For I, the LORD, do not change.
-- Malachi 3:6
Yes God, God don't never change!
He's God, always will be God.
-- Blind Willie Johnson
The Lord our God is ... immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will.
-- The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
No longer do I need a comb, hairdryer, or shampoo, although I still use the latter out of habit. It takes four eyes for me to see rather than two. With them I watch television, most of the time with the aid of closed captioning. When I buy clothes, the numbers on my waist size and pant length have switched places with each other. It's not all bad, though, because I'm rich now, sort of. I've got gold in my teeth, silver in my hair, and gas in my stomach.
The world has changed.
We get nowhere faster. We have a million ways to connect but we are more aloof and alone. People used to curse at you, maybe flip you the bird if you accidentally pulled in front of them, but now they shoot at you, with a gun. Instead of a small percentage of kids coming into the world without a mom and dad who are married to one another, it is a small percentage who do. Crime rates are up. Test scores are down. Church attendance has plummeted. I've seen the world change dramatically in my lifetime, and it's not for the better.
The church has changed.
We have pastors who neither preach nor even believe in the necessity and exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have Protestants who do not believe in the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the very thing for which the Reformation stood. We have a current Catholic Pope who is trying to turn the world's most historic church into modern-day Universalist Unitarians. We have stages with light shows and loud music, some even with smoke machines, instead of humble chapels filled with congregants committed to the simple beauty and truth of word and sacrament. The church has changed so much, I don't recognize much of the church as the church anymore.
God has not changed.
If He said it was wrong then, it's wrong now. If He said it was the right thing to do way back when, then we ought to be doing it right here and now. If it was sin a generation or two ago, He would still call it a sin today. If the only way to be saved was by grace through faith in Him, then those who have not received grace and show no faith are not His.
Some change had to happen and not all change is bad. God broadened His outreach from an Old Covenant for one nation to a New Covenant reaching out to all the nations. Certain civil penalties and punishments in that Old are not prescribed in the New. There is no more need for certain sacrifices seen in the Old, for the perfect sacrifice was made at the beginning of the New. The prophets, priests, and kings, have given way to pastors, deacons, and congregations. The tent has been enlarged.
Yet in it all and through it all God has not changed. His high moral standards have not changed. His ultimate design for family, community, civility, and charity have not changed. His spiritual realities and the reality of His Spirit have not changed. His Son is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His grace, mercy, peace, and love will never change.
We change and we need to be changed. But the way to God and the means by which we know Him and worship Him are strikingly similar to what they always have been. That's because God never changes. If He was there for you before, He is right there, right now. If you must change your ways to get back to Him, don't walk, run!
Give praise and glory to our immutable God!
Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church. Call him at 501-525-8339 or email [email protected].