It is barely an exaggeration to say that each successive day brings new changes to our country. And as these changes are largely being implemented by force and fiat, bypassing even the pretense of civil discourse and legislation, these changes have come quickly to our front doors.
As Christians in America, we find ourselves increasingly out of favor as we go along our way. The hope of praying for our leaders and seeking to live a godly life in quiet and peace (1 Timothy 2:2) seems to be vanishing. What is more, we have reached a new place in our land where we who dare stand for God’s ways as expressed in His word are opposed.
For 5 months now as we’ve worked our way through the Book of Revelation on Sunday mornings at Uptown, we have been reminded again and again that, from one perspective, this is nothing new. Christians have consistently found themselves maligned and opposed down through the ages. As an example, the Puritans (my heroes in the faith), rarely knew times of peace in their lives. Setback after setback appeared in their desire to see their native lands conformed to and shaped by the Reformed faith. And yet, through it all, they heeded the call of God to endure in obedience and faith (Revelation 14:12).
How did they do this? More to the point, how does the Bible encourage us as His people to persevere, and even rejoice, in times like this?
We persevere and rejoice in sufferings and trials by finding our bearings in the character of God. Over and over and over again, the people of God are told in times of testing to trust in the Lord. For instance, in Psalm 9:9-10, David writes: “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
As I have considered this over the last few days, one particular aspect of God’s character has stood out: God’s immutability (unchanging nature).
In a time of change, where we as a culture seem to be in the name of freedom electing self-destruction, isn’t it a heartening thought that there is One who, from eternity past to the present, is unchanged? And in the coming days and ages, will ever be the same?
God would have us know that because He is unchanging, we His people whom He has covenanted with are secure. Why? Because God is unchanging in His person, in His purposes, and in His promises. (I’m indebted here to Charles Spurgeon for the structure of my thoughts).
He is unchanging in His person:
For I the Lord do not change; therefore, you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:8)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
He is unchanging in His purposes:
Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass…(Isaiah 37:26)
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. (Hebrews 6:18)
He is unchanging in His promises:
Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. (1 Kings 8:56)
For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus]. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
Brothers and sisters, take heart in God’s unchangingness! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the fulfillment of all God’s unchanging purposes in redeeming a people for Himself and is the obtainer of all the unchangeable promises God has made to His covenant people. As we fix our eyes on Jesus and are united to Him by faith, we will be at peace and overcome the world, because He already has:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation but fear not, for I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Author: Elder Tom Queen