THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD                                                                                              Lesson #2


The Immutability of God                                      Malachi 3:6


            The Apostle James describes our God as “The Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). God himself declares, “I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”


            How great that God must be who is unchanging and unchangeable! Nothing reaches God. Nothing touches God. Nothing affects God. Nothing moves God. Nothing changes God. God reaches all things; but nothing reaches him. God touches all things; but nothing touches him. God affects all things; but nothing affects him. God moves all things; but nothing moves him. God changes all things; but nothing changes him. God is immutable. Sitting upon his high and glorious throne, with the ease and serenity of total and absolute sovereignty, God looks down upon the heavens, down upon the angels, down upon the earth, down upon men, the worms of the earth, down upon hell, the fallen angels, and satan himself, and declares, “I am the LORD, I change not!”


            Satan led a revolt against his throne; but God changes not. Sin entered into the world; but God changes not. Nations rise and nations fall; but God changes not. The heavens and the earth shall vanish away; but God changes not. A new heaven and a new earth shall be made; but God changes not. God’s elect shall enter into the bliss of eternal glory, and the damned shall be cast into hell forever; but God changes not. God alone is unaffected. God alone is immutable. God alone never changes.


Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day, Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;

Change and decay all around me I see - O thou who changest not, abide with me.


Immutability belongs to God alone. This world is not immutable. You and I are not immutable. “Man, at his best estate, is altogether vanity.” “God alone is, in and of himself, immutable” (John Gill).


            GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN THE ESSENCE OF HIS BEING. God is the eternal, infinite Spirit. He cannot change or be changed by anything. He who says, “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex. 3:15), can never experience change. He is immutable. I realize that it is far easier for a man to say what God is not than it is for him to say what God is. But, of this you may be certain, whatever God is in the essence of his Being, he cannot change (Psa. 102:25-27). He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.


            Eternality will not permit change. That which is eternal must of necessity be. And that which necessarily exists from eternity can never be changed. God is eternal. He is the only Being who is without cause. He is, because he is. Therefore, he cannot change or be changed. Perfection will not permit change. Perfection cannot be increased or diminished. God who is perfect cannot change for the better, because he is perfect already. He cannot change for the worse, for that would make him imperfect. Though God created the world, he never changed. It was his will to create from eternity. Creative power was in him from eternity. And the creation of the world has had no effect upon him. When the deed was done, God remained the same. God underwent no change even when the Godhead was united to manhood in the incarnation of Christ (Isa. 9:6). When the Son of God assumed our nature God did not become a man and man did not become God. Godhead and manhood were united in one glorious Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of God’s elect. Be sure you understand this. Our faith is in, and we who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ have committed our souls to, the holy Lord God who is perpetually the same. He is immutable in the essence of his Being.


            GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN THE PERFECTIONS OF HIS NATURE. We are studying the attributes of God, those perfections of the Divine character which are essential to his Being as God. In all the attributes of his nature God is immutable. The power of God is immutable. It is never exhausted, or even slightly diminished. The knowledge of God is immutable. God has never learned anything. And he has never forgotten anything. We rejoice to hear him say, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” But that is a revelation of his grace, not a description of his omniscience. And that non-remembrance of his people’s sins was an act of eternal grace. The goodness of God is immutable. God’s goodness extends to all his creatures. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. But God’s goodness is never in short supply. It is immutably abundant. The faithfulness of God is immutable. His faithfulness never fails! Though we believe not, “He abideth faithful.” God is ever faithful in all things to his people, to his purposes, to his promises, to himself, and to his Son. The glorious holiness of God is immutable. God’s holiness is never tarnished. He is the immutably just and righteous one. His holiness is always illustriously the same. Satan has not tarnished it. Man has not tarnished it. Grace has not tarnished it. In the forgiveness of sin God remains perfectly just and holy. Through the sacrifice of Christ he is able to be both just and the Justifier of all who believe the gospel (Rom. 3:24-26). His holiness is not tarnished in the forgiveness of sins because his justice has been satisfied by the blood of his own dear Son.


            GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS PURPOSES AND DECREES. “There is a purpose for everything, and a time for that purpose. God has determined all that ever was, is, or shall be” (John Gill). All that comes to pass comes to pass according to the counsel and decree of God. And his counsel, his purpose, his decree is immutable (Heb. 6:17; Eph. 1:11; Rom. 11:36; Prov. 16:4). The purposes of God are always executed. They are never frustrated. It does not lie within the realm of created power to frustrate the purpose of the Creator. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever” (Psa. 33:11; Prov. 19:21; Isa. 14:24, 27; 46:10). God’s purposes are in himself (Eph. 1:9). That which God has purposed in himself cannot change until he changes. And he cannot change until he ceases to be God. And that cannot be. God’s purposes and decrees are eternal ((Eph. 3:11; Rom. 8:28-30). No new thoughts arise in his mind. No new resolutions are formed in his heart. No new decrees come forth from his lips. His counsels are of old, from everlasting.[1]

            Foolish men imagine that because God appears in their eyes to change that he actually has changed. A moment’s thought should prevent anyone from such a low view of the Almighty. Nothing unforeseen can ever arise to make him change his mind. He is able to perform what he has purposed. Changes in providence do not imply any change in God (Job 23:10-14). God’s immutability is not inconsistent with the prayers of his people. When he answers prayer in such a way that a change in his purpose appears to have occurred (As in the case of Hezekiah), knowing that prayer will never change God’s purpose (Jer. 15:1), we realize that our prayers also were ordained of him for the accomplishment of his purpose. Prayer is one instrument by which God accomplishes his purpose (Ezek. 36:36-37; II Sam. 7:25-27).

            GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS LOVE TOWARD HIS ELECT (Jer. 31:3; John 13:1). God’s love is like himself. It is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. “God is love.” And God’s love for his elect is without beginning, without cause, without limitation, without change, and without end. Though God’s elect fell in Adam, his love never changed. Though we lived long in sin, God’s love never changed (Ezek. 16:6-8; Eph. 2:4-5; Tit. 3:3-5). Though we often sin against him, God’s love never changes. He hides his face from us; but he does not cease to love us (Isa. 54:7-10). He afflicts us; but he does not cease to love us (Heb. 12:6-11).

            GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN THE PROMISES OF HIS COVENANT (II Cor. 1:20). The everlasting covenant of grace was made with Christ before the world began. And it stands fast with him. All the blessings of the covenant are called “sure mercies.” They flow to us from the free and sovereign grace of God through Christ. And they cannot be reversed (Rom. 11:29). The Lord God has promised his elect all the blessings of grace and glory in that covenant ordered in all things and sure (Eph. 1:3-14). And all those blessings, in all their total fullness shall be given to and possessed by every chosen sinner. We are assured of this by many things; but none inspire more confidence than the fact that our God is immutable. He will never take away his gifts of grace. He will never charge his own elect with sin. He will never cease his own to cherish! Here is solid comfort for our souls (Isa. 54:10). Our God does not change and cannot be changed. Here is the foundation for faith (Mic. 7:18-20 - “He delighteth in mercy!”). Our God does not change and cannot be changed. Here is a great encouragement for prayer (I John 5:14). Our God does not change and cannot be changed. Here is terror for you who will not seek God’s mercy. God says, “I will deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Ezek. 8:18). He does not change. Here is assurance and security for every believer. Our God does not change and cannot be changed. He declares, “I am the LORD, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

[1] Note: God’s purposes and decrees are called his counsel because they are wisely and deliberately formed. Yet. We must never imagine that his counsels are like the counsels of men. God sees and knows all things at once. He declares the end from the beginning.