ATTRIBUTES OF GOD INDEX
Watch and listen to Charles Haddon Spurgeon's message on "The Unchangeable Christ" (The Unchangeable Christ, A Sermon No. 2358) (Here is the text of his sermon -- Hebrews 13:8 The Unchangeable Christ)
Immutability means that God is not subject to change through time or circumstances. He is invariable. In His nature and character, God is absolutely without change. In God's essence, attributes, consciousness and will, He is unchangeable. Ponder the significance of this truth, in light of other truths about God such as "God is love." (1Jn 4:8, 16). What does the truth of immutability add to the truth that God is love? Below is C H Spurgeon's "answer" to this question…
Every Christian is to be a testifier. He is to be a witness with heart and lips. All the other creatures speak not with words. They may sing as they shine, but they cannot sing vocally. It is the believer’s part in the great chorus to lift up voice and heart at once, and as an intelligent, living, loving, learning witness, to testify to God. In the first place we have known that God’s love to us is undeserved. Another thing we can bear testimony to, is this — that the love of God is unconquerable. We strove against God’s love, but it conquered us. We can say concerning His love that it has never been diminished by all the sins we have ever committed since we believed. We have often revolted, but we have never found Him unwilling to forgive.
We have known and we have believed
the love of God to us to be perfectly immutable.
I will make but one other remark here, and that is, we can bear our willing witness that the love of God to us has been an unfailing support in all our trials. This great truth is the groundwork of Christian encouragement.
The trustworthy 1915 edition of the ISBE says
It is the perfection of Yahweh that He changes not in character, will, purpose, aim (Orr, James. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: 1915 Edition)
Douglas adds that immutability is…
The perfection of God by which He is devoid of all change in essence, attributes, consciousness, will, and promises. No change is possible in God, because all change must be to better or worse, and God is absolute perfection. No cause for change in God exists, either in Himself or outside of Him. (Douglas, J.D.; Tenney, Merrill Chapin: New International Bible Dictionary, Zondervan, 1987)
As Kuiper spares no words declaring that "To deny the immutability of God is to deny that He is God."
Still restless nature dies and grows,
From change to change the creatures run:
Thy being no succession knows,
And all Thy vast designs are one.
A W Tozer offers an interesting contrast - The immutability of God appears in its most perfect beauty when viewed against the mutability of men. In God no change is possible; in men change is impossible to escape. Neither the man is fixed nor his world, and he and it are in constant flux.
Tozer adds that "If God is self-existent, He must be also self-sufficient; and if He has power, He, being infinite, must have all power. If He possesses knowledge, His infinitude assures us that He possesses all knowledge. Similarly, His immutability presuppose His faithfulness. If He is unchanging, it follows that He could not be unfaithful, since that would require Him to change. Any failure within the divine character would argue imperfection and, since God is perfect, it could not occur. Thus the attributes explain each other and prove that they are but glimpses the mind enjoys of the absolutely perfect Godhead.
Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish
Our God lives unchanging on,
Praise Him, Praise Him, Hallelujah
Praise the High Eternal One!
Warning! Beware of the radical (and radically heretical) false teaching that is being propounded by some so called "process theologians" who hold the belief that God’s own nature is evolving. They are directly refuted with God's our Word of Truth "I, the LORD, do not change." (Malachi 3:6).
Youngblood writes that…
God does not “mutate” from being one kind of God to being another, nor is He subject to the limitations of time and space, since in Christ He upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3-note). He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8-note). Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8-note). God is the God of steadfast love (Deut. 5:10; Ps. 103:4; Is. 63:7). (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
A. W. Pink reminds us that…
God cannot change for the better, for He is perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse.
John Phillips writes that…
Jehovah ("I Am") being God's covenant name, it reminds us that God is immutable. His promises and His purposes are as changeless as He.
C H Spurgeon quotes Samuel Rutherford…
There be many Christians most like unto young sailors, who think the shore and the whole land doth move when they ship, and they themselves are moved. Just so not a few do imagine that God moveth, and saileth, and changeth places, because their giddy souls are under sail, and subject to alteration, to ebbing and flowing. But the foundation of the Lord abideth sure. (from Feathers for Arrows)
Perfect stability belongs alone to God; he alone, of all beings, is without variableness or shadow of a turning. He is immutable; he will not change. He is all-wise; he need not change. He is perfect; he cannot change.
If we are inclined to grieve because everything around us changes, our consolation will be found in turning to our unchanging God.
There are some persons who talk about God changing his purpose; such people do not know what God is at all. How could God change? God must either change from a better to a worse, or from a worse to a better. If he could change from a worse to a better, he is not perfect now; and if he could change from what he is to something worse, he would not be perfect then, and he would not be God.
