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The One who will never change
AKA: On being a mutant
My life began in prayers uttered in the late 1800s.
Every day my great-great-grandmother fell to her knees, day-to-day her petitions would differ, aside from this, that God would endure in faithfulness to her family and that each member would be saved, both those present and those to come.
I know that I have no right to be where I am today.
Though my foundation is now upon the rock of ages, the rocks I grew up surrounded by were the kind on which nothing can grow. By every earthly measure, I should still be there. Thankfully, we have an unchanging God and his faithfulness and enduring capacity for reconciliation is eternal, both between himself and I, but also within my own family.
Together with my foremother I am able to pray: “You are the same, and your years will never end. Your servants’ children will dwell securely, and their offspring will be established before you.” (Psalm 102:27–28)
Echoing in these verses I hear Moses before the burning bush, asking after the name of the Lord. The response: “I AM.”
This seemingly simple statement enraptures my imagination, for it confines to a single breath a truth existent before anything else was breathed into existence.
Never-changing, never-ceasing, neither now, nor ever.
This aspect of God’s nature is called his immutability—a particularly forgettable word which I’m hoping I can impress onto your memory. I want you to think of yourself as a mutant, just not the uncanny kind you find in X-men comics. Just like everything else around you all the way out past the scope of world-class telescopes and beyond, everything is changing, always has been, and always will. This is called mutability, every created thing is a mutant.
Between zero and infinity reside a frankly unreasonable number of finite, but impossibly large numbers our minds simply cannot understand, but we’ve taken the road out of infinity, and off into eternity. If the human brain struggles to comprehend anything up to and including infinity, no wonder humanity has struggled to wrestle with this element of his otherness. It’s been the basis of innumerable heresies throughout the ages, but more importantly, each of us has, at times, called it into question ourselves.
“The sun always remains of the same hue, and is not discoloured in itself,
because it shines green through a green glass,
and blue through a blue glass; the different colours come from the glass, not from the sun.
The change is always in the disposition of the creature, not in the nature of God”
With the warmth of God’s love upon us, you’d think we’d have no occasion to doubt his faithfulness, patience, and steadfastness. Unfortunately, this is not so. At times we are reluctant in repentance, trust in our own strength, and question his judgement and teaching.
We, through coloured glass, view the rays in a different light, we see what we want to see, or instead what we fear we might see. As Charnock noted, this isn’t because the Lord is changeable, but because we are. Our own mutability leads us to view everything through the lens of creation.
Judges, foundations, refuges, these earthly examples typify aspects of his nature and there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, it’s encouraged and expounded upon in scripture.
We go too far though when our minds measure him up against the worst versions of those illustrations. Bribed judges, sinkholes, and ruins, these can maim our view of God.
“There is no one who does good, not even one,” is undoubtedly true, with one glorious exception. As it is written:
“God is not a man, that he might lie,
or a son of man, that he might change his mind.
Does he speak and not act,
or promise and not fulfil?”
What God has made true will never be made untrue. A reality we don’t deserve. Sin beyond measure covered up by boundless grace now and forevermore. “We must firmly believe … that our faith is founded on the eternal and unchangeable truth of Christ” (Calvin). His immutability and it’s importance for our eternal security simply cannot be overstated because by it we can trust that Jesus’ words on the cross, “it is finished,” is true even for us.
Let us pray then for faith like the woman pleading for the salvation of heirs unknown to her. Thank you Lord that my life was not only fought for in prayer over a century before my birth, but won millennia before that by my Saviour Jesus Christ, by the great I AM who was there before any other thing was created.
Moving - An Update
Life doesn’t stop moving and seemingly, neither do I. In fact, the other day my Nanna mentioned that she doesn’t use pen for my address in her little book because a pencil is easier to change. In ten years I’ve moved probably twice that many times and during my teenage years I slept on more sofas and spare beds than I can remember.
This next year will be no different, Anna and I are moving to a new place next month and then at least once more time before the next 12 months are up. Prayers would be really appreciated as we’re going through the arduous process of closing down a business, getting rid of stock, and also as many of our possessions as we can bear to part with. We really feel like God is pruning us not only of our possessions but also spiritually preparing us by chipping off more than just our rough edges.
For now, I hope you all have a wonderful week and I’ll see you again next Sunday!
Grace and Peace,
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