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Pointers along the way #403

The unchanging God
- Jacob Ninan

It is one of the strongest anchors of our faith that God is forever unchanging (Mal.3:6;1Sa.15:29). His love does not cease (Je.31:3), and His mercy endures forever (Ps.118:1). His word will be true and valid for all time (Mt.24:35). His plans will all be accomplished in their time (Je.30:24). Jesus Himself is the same yesterday, today and forever (He.13:8). These are the truths that give us an assurance in the times of testing and give us strength to endure and continue (Ps.119:49,50).

God as a Person and His character never change. At the same time it does not mean that God will not change the way He works, or that He will not do new things in future! There is comfort in knowing that what He has done for others He can do for us. It indicates to us His heart. But to expect that He must do for us what He has done for others or in the same way will be unrealistic. We would then be trying to keep God within a familiar box and insist He stays there! In other words we are defining God as one who has been fully described in a small book, the Bible, and who can do only things that have already been done! That is blasphemous because it does not describe God in His infinity. But it is trying to reduce His glory by assuming that He is rigid and unable to come out with new ideas and ways according to the need of the time. Jesus is the same Person, with the same unchanging character, but He does new and wonderful things (Re.21:5).

We make another big mistake when we confuse between what God can do and what He will do at any time. What He will do depends on His sovereign choice. Once we know God as one who can do anything, it is not difficult to believe that He can do what we would like Him to do for us in any situation. But just because we have faith that He can doesn't mean we have faith that He will. Then when He doesn't, we shouldn't get upset with Him.

It is perfectly alright to ask God for anything we wish because He is our Father. He is also a good Father and He delights to give us what we need (Lk.11:13). But it is not right to expect or demand that He should do something just because we asked, unless it is something He has clearly promised in His word or He has spoken to us in our heart through the Holy Spirit (Ro.10:17;Ac.13:2). Otherwise we can only pray and wait in hope.

How God dealt with the people of Israel under the old covenant is not the same way He deals with us now under the new covenant. He is the same God, but He meets with believers in the new covenant in a different way. This is something we must keep in mind especially as we read the Old Testament, to see how things are applicable now under the new covenant. The forms and the laws relating to external behaviour have given way to an emphasis on our inner life and our personal relationship with God. It is the renewal of our mind and heart and the consequent transformation that are important rather than our external comfort.


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