But no converted man ever found an apology for sin in the immutability of divine affection; nay, but this is the greatest condemnation of our sin, that we transgress against a God who still loves us; that we dare to play the traitor to him who never for a moment was inconstant in his love to us. If the husband were unstable in his marriage love, there were some excuse for the unfaithful wife; but the firmness of our Great Husband’s love to our souls makes it the blackest treason, and the most accursed unchastity, if our hearts turn aside from our Best beloved to follow after idols.
They that love not have no hate, no jealousy, but where there is an intense, an infinite love, like that which glows in the bosom of God, there must be jealousy.
Dr S Lewis Johnson in his lecture series explains that…
As omni-presence resulted from God’s immensity, because he is transcended over space, he is therefore everywhere in space, so immutability is a natural result, a natural issue of God’s eternity. Also, His eternity is a natural issue of His immutability and so these are very closely related. One of our theologians has said, “That which has no evolution and no succession is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” When the ancients wanted to illustrate immutability, they did not speak about Charlie Brown or one’s wife’s nagging, but they spoke about a cube, and they used a cube to illustrate God’s immutability, because a cube, no matter where you test it, will always be in the same posture because it is equal to itself in all its dimensions. And so they thought of a cube when they thought to illustrate immutability. Immutability. Now what does it mean in connection with God?
God is immutable in His essence. Now since he is infinite in his being, we have spoken of this, he cannot change. He cannot be something that he was not before. If he were able to be something that he was not before, then we could not have said that he was infinite then. And so he is, since he is infinite in his being, he cannot change. He cannot increase. He cannot decrease. He cannot self-evolve. He cannot develop. God’s essence is immutable. It is unchangeable. He cannot have any new attributes which would suggest change in his essential being. He is exalted above all becoming, if he were to become something, then he would be something he was not before. And so consequently God is immutable in his essence. He is immutable in his being. When we speak about immutability we are speaking about his being. He is immutable in his being.
He is immutable in His attributes. Now if any perfection could be separated from God, he would cease to be God. If we were, for example, to think of a God from whom his goodness were taken, then of course he would not be the infinite God that he was before. He cannot be wiser than he was before, he cannot be holier than he was before, he cannot be more righteous or more merciful than he was before, he cannot be less merciful than he was before.
Unchanging is the love of God,
From age to age the same,
Displayed to all who do His will
And reverence His Name.
If we think of an immutable God, we not only think of a person who cannot change in his essential being, but we must also think of a person who cannot change in his attributes. And so when we think of God and when we worship God and when we praise God, we do not praise him because he is a little better today than he was yesterday. He is the same in his being and he’s the same in his attributes. He has everlasting strength, he has omniscience in his wisdom, and so on at all times.
Furthermore, thirdly, His immutability means that He is immutable in His will. He is immutable in his plans and purposes. He does not, for example, purpose something today that he changes tomorrow. He does not change his mind. Furthermore, he does not have to sit and think now what shall I do? Shall I do this or shall I do that? Well I think today I’ll try this, or I think tomorrow I will try that. Because God is infinite in his wisdom, then there is no error in the conception of his plans. All of his plans are perfect, and he does not have to reason them out. He has within himself the power to know that which is the finest plan.
I often hear theologians say God could have used several different plans, but that is not true of God. There is only one plan that is his plan, because there is one plan that represents the product of his infinite wisdom. And so he is infinite in his will. Since he is infinite in power there can be no failure in the accomplishment of his plans which fall out of his will either. So he always expresses himself or to us, but he always attempts to carry out, or carries out, the perfect plan, and he always carries it out perfectly, because he is infinitely wise and infinitely powerful. So he is immutable in his will.
Fourth, He is immutable in His consciousness. Since infinite experience is a fixed quantity, then nothing is added to God’s consciousness and nothing old is taken from it. He is immutable in his consciousness.
And finally, He is unchangeable in his place. Charnock, who has written an outstanding book on the attributes of God, has said, “He cannot be changed in time because he is eternity. And he cannot be changed in place because he hath ubiquity.” That is, he is everywhere present. (For the full discussion including Mp3, Pdf or MS Word format see The Repentance and Unchangeability of God- by Dr S Lewis Johnson)
The psalmist affirms God's wonderful attribute of immutability…
Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. 26 "Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. 27 "But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end. (Ps 102:25-27)
In short, in our changing world, we can always depend on our unchanging God and thus can confidently pray…
Keep Thou my way, O Lord, be Thou