build. I change, he changes not, The Christ can never die; His love, not mine, the resting-place, His truth, not mine, the tie. The cross still stands unchanged, Though heaven is now his home, The mighty stone is rolled away, But yonder is his tomb! And yonder is my peace, The grave of all my woes! I know the Son of God has come, I know he died and rose. I know he liveth now, At God’s right hand above, I know the throne on which he sits, I know his truth and love! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord’s Day 1, 2017

Sunday··2017·01·01
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” —John 8:12 Why Walk in Darkness? Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Why walk in darkness? Has the dear light vanished, That gave us joy and day? Has the great Sun departed? Has sin banished His life-begetting ray? Light of the world! for ever, ever shining; There is no change in thee; True light of life, all joy and health enshrining, Thou canst not fade nor flee. Thou hast arisen; but thou descendest never; To day shines as the past; All that thou wast, thou art, and shalt be ever;— Brightness from first to last! Night visits not thy sky, nor storm, nor sadness; Day fills up all its blue: Unfailing beauty, and unfaltering gladness, And love, for ever new! Why walk in darkness? Our true light yet shineth, It is not night but day! All healing and all peace his light enshrineth, Why shun his loving ray? Are night and shadows better, truer, dearer, Than day and joy and love? Do tremblings and misgivings bring us nearer To the great God of love? Light of the world! undimming and unsetting, Oh shine each mist away! Banish the fear, the falsehood, and the fretting, Be our unchanging day! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Faith and the Attributes of God (3)

Tuesday··2017·09·12
My righteous one shall live by faith —Hebrews 10:38 The more we learn of the attributes of God, the greater our faith should grow. Knowing who he is and what he is able to do should give us great confidence in him. Best of all, we can be sure that, in all of his attributes, he will never change. Our friends, good as they may be, will fail us, but God never will. What we trust today will be true tomorrow, and for eternity. We may doubt of creature power, because it is limited, but he is omnipotent. The creature may have strength, but want wisdom, and this may disable him, and weaken our confidence; but God is omniscient. A friend may have strength and wisdom too, but may be far from us; oh, but he is omnipresent. A man may have all these, but be prevented by death; but God is eternal. A man may have power, wisdom, propinquity,* life, but not be willing; but God is merciful, gracious, compassionate, and joins other attributes to his mercy, the more to confirm faith. Mercy endures for ever; there is eternity. Over all his works; there is immensity. Abundant in goodness, there is its infiniteness. His compassions fail not, there is unchangeableness. —David Clarkson, Of Living by Faith, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:181–182. * 1 : nearness of blood : kinship 2 : nearness in place or time : proximity    —Merriam-Webster

Why God Must Punish Sin

Wednesday··2017·11·01
Sin being entered into the world, the Lord was concerned not to let it go unpunished. It is enough for our purpose, which is out of question, that it was the Lord’s will and determination to punish all sin. But there seems to be a sufficient proof, that it was not from the mere pleasure of his will that he should be punished, but there was a necessity for it, from the nature and perfections of God, and from his relation to man as his governor, and from the law enacted as the rule of his government. The Lord is obliged, not only by his truth and unchangeableness, but by his wisdom, holiness, and justice, to punish sin. His truth engages him to it. He threatens it in his law, and if he will rule according to law, it must be inflicted. His truth is obliged for the executing of the threatening, and to make good what he had declared to be his resolution. His unchangeableness makes it necessary. He did determine from eternity to punish it. The event shews that it was eternal purpose, and the counsel of the Lord must stand: he is not as man. His wisdom makes it necessary. The end and designs of his law and government would be lost, his law would appear to be powerless and insignificant, his government would be rendered contemptible, the authority of the one, and the honour of the other defaced, if sin is not punished. The holiness of God requires it. Sin is contrary to him; he hates it. If he will shew himself to be what he is, ‘an holy God, of purer eyes than to behold evil, and who cannot look on iniquity,’ Hab. i. 13, it is necessary to shew his hatred of it by punishing it: Josh. xxiv. 19, ‘he will not forgive,’ that is, he will punish, because he is holy, where, as in other places, the necessity of punishing is grounded upon his holiness. If the Lord be necessarily an holy God, it will be necessary to hate sin; for hatred of sin is essential to holiness, and cannot be conceived or apprehended without it. Now to hate sin . . . necessarily includes a will to punish it. It is essential to holiness to be displeased with sin. Now as the love of God is our chief reward, so God’s displeasure is the chief punishment of it. If then it be not necessary that he punish sin, there will be no necessity that he be displeased at sin. It will be arbitrary to the holy God to be pleased with sin, if it be arbitrary not to punish it. We might conceive that he may as well be pleased with sin as displeased with it, which is intolerable to say or imagine. Finally, His justice obliges him to punish it; for suffering is indispensably due to sin, and the sinner justly deserves it, and justice requires that everything, every one, should have his due, that every disobedience receives a just recompence of reward, Heb. ii. 21, Rom. i. 32, 2 Thes. i. It is righteous with God to give to every one according to his work. —David Clarkson, Justification by the Righteousness of Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:282–283. This is very bad news, but there is good news to come.

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