Friday, April 22, 2016

Embracing Change


Your company isn’t doing well financially and is laying off employees. You may be next. Your husband is unhappy at work and comes home angry, impatient and irritable. You’ve just had a biopsy for a suspicious lump, and you’re awaiting test. These are times when we can think of God’s attributes or characteristics.

 

When life brings changes, we need God—the Rock of Ages—who does not alter. God’s changeless nature is one of the several attributes scholars have identified in the Bible. Theologians distinguish about sixteen different qualities or attributes of God. These characteristics help us get a picture of God.

 

A boy was talking to his pastor and drawing on a piece of paper. The pastor said, “Son, what are you doing?” The boy said, “I’m drawing a picture.” The pastor asked, “What is the picture of?” The boy replied, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” The pastor said, “But we don’t know what God looks like.” The boy said, “Just hang on a minute and you will when I get finished.”

 

God’s Attributes[1]

Mercy—God is merciful.

Grace—God blesses in ways that we do not deserve.         

Goodness—God is good, abounding in grace and truth.     

Eternality—The Triune God existed in eternity past and will into eternity future. 

Omnipotence—God is all-powerful. He is unlimited in his power to accomplish his will.

Omniscience—God is all-knowing. He knows everything and cannot learn anything.

Omnipresence—God is ever-present. He is everywhere.

Self-Existence—God does not need anyone or anything.

Sovereignty—God is in complete control.

Holiness—God is morally pure and separate from Creation.

Righteousness—All that God does is right and holy.

Justice—God is the ultimate, perfect judge over all of the Creation.

Immanence—God is near to us and works in the minutia of life, in the smallest details.               

Transcendence—God is separate from us and is incomparable, beyond our ability to describe.    

Love—God loves his Creation and loves infinitely better than his Creation.                                   

Immutability—God is in control, all-wise, and complete; he does not change.

 

The last one on this list is immutability. Our infinite God is so perfect in his righteousness, justice, wisdom, love, etc., that he does not need to improve! God will need a refresher course or learn anything new. God will never love you more perfectly than he does right now. He will never act with more justice. God is the standard! God has no need to change. He is immutable.

 

Malachi 3:6 — "For I am the Lord, I do not change."

 

James 1:17 — Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

 

Of all of the characteristics of God, this is one of the most comforting for me. The fact that God is not going to change his mind about loving us, his character, his plan, or anything else about himself gives me the security to go out and face life with courage! God will not adopt you into his family and then send you packing when you fail. God has chosen us and will not change his mind and let us fall into hell. God never changes his mind.

 

When we don’t trust in God as we should, we begin to cling to traditions, the past, and other things. We are afraid of change. We see it in the church. People resist changes in church like music, programs, Bible study groups, schedules, etc., even though an update would improve things. With changes in our career or family, we believe that church should never change.

 

If you do not like change, I feel your pain! Just ask my wife about my responses when things get moved around the house. Ask her about how I deal with changes in family schedules. Ask her how I feel about buying new clothes. I don’t cope very well with change sometimes!

 

Things will change. If you are not changing, you are dying! What we need to remember is God does not change!

 

Truths for a Changing World

 

1. We can trust an unchanging God with an eternal plan.

 

Are you faced with unexpected change? I am sure many of us are. Our world is changing quickly, but our personal circumstances change all the time too. Change unsettles us. We’re often frustrated and frightened when the people and things we rely on are no longer what they were.

 

We can always rely on God. No matter how difficult our circumstances, no matter how uncertain everything may be, God is eternal. God made everything according to his plan. He established the world. He made you. Only God is eternal and unchanging. He does not change his covenant promises.

 

Psalm 102:25-26 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away.

 

The old belief, centuries ago, was that the sun revolved around the earth. As we now know, this was totally wrong. The earth revolves around the sun. In the same way, God doesn’t revolve around us. We revolve around him. We have to change our way of thinking. God is the eternal center of our lives. He never changes. He is stationary. God will remain while all else changes.

 

Acts 17:28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

 

The sun is shining twenty-four hours per day, all week long. The sun shines all year long. The sun has been shining for years and years. Darkness comes to the earth even though the sun never stops shining. Night happens because the earth spins on its axis. The dark side faces away from the sun.

 

If there is darkness in your life, it is not because God has turned away from you. God has not changed. There is no darkness or shadow in God. He is faithful and never changes. Like the sun, God is always shining. We need to make sure we are facing him.

 

God’s plan, according to the Scripture, is that his purpose with this world will be complete; he will create a new heaven and a new earth. All of this is a part of God’s plan. This means that everything that is material, all that people cherish and value, every business and company, every work of art, will perish.

 

2. Our unchanging God is our place of safety in our changing world.

Moses, the one God used to deliver Israel out of slavery in Egypt, understood the changelessness of God. Moses had moved around a lot in his life. He lived in Egypt. Moses wandered in the wilderness. He went all the way to the edge of the Promised Land. In all of Moses’ moving, he knew that his home was in God.

Psalm 90:1-4 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,

    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You return man to dust
    and say, “Return, O children of man!”
For a thousand years in your sight
    are but as yesterday when it is past,
    or as a watch in the night.

What is a dwelling place? It is where you live, your home. God is our dwelling place. This is a reassuring statement! I have moved many times in my life. I have had several addresses. However, from heaven’s perspective, my address has not changed since the moment I became a believer in Jesus Christ, my address is with God.

 

We need places to keep us from rain and snow, heat and cold.  We need a place to rest, to eat, to feel safe. We need homes. But just as a person needs a physical dwelling place, so he also needs a spiritual dwelling place. We need an abiding place for the soul, for our spiritual life. 

 

Where are you living these days?

 

Knowing God is more than knowing about him.

You may have discovered a lot about God today. Sports fans know a lot about players and coaches—people they have never even met. They can recall details and statistics about games that happened a long time ago. In the same way, gossips read posts about public figures and know the dirt on who is hanging out with who and who dumped who. Pop culture junkies watch the latest movie trailers and download the latest music. The celebrities have no idea who these fans are.

 

A Christian can come to church or small group for years and only know about God. They may know the details of God and what happens at church. Real knowledge of God requires a two-way conversation. Many people say they want to know God, but they are stuck knowing about him.

 

I want you to know God today. God has revealed himself through Jesus Christ his Son.

 

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

 






[1] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/attributes.cfm (Retrieved on April 12, 2016).