Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
Ponte Sant’Angelo was built around 136 AD by emperor Hadrian to span the river Tiber, connecting the center of Rome to Castel Sant’Angelo. Today it still stands as one of the finest bridges in Europe, reliably serving as a footpath for locals, pilgrims, and tourists traveling to and from the eternal city and the Vatican City. It is a gorgeous piece of architecture that has stood the test of time for centuries. No one in his right mind would dare to replace it with a shiny steel suspension bridge with automated moving walkways. Thankfully, like most of Rome, the bridge is preserved by the laws governing UNESCO World Heritage sites.
But not everything is protected from change. It happens every time to everyone everywhere. In this fast-paced society, change occurs abruptly. Just when you’re getting used to a technology, a newer device enters the market. Even the most reliable things (or people) around us could change. I’m sure all of us have changed our minds about something at some point. Our tastes and preferences likewise vary over time. I don’t mean change is all bad (oh there are tons of changes I’m personally thankful for), but neither is it all good.
It should give us great comfort to understand that one of the attributes of God that makes Him different from us is his immutability. Jen Wilkin, author of the book None Like Him, calls this “his infinite sameness.” Unlike us created beings, our Creator never changes. He himself declared For I the Lord, do not change…(Malachi 3:6). We may not often think about this, but nothing provides us with greater stability than the knowledge that the God in charge of the universe is steadfast and unchanging. His mercy towards us today is the same as on the day He sent His only begotten Son to save us from our sin. He is as powerful today as on the day He created the heavens and the earth, or when He raised Jesus from the dead. Scriptures also tell us that our Lord Jesus, the second person of the trinity, is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His perfection is such that nothing and no one can make him less good, less merciful or less just. His immutability is our security. That same relentless love of our Savior that secured our salvation will also pursue our sanctification. Discouragement becomes our baggage when we lose sight of this truth.
That God is unchanging ought to lead us to greater faith in and worship of Him. As Arthur Pink, author of Attributes of God wrote: But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed; His will is stable; His word is sure. Here then is a Rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isa 54:10).
Let us anchor our lives on to Him who is steadfast and unchanging. Because He is everything that He says He is, we can sing with all confidence and certainty “Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, as Thou hast been, Thou forever shalt be…Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
(Great is Thy Faithfulness by Thomas O. Chisholm).