I simply cannot stand change, but it’s all around me.
MARCH 15, 2023
I simply cannot stand change, but it’s all around me. Let’s talk about it, on this edition of Key Life.
This is Key Life. We are here to communicate the freeing truth that God’s not mad at his children. Steve invited our friend Pete Alwinson to teach us all this week. Pete is a former pastor, founder of ForgeTruth.com, and the author of Like Father Like Son.
Thank you Matthew. It’s good to be with you this week. My name is Pete Alwinson and I’m sitting in for Steve Brown and I’m glad to be with you guys. You are an awesome listener group. I tell you, you’re a wonderful family. You get grace. You are growing and you’re so generous. Thank you for your gifts to Key Life. And your generosity to us. Thank you for keeping us on mission and for touching so many lives through this ministry. Well, today we continue our series Experiencing Awesome: Enjoying God, Transformed by His Greatness. And we’re looking at the perfections of God. We’re looking at the nature of God or of the attributes of God or the essence of God. And you know, Steve often talks about how the fact that he hates change, he likes consistency, he likes things to always be the same, and he hates change. To some extent, I really get that. And yet change is all around us. It is everywhere. And there’s always instances in our lives where we see that there are people around us who need to change. One of my favorite stories is of General Patton in World War II. He was dining one night with the press corps in Africa, and wine was served in canteen cups and thinking he was being served coffee, he put cream and sugar and stirred it, he put it in his wine. And somebody mentioned to him, General, there’s wine in that cup. And he goes, I know, I know. I like my wine this way. I like, I like that story because it illustrates the ego General Patton and that ego had to go and it got him in trouble. I mean, there are so many areas of our life where we simply do need to change, but there’s one person that we don’t want to change, and that is God himself. We should never want a God who is changeable toward us, and we see that the immutability of God, the unchangeableness of God, is one of his core attributes that really brings us joy and helps us to transform and grow as well. Philippians 3, verse 8, says this.
I count all things to be lost in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For whom I’ve suffered the loss of all things and count them, but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in him having a righteousness not of my own, but that which is derived from, not from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.
And then he says this.
That I may know him.
Knowing him changes everything in the world. And we do need to change, but we don’t want a God who does change. You know, the world around us is changing so much. The other day I heard of a young guy that I know that’s significantly younger than me, and he just died. He just died. A friend called me up and I said, what happened? And he goes, Well, he was following Jesus for a long time, but it seems like he got back on the drinking and I mean, two bottles of wine will do that to you. Two bottles a day will kill you. And there’s so much that changes, but God in his being around us does not change. In Exodus 3, Moses said to God.
If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you. And they asked, what is his name? What shall I say? And God said to Moses, tell them I am who I am. I am who I am has sent you.
Now, this has so many elements in it to help us understand God, that he’s self existent, that he’s omnipresent, that he’s omnipotent. But the reality is because of all of who he is, he inevitably cannot change and does not change. One thinker put it this way, God cannot change for the better, for he is already perfect. And being perfect, he cannot change for the worse. And that’s so important. While we are works in progress, God is never a work in progress. God is never evolving, that’s open theism, that’s heresy. We don’t believe that. God’s character simply doesn’t change either. His being doesn’t change. But secondly, it’s important to understand and this is how we live out every day of our life, living in light of the character of God. If his being doesn’t change, then his character can’t change either. Malachi 3:6 says
For I the Lord, do not change. Therefore, you O Israel are not consumed.
Because God doesn’t change in his character toward us, he is always faithful. He is always true to his word as we’ll talk about it in a minute, and that’s a great benefit to us. And so, let me ask you a philosophical question. Is there anything God can’t do? Hmm. We used to deal with this in Philosophy 101. Well, of course the answer is yes. God cannot do anything inconsistency, that is inconsistent with his character. And that means he can’t change and he won’t change in his character toward you or me. Steve Brown told one time in his newsletter about a businessman interviewing applicants, and the guy asked each of them a simple question, what is two plus two? And he got a variety of answers. Someone said, I don’t know, but I’m glad for the opportunity to discuss the issue. Another said, well, as he pulled out a smartphone and did the calculation somewhere between 3.000 and 4.0001. A lawyer referenced case law where two plus two proved to to be four. And the final applicant, an accountant got up from his chair, closed the door, and the blind sat back down, leaned over to the desk and whispered, how much do you want it to be. That was the guy, who got the job. Well, some people’s character needs to be flexible for those employers that are very flexible in their character, but God is never flexible in his character. He is true to who he is and he calls us to be true to who he is as well, and as we live before him. It’s important to understand that he will never change in his essence, in his character, he can’t go from bad to worse, and he will never, ever, ever change in his Word. And so, in Psalm 33:11 it says.
The council of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generation. The word of God never changes, his counsel never changes, his wisdom is always wise and can be depended upon.
And God is doing some things in these days that we simply don’t understand. He doesn’t ask my opinion any more than he asked Abraham for his opinion. And so, there’s so many things that we don’t know about, but we know that God’s promises stand no matter how changing is the culture. Numbers 23:19
God is not a man that he should lie, or a Son of Man that he should change his mind.
Now, you say, wait a minute. In the Old Testament, there’s a time where it says that God repented that he made man, or that he did this or did that. Yes, God doesn’t change in his being, in his promises, or his word, but he does interact differently as men move and change in situation after situation. God is not as one theologian put it, God is not immobile. And so, God does work in different ways, in different situations, but you can trust him and that’s a great benefit. And so, when we think about the immutability of God, and my challenge for you is to do some thinking about the reality that God will never change toward you in Christ, in His word, in his promises. Know that you have someone to trust. Catch this, the most rational thing you can do in the face of a world that’s falling apart around you is to trust the promises of your God who has revealed his immutable promises in the Word. Who wrote it, God wrote it. And you can trust everything he says. I love it, when we expect so much from people, you know, we get upset. We get angry, but what we should really do is trust the God who will never change. Expect people to change, but expect that God will never, ever change. And then understand that the gospel never changes, and so your identity and your destiny will never change. I don’t care what people say about you or what you say about yourself. Louie Giglio put it this way.
My opinion of me should be growing out of God’s opinion of me. And God’s opinion of me is that I’m the deeply beloved redeemed son of the most high God because of the work of Christ. Feel the joy of God’s unchangeable nature toward you and let him change you because as you reflect and focus upon the sovereignty of God, the omnipresence of God, the unchangeableness of God, there is joy that comes from the subtleness that brings. And then you can trust his promises to take care of you every day.
God will never change. You take that to heart. Amen.
Pete does not like change. Hey, same here brother. That was our friend Pete Alwinson sharing the good news that our God is not only omnipresent and omnipotent, he also never changes. One more day with Pete tomorrow. Do not miss that. Hey, by the way, thank you for visiting us at keylife.org. We really work hard to keep the website fresh with new content and new features, and I’d love to tell you about some of those. If you go to keylife.org/biblereading you’ll find a very cool project. It’s Steve reading entire books of the Bible. In fact, we just recently went live with the entire Gospel of John. Bam! Also be sure to check out keylife.org/simplysermons that’s our latest podcast and it features digitally remastered full link sermons from Steve. Oh, and if you’re looking for a new read, be sure to stop by keylife.org/store you’ll find Steve’s newest book there, Laughter and Lament, plus a whole bunch of other good stuff. And of course, all of these features are free. Thanks to the generous support of listeners just like you. If you’d like to donate, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. If you’d like to send your donation by mail go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Or e-mail [email protected]. You can charge a gift on your credit card. You can include a gift in your envelope. And of course now you can give by text by texting Key Life to 28950 and then following the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.