This morning as I was praying and worshiping, I found myself thanking God that He does not change. For me, this reality is beautiful beyond beautiful—one of the things I love most about Him. I can remember a time, though, when I didn’t really understand the ramifications of God’s unchanging nature. Sure, I accepted it because the Bible clearly teaches that, but I suppose I didn’t play it out in my imagination as to why it meant anything significant to me at all.
“I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:16
What we are discussing here when we say that God does not change is the concept of immutability. Tozer puts it this way: “Nothing that God has ever said about Himself will be modified; nothing the inspired prophets and apostles have said about Him will be rescinded. His immutability guarantees this.”
So what does this mean for us? Among other things, it means that:
1. God does not grow.
Although it’s something we possibly may all know, the impossibility of God growing can erupt our mind’s limits if we let it. God does not learn. God does not develop. Think about it.
I can learn, because I don’t know everything. Be it nature or science or even intangibles like relationship dynamics and effective parenting—I have things to learn. And people change, so I am afforded the opportunity to learn new ways to relate and communicate to them. Even when I am a silver-haired, feeble, old man far past his prime, my learning has not ended: I can be surprised by the way another person reacts, and I can be shocked by a decision.
I can develop. There are undesirable qualities within my heart that need to be developed. And there are wonderful qualities in my heart, but they need to get stronger. My love, my patience, my self-control all have room to grow. And my ability to turn the other cheek, be slow to anger, and be quick to listen all have room to grow as well.
But for God—oh!—for God, there is nothing to learn. It’s not that there’s nothing left for God to learn, it’s simply that there’s nothing for Him to learn. He cannot grow in His knowledge. He knows the least relevant minutiae about the tiniest mushroom on the slopes of the Czech Republic. He knows what time the sun will set for Kenya on February 9, 2033. He knows the exact phonetic gurgle that your future great-grandchild will utter, just like He knew the length of time five-year-old Mephibosheth would cry when his nurse dropped him in 2 Samuel 4:4. And even less tangible things has God already known since the eternity before Adam was shaped, such as the best way, the right way to romance the girl down the street—but the goofy way you’ll actually try to romance her. Nothing surprises God. Nothing shocks Him. It is impossible for Him to grow in learning.
It is also impossible for God to develop. See, God is already perfect in every category. He cannot grow to become more faithful, for example, because His faithfulness defines for us the maximum level of faithfulness possible. He cannot with time grow to be kinder or happier or stronger. He is perfect in every way. And that does not change.
2. God is infinite.
Because God is immutable, He is infinite. Put differently, if He does not change, He does not end. Do you see what I mean? So then, God exists in the realm of infinitude, meaning that He cannot be measured and that everything that He is, is entirely without end. We can conclude that His attributes break past limitations and continue ceaselessly on into infinity. A philosopher could say that whatever God is and all that God is, He is without limit.
If on earth, the maximum level of love to which a man can love is a 10 out of 10, it can be said that God’s love bursts past the Number 10 mile-marker and keeps rushing past with the unapologetic force of a waterfall. It’s not slowing down. There’s no end in sight.
The love of God is infinite, streaming into eternity.
So is His patience. His happiness. His holiness. His eagerness to forgive. All these exist in the unthinkable realm of infinitude. Streaming into eternity. I love that, don’t you? “Streaming into eternity.”
3. God is always in a good mood.
Now, if you’ve kept with me thus far, then this last take-away is a no-brainer. Because God is unchanging, we never need to be concerned whether or not He will receive us. God is not warm one day and aloof the next. God is not excited to embrace us one day and disinterested the next. No! Because God’s infinite love for you streams to eternity in both directions, you can confident that He exuberantly loves you today!
God does not keep office hours and His affection toward you doesn’t cool down. He loves you! He calls you His wondrous treasure! He can’t stop thinking glorious thoughts about you, about how you make Him laugh and smile—much the way an earthly dad fondly recalls happy memories made with his children. He is enthusiastic about you! If God had a wallet, He’d probably be glowing with fatherly pride to show off your picture to His heavenly hosts!
When you approach Him, don’t draw back in timidity. As God beckoned thousands of years ago, “Come and drink from the water I give! Drink your fill, My beloved! You’ll never thirst again!” (my paraphrase of John 4:14), He is beckoning the same to you now. Come! He will receive you warmly—and will always receive you warmly!
God does not change. How magnificent! ♦
For more by Pastor Joshua Watts, visit his blog.