Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tozer on Immutability

This Sunday we will be discussing the Doctrine of Divine Immutability which says that God does not change.  I consider this to be a very important doctrine and is too often neglected by Christians.  I believe that liberalism, at its core, is a rejection of God's immutability.  If God changes, then so does doctrine, truth, and salvation itself.

Nonetheless, I want you to consider what A. W. Tozer had to say on the subject in his book The knowledge of the holy: The attributes of God: their meaning in the Christian life.  Tozer not only provides the Biblical basis for God's immutability but also shows how this doctrine applies to us today. 

First, the doctrine of immutability is centered on God's perfection.  If God is perfect, then He must be immutable.

To say that God is immutable is to say that He never differs from Himself . . . For a moral being to change it would be necessary that the change be in one of three directions.  He must go from better or worse or from worse to better; or, granted that the moral quality remain stable, he must change within himself, as from immature to mature or from one order of being to another.  It should be clear that God can move in none of these directions.  His perfections forever rule out any such possibility . . .  God cannot change for the better . . . Neither can God change for the worse. -55

Tozer is right and the connection cannot be missed.  To change implies either something is not perfect or that it is no longer perfect.  An undefeated, perfect team can only change for the worse.  A winless, imperfect team can only change for the better.  Either way, change implies imperfection.  Therefore, if God is perfect, then He must be immutable.  Perfect is itself immutable.

Regarding the Doctrine of Divine Immutability's practical implications, Tozer wrote:

What peace it brings to the Christian’s heart to realize that our heavenly Father never differs from Himself.  In coming to Him at any time we need not wonder whether we shall find Him n a receptive mood.  He is always receptive to misery and need, as well as to love and faith.  He does not keep office hours nor set aside periods when He will see no one.  Neither does He change His mind about anything.  Today, this moment, He feels toward His creatures, toward babies, toward the sick, the fallen, the sinful, exactly as He did when He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die for mankind.

God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm.  Is attitude toward sin is now the same as it was when He drove out the sinful man from the eastward garden, and His attitude toward the sinner the same as when He stretched forth His hands and cried, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

God will not compromise and He need not be coaxed.  He cannot be persuaded to alter His Word nor talked into answering selfish prayer.  In all our efforts to find God, to please Him, to commune with Him, we should remember that all change must be on our part.  ‘I am the Lord, I change not.’  We have but to meet His clearly stated terms, bring our lives into accord with His revealed will, and His infinite power will become instantly operative toward us in the manner set forth through the gospel in the Scriptures of truth. -59-60

For more:
The Immutability of God Series 
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Introduction (Part 1)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Foundation (Part 2)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Challenges (Part 3)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theological Challenges (Part 4)
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Practical Implications (Part 5) 
Theology - The Immutability of God:  Its Truth and Relevancy - Theological Implications (Part 6)
Sermon Podcast - April 26, 2010 - The Immutability of God 
Sermon Podcast - November 29, 2009 - The Transcendence of the Gospel
Theology - The Stipulation that Paralyzes:  Tony Jones and the Limits of the Emergent Worldview
Theology - Orthopraxy is Rooted in Orthodoxy - The Postmodern Return to Rome
Commentary - Accomodationism Breed Irrelevancy:  Why Liberalism Fails and the Transcendent Gospel Triumphs 

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