As I stated in a previous blog, I am reading Christian Beliefs: 20 Basics every Christian Should know by Wayne and Elliot Grudem. Here of are some of main points of Chapter 2 titled “What is God Like.”
God is Unchangeable
He is unchangeable in the ways that Scripture tells us. David writes in Psalms praising God for being the same. God Himself reaffirms this in reference to His attributes. In contrast to people we change, but God stays the same forever.
- “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. (Psalm 102:27)
- “For I, the LORD, do not change: (Malachi 3:6)
God is unchangeable in His purposes.
- The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.(Psalm 33:11)
God is unchangeable in His promises.
- “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent ; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good ? (Numbers 23:19)
God’s attitude or expression of an intention can change as situations change. He may choose to respond differently in different situations, but this does not contradict this attribute. For example, God did not punish Nineveh as promised, when the people repented. In Exodus 32:9-14, God’s anger burns against the Israelite people, and plans destroy them, but doesn’t after Moses intercedes on their behalf.
- Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk ; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” (Jonah 3:4) When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. (Jonah 3:10)
- The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. “Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, “O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand ? “Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth ‘? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people. (Exodus 32:9-14)
We can be grateful that God is unchangeable, and we can rely on His promises. We can also be grateful that God’s does respond differently at times. For example. how He deals with sin and repentance. He can destroy us for our sinfulness, but chooses to withhold judgment. He gives us the opportunity to repent, and trust in Jesus’ sacrificial death as payment for our sins.