For Part 1, Part 2 of God Is Immutable, and previous lessons of Know God Intimately, please click here
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III. What It Doesn’t Mean
The immutability of God raises an important question. If God is immutable, what is meant by such statements found in the Bible that speak of God repenting or changing His mind?
Jonah 3:10 And God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them? (KJV)
Ge 6:5-6 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (KJV)
These passages do not suggest there was a change in the character of God, only in His actions toward man based on the actions of men. It is man who changes and due to the changeless character of God, He must change His actions or dealings with man. God must deal with man in agreement with His holy character. He must ultimately deal with sin in judgment as He did in Genesis 6, or He acts in mercy when man repents as He did with Nineveh. But God’s actions are always consistent with His character. For instance, the Genesis passage does not say that God changed His mind in the sense that He wished He had not made man, but only that He was grieved over man’s behavior. The translation of the NIV makes the point clear.
Genesis 6:5-6 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. (NIV)
Compare also the translation of the NIV for Jonah 3:10: When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. (NIV)
When used of God as in some translations, the term “repentance” is simply an anthropomorphism, a term assigned human feeling or emotion to God to show us God’s attitude toward sin.
IV. Conclusion and Application
The immutability of God is a fear to the unsaved because it means that God must always deal with men in accord with His holy character and plan. God make no deals and allows no one apart from His plan of salvation in the person and work of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, God’s immutability is a continuous comfort to believers because it means God is faithful, always, to His promises and the principles of His Word. For this reason, God is called “the Rock” (Deut 32:4) for when the entire world around us seems to rise and fall and tremble, God is the one true safe and faithful place of rest.
Deuteronomy 32:4 The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.
Psalm 18:2, 31 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 31 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God
People will often let each other down. Our friends, family and even ourselves often prove changeable, but the Lord never changes, He will never ever let us down. He is our Rock of blessing, support, and deliverance. This is why our trust should never be in man as Jeremiah 17:5 warns, “Cursed be man that trust in mankind and makes flesh his strength.” This does not mean that God always answers our prayers and desires according to our wishes for we certainly know He does not. It means, however, we can count on the fact that He is faithful to always act in accordance with His infinite wisdom, everlasting love, and eternal purposes.
Dear Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that Your love, faithfulness, purposes and everlasting Word will NEVER change! Every time I see a rainbow in the sky, may I always be reminded of your unchanging promises. Help me Lord to always give You my undying love, loyalty, devotion, and service. In Jesus precious name, Amen.