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Wednesday, October 19, 2016
The Immutable Word – 19 October 2016, Anno Domini
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Heb 13:8)
6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Mal 3:6)
19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Num 23:19)
The one quality that distinguishes a worthy friend is that of ‘unchangeableness.’ A friend who equivocates, or demurs in commitment, is not such a friend after all. We describe such friends with the diminutive expression – fair weather friends. The Prodigal Son had many such friends in the Far Country to which he wandered out of his father’s oversight; but when his money was flown away, so were those fair weather friends. My father used to tell me that if a man was able to possess only one truly good friend over a lifetime, he would be blessed indeed. Of course, five or six such friends would be a blessing beyond measure of common arithmetic. It is inspiring to know that every true-born Christian believer does indeed have a friend that is true hearted, unchanging, and sticks closer than a brother in the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Prov 18:24) It is true that our Lord Jesus Christ has shown Himself more friendly toward us than any brother, mother, or father could do in dying for our redemption at Calvary’s Mount. He is a friend beyond the measure of a brother. He was one to whom sin was a total revulsion; yet, He took our sins upon Himself in complete humiliation on the cross. He made a promise which He can never abrogate – 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (John 6:47)
It is a comfort to know our Lord Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end! I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: (Rev 1:11) He created all that we see and know yesterday. (see John 1:1-3) All things today consist and exist by the power of His Word: 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Heb 1:3) And tomorrow, He shall make all things new – the same Hand that made all things from the beginning: 5 Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Rev 21:5-7) He will renew His glorious Creation that has been marred by man’s sin. How marvelous a privilege and a grace!
The beginning never changes, nor will the end. But we mortal humans in between on that spectrum do change with the fickle disposition of a teen-age girl. God is molding our lives and drawing us back to that musical score between Alpha and Omega that brings melody and harmony to His favored Creation. He has written a beautiful symphony into His Creation model which He has placed at the disposal of all who love Divine Music – the Holy Bible.
As long as all of His believing choristers sing from the same sheet of Music, the Church is in harmony. But when the notes are skipped, sung with levity, or carelessly followed, the result is an uncertain sound. In castigating the Corinthians for their misapplication of the term ‘tongues, or languages,’ Paul said: 8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? 9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. (1 Cor 14:7-11)
The following is related by Britain’s Lloyd Douglas. Once when he called on his old violin teacher, he asked, What is the good news today? The old man went over to a tuning fork that was suspended by a cord and struck it. That, my friend is an ‘A’! he said. It was an ‘A’ yesterday. It is an ‘A’ today. It will be an ‘A’ tomorrow, next week, and for a thousand thousand years. The soprano upstairs warbles off key. The tenor next door flats his high notes. The piano across the hall is out of tune. There is discord and disharmony all around me. But that, my friend, is an ‘A.’ And for me, that is good news every day.
Well, our Lord Jesus Christ is an ‘A’ yesterday, today, and forever. Thanks be to God, we can depend on that! It is shocking to the rational mind that any would not desire, above all else, to be a subject of that sovereign Lord. I saw a modern work in a book store last weekend which was entitled, Heaven is the Reason. Well, that may sound proper to the shallow minded, but it has no place in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Christian is not calculating on the rewards he receives, but rather on the privileges he enjoys, in Christ. If there were no Heaven or Hell, would the committed Christian not yet be dedicated to serving His Lord? I think so.
My favorite Anglican cleric, Bishop J.C. Ryle has said: Of all the doctrines of the Bible, none is so offensive to human nature as the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. Neither Heaven appeals as greatly, nor Hell repels as forcefully, as this one doctrine.
We may classify the unchangeable nature of God by understanding the words of Augustine of Hippo: He truly is, because He is unchangeable. This is far greater wisdom expressed than many might first recognize. Time itself is measured in change or movement. But God claims a special nature: I AM THAT I AM! God is the Eternal Present!
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17) The globe of the earth turns, and the shadow of night follows the trailing day; but there is no such shadow of turning with God.
25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: 27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. (Psalms 102:25-27)
One last point for thought: God created no soul that will ever suffer extinction. Each will live on in eternity – someplace. The salient point raised by this truth is simply, Where shall our souls spend eternity – in Heaven or in the outer darkness of Hell?
Two profound passages of Scripture may satisfy your needs in the matter: 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-11)
and, 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (2 Tim 2:15-16)