Summary: What is God like? Does He ever change? If He does, how does that effect His people? In this message, Pastor Steve examines the immutability of God and shows how this affects every aspect of our life.
In our last study together on the doctrine of God, we looked at the existence and nature of God. In the existence of God we said that it is assumed in the Scriptures. William Evans, in his book Great Doctrines of the Bible, says, “It does not seem to have occurred to any of the writers of either the Old or the New Testaments to attempt to prove or to argue for the existence of God. Everywhere and at all times it is a fact taken for granted.” That fact is also seen in His creation. Psalm 19:1-2 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.” Theologians often use theological terms that we’re unfamiliar with but none the less often state truths in a concise way. I gave you six arguments that theologians use to prove the existence of God. The first was the teleological argument which says design implies a designer. When you look at something that has been finished or perfected, we conclude its resulting design must have had a designer. The second argument was ontological, which comes from a Greek participle “to be.” This argument reasons that man’s ability to conceive of an absolutely perfect Being implies the reality and existence of that Being. The third was aesthetical. Because there is beauty and truth in the world, it is logical to assume that somewhere in the universe is a standard upon which beauty and truth are based. A fourth argument is volitional. Because man faces a myriad of choices and exercises volition, it is logical to assume that there must be an infinite will somewhere. The world exists as an expression of that will. The fifth argument is moral. This argument says that since we know there is a right and wrong this suggests the necessity of an absolute standard. And the sixth argument is cosmological. Cosmology is the argument of cause and effect. The world and the universe exist, and we conclude that someone made it.
We said that the cause of limitless space must be infinite; the cause of endless time must be eternal; the cause of perceptual motion must be powerful; the cause of complexity must be omniscient; the cause of consciousness must be personal; the cause of feeling must be emotional; the cause of will must be volitional; the cause of ethical values must be moral; the cause of religious values must be spiritual; the cause of beauty must be aesthetical; the cause of righteousness must be holy; the cause of justice must be just; the cause of love must be loving; the cause of life must be living. Our world give evidence that there must be a God who is the cause of all those qualities.
We also looked at the nature of God. This is where we examined more closely what the Bible reveals about the Person of God. We said that there are two ways to look at this: according to man and according to the Bible. When you look at it according to man, you come up when man created God in his own image. But when you look at the Bible, you see something entirely different. The Bible reveals that God is a Person, who is described by personal titles, personal pronouns, and personal characteristics. It also reveals that God is a Spirit which refers to Him as being immaterial. Charles Hodge says “in revealing...that God is Spirit, the Bible reveals to us that no attribute of matter can be predicated of the divine essence” (Systematic Theology, 138-9).
We further said that God is One and Three. As One, He is the only God. There are no other gods besides Him. As three, He exists as three distinct persons and we saw those distinctions in the Old and New Testmament.
Tonight, we are beginning a study of the attributes of God.
When we refer to the attributes of God, we are referring to the “Virtues, excellencies, and perfections of God” (Tyndale Bible Dictionary). James P. Boyce, in his Abstract of Systematic Theology, says, “The attributes of God are those peculiarities which mark or define the mode of His existence, or which constitute His character. They are not separate nor separable from His essence or nature, and yet are not that essence, but simply have the ground or cause of their existence in it, and are at the same time the peculiarities which constitute the mode and character of His being” (65). In other words, they are the “Inherent characteristics of God revealed in Scripture and..are characteristics equally of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Tyndale Bible Dictionary). The one that we are considering tonight is referred to as His immutability. A.W. Pink says of this attribute: “This is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations” (The Attributes of God). Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the Lord, I do not change.”