Coronavirus and God’s Immutability
God is living and He’s active. Not only is He living and active, but He carries within Himself a nature and being that uniquely buoys the Christian community in times of uncertainty. As Christians we remain steadfast in the midst of real or perceived calamity because we are held by the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit. When I say, “be the people of God” what I mean is that we are steady in uncertainty and we live without fear. Even when things are difficult, we must live with trust and fight for joy.
What makes His steadfastness our steadfastness? The answer, for the Christian, is knowledge of God or the doctrines of God. Who God is and what God does, (remember!) anchors the soul in times of uncertainty AND it gives witness to those outside the faith.
Last week, I piggy-backed on the Puritan, George Swinnock (1626–1673), and highlighted that God’s words are His works because of their (1) manner, (2) matter, and (3) effectiveness.
This week, we’ll backpedal a bit and answer a more fundamental question: What makes God trustworthy? What makes us believe the manner, matter, and effectiveness of His words?
Is it your faith? Well, not exactly. Faith binds you to the promises of God. Yet, God’s inherent trustworthiness isn’t contingent upon your faith, because your faith is a received faith. You do not add anything to God by submitting to His promises and believing them by faith. In other words, God isn’t trustworthy because a bunch of people believe in Him. Humans do not validate God. Faith is a gift that comes from the heavenly Father, through the Son, by the Spirit. God has the quality of trustworthiness independent from creation.
If it’s not your faith that makes God trustworthy, then what does? The answers are legion, but we’ll begin with what I see as the most foundational of all God’s qualities – His immutability. In part, what makes God trustworthy is that He is immutable. That’s a five-dollar way of saying God is unchangeable.
For example, have you ever thought about how much God is referred to as a “rock” in Scripture? The Old Testament first introduces us to this reference. In particular, the Psalms are replete with references to God as the Rock. The Psalms are rich in literary beauty and have a particular way of connecting with our emotions. In the Psalms, God as the Rock is often utilized as a source of literary comfort. Why? Because, in some ways, the various writers are dealing with human uncertainty over-and-against God’s unchangeableness (immutability). The various writers of these Psalms are dealing, in part, with the immutability of God through picture language. A picture language that helps us make sense of what we know about God and how it applies to our lives.
So, here’s the bottom line: God’s unchanging nature (immutability) = consistency with His promises (i.e. His words) = trustworthiness
More plainly: God is unchanging (our Rock) and good on His word therefore we should trust him.
If you are experiencing uncertainty this week—with your job, health, 401k, etc.—walk toward the only thing that’s certain—God. He never changes. He’s never been inconsistent, and He’s dealt with a ton of inconsistent and uncertain people, events, and circumstances. Think about the history of the world and how much chaos He’s overseen. Can you imagine overseeing the billions of people and their mass of complicated circumstances since the beginning of the world? And, YET the patriarch of prophets, Isaiah, tells us that the whole of the nations and their history are but a “drop from a bucket” to God and like “dust on the scales” to Him (Isa 40:15).
One of my favorite hymns, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” was penned by the celebrated Reformer Martin Luther. One particular verse in the hymn has registered with me for years now. Luther wrote, “We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.” Stop right now and think about what Luther is saying. God wants to make himself known by His truth overcoming challenges through us. In other words, God uses His people to reveal His truth, particularly during times of fear and uncertainty. We will not be “undone” by any issue or crisis because of who God is and what He does. You see, the doctrines of God, they anchor your soul during uncertainty...
This is a remarkable truth that you should reflect upon this week. Remain steadfast my friends and let His truth triumph through you. It’s His will because we are held by the immutable God who is consistent and trustworthy.
For some examples, see 2 Samuel 2:23, Isaiah 44:8, Isaiah 26:4, Deuteronomy 32:31&37, Habakkuk 1:12, and 1 Samuel 2:2.
See Psalm 18:31, 144:1, 92:15, 62:7, 28:1, 31:1-3, 61:2, 71:3, 78:35, and 42:9 as examples.
Don’t forget what the old-dead-guy from last week, George Swinnock, taught us!