Theology for All #6: God Doesn’t Change

We are created beings, fallen, broken, and extraordinarily finite in our understanding of the future. This leads us to change frequently. Sometimes that is a good thing. The person in the grip of alcoholism may find freedom, the parents who are perpetually late may take steps to be on time for their commitments. Sometimes change isn’t good. We break our word, fall into laziness, or start a habit that turns into a pattern of sin in our lives. The fact is, we change. God doesn’t.

Try to imagine that. Never changing. Being supremely perfect in every single part of your being. In fact, if God were to change, that would imply a change for the better or for the worse, and neither of these options are legitimate when it comes to the God of the universe. He cannot get “better” than He is, because He is perfect. And He cannot be less than perfect, or He would cease to be God.

There are massively practical ramifications of this truth. For one, it means that God always keeps His promises. In Malachi 3:6, God tells us that “I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” God had entered into a covenant relationship with Israel. This was a covenant that Israel had broken and violated every way conceivable. God tells His people that if He were a changing God, their incredible depth of rebellion would lead Him to wipe them from the face of the planet. But God doesn’t change. And lest someone believe that God is chafing a little at the restrictions that He has placed on Himself, He is not. God knows everything. He knew every act of rebellion that Israel would commit when He entered into covenant relationship with them. None of this caught Him by surprise. He is keeping promises to a rebellious people because He is an unchanging, promise-keeping God. How amazing is that? We fall so far short. All the time. We are broken, fallen, inconsistent, and fickle. We burn with passionate devotion to our God one day, and struggle to be consistent the next. But He is faithful. He does not change. He keeps all His promises to us.

Another ramification of this truth is that God will always be there. Psalm 102:25-27 tells us that “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.” We live in a broken world. Creation, initially perfect, has been marred by the fall and the curse that came with it. It is wearing out, awaiting redemption and recreation. One day, this earth will be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth. But God will always be there. We don’t have to worry about Him ceasing to be when we are in the midst of a great trial. He is always there, and He is always consistent with His own character and nature.

A final ramification of this truth is that God always gives good gifts to His children. In James 1:17, we are told that “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.” Life is hard. We will struggle. One of the most twisted teachings facing Christians today is the heresy that if you trust and follow Christ life will become easy. There’s no promise of that in the Bible. There is promise of challenge and struggle, but also of good gifts from a good Father who loves His children. And because He never changes, His gifts and never less than exactly what we need in the moment to glorify Him. So when you don’t feel like it, His gifts allow you to remain faithful. When anxiety threatens to overwhelm, His peace passes all understanding. When strife and conflict are all around, He brings joy. We serve a good God who gives good gifts to His children.

We change. It’s built into our nature. God doesn’t. He never will. That should bring us incredible joy, peace, comfort, and trust. We serve a good God, and that will never change.