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Eternal and Immutable

Eternal and Immutable
Eternal and Immutable

An Eternal And Immutable God

Eternal and ImmutableI gave a sermon back in June of 2013 on 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 entitled “All Things To All Men”  (listen here) and related the fraternity life of my college days to the kind of fraternal order or brotherhood that the Apostle Paul sought to have with believers from all walks of life, as he built up others in the faith in what looks like concentric spheres of influence moving outward from himself to reach all men for the Gospel of Jesus. Here recently, I have been watching a Ken Burns PBS program series on the Civil War and it reminded me a lot of the fraternity that I was a part of, which was founded back when the Civil War had reached its climax. And so I thought that I might share today as a part of my own devotional time with the LORD a glimpse into this fraternity life by examining the Creed of Alpha Tau Omega.

The Creed of Alpha Tau Omega

To bind men together in a brotherhood based upon eternal and immutable principles, with a bond as strong as right itself and as lasting as humanity; to know no North, no South, no East, no West, but to know man as man, to teach that true men the world over should stand together and contend for supremacy of good over evil; to teach, not politics, but morals; to foster, not partisanship, but the recognition of true merit wherever found; to have no narrower limits within which to work together for the elevation of man than the outlines of the world: these were the thoughts and hopes uppermost in the minds of the founders of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

Otis Allan Glazebrook

1880

When I read the creed for the first time I knew it was a Christian fraternity because of two words contained in the first line of the creed itself: eternal and immutable. And so today I want to develop that thought a little and examine the Scriptures with you to see what the Word says about these two attributes of God. To begin, let’s examine the concordance to see what the Bible has with regards to these terms. You can use a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the concordance in the back of your Bible, or the one that I am quite fond of can be found on BlueLetterBible.com.

And so beginning with the word, “eternal” I did a search that resulted in over 50 hits. Over 50 verses in the Bible containing the word, “eternal” and so I narrowed down the scope of my search to find only those verses which dealt with eternality as an attribute of God’s character. My refined search produced the following results although in this context the word is actually used in the Bible 17 times:

[Deut 33:27 KJV]
The eternal God [is thy] refuge, and underneath [are] the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy [them].

[Rom 1:20 KJV]
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

[1Ti 1:17 KJV]
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

[Hebrews 9:14 KJV]
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The word,”Eternal” transliterated from the Hebrew to read “Qedem” has that same meaning that we might expect. Yet when we think of the term eternal, we often think of something that is everlasting, that will go on to the end. But what about the origins of something eternal? Well there are none. If something is eternal it has no beginning and no end, and this certainly describes our God! Eternal in the Hebrew implies something that is ancient, old, something without a beginning, but the emphasis on the word in the Hebrew seems to be more centered around location with an allowance for the description for the eternal attribute of God.

We only need to look at the Psalms to see more proof text for the eternality of God, take for example, Psalm 90:1-4

[Psa 90:1 NKJV]
A Prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

[Psa 90:2 NKJV]
Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You [are] God.

[Psa 90:3 NKJV]
You turn man to destruction, And say, “Return, O children of men.”

[Psa 90:4 NKJV]
For a thousand years in Your sight [Are] like yesterday when it is past, And [like] a watch in the night.

And what I find interesting is that from our perspective we could easily imagine how that over the course of so much time we could learn so much and become infinately more wise than anyone who ever walked on the earth. But we cannot apply that reasoning with God. God cannot learn. He is omniscient, which means that He is all knowing. And since He is all knowing with no beginning and end we can only reason that He has always been all knowing. That is what I find to be one of the most incredible things about my LORD. The fact that He has always been, and in being He has always known everything. It makes my little problems seem infinately smaller. God is in control of every detail no matter how small.

God is also immutable. This word means “unchanging”, and while I only found one use of the Word in the New King James version of the Bible in Hebrews 6:18, there are other synomyms for the word to help us develop the thought better, and we can use this technique to search for relevant passages on any study that we do.

For example the idea behind God being immutable or unchanging is that He is consistent.

[Hebrews 13:8 NKJV]
Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, today, and forever.

[Mal 3:6 NKJV]
“For I [am] the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

and again in

[Jam 1:17 NKJV]
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

The point is that God does not change. He is the the same God that has been in existence forever. I believe the LORD Himself summed up His eternal and immutable qualities by stating simply, “I AM.”

Application

So then. How do apply what we learned today about the attributes of God: eternality and immutability?

Well, since God has existed forever and is unchanging and benevolent towards His children, it is safe to say that we can trust Him more than anyone. And if we trust Him, then we must conceed that His Word (to which He places more honor upon than His name: Psalm 138:2) is trustworthy, and if trustworthy, dependible for our edification and training (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  And so, we can trust the LORD. Are there areas of your life where you trust the LORD? Are there areas of your life where you don’t feel the LORD can reach you? Are there areas in your life that you are ashamed to present to the LORD?

Listen, the Bible is clear about who does the work in our lives (Philippians 1:6). And since God is eternal and immutable it is safe to say that He is omniscient (all knowing too). You cannot hide anything from Him. And so it would be better that you offer the things or areas of your life to Him to deal with on your behalf. God honors our humility before Him. But whether you humble yourself and offer up your life completely, He still knows everything. It is not like you can surprize God. And so today, if you have anything that has become a hinderance in your life, anything that you have not yet offered up to the LORD, any facet of your being that you have not surrendered; give it to God now and watch Him do a mighty work in your life as He conforms you to the image of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord, that You would use this study today to help me and others understand who You are in a profound new way. We know that You hold us in the span of your hand. Our universe is infinitesimally smaller than you (if we could even compare) and in that span is a galaxy much smaller, and in that galaxy is a planet, and on that planet is a continent, and in the coninent is a state, which holds a city, in which there is a neighborhood, that has a house. And in that house sits your servant who you love and number the hairs on his head. Thank You Lord! You are the “Great I AM!” I love you and praise You Lord. I praise You for all that You are and all that You have done in my life and the lives of those I love. I praise You because You alone are praiseworthy. Thank You Jesus for being. It is in Your Name I pray.

-Amen

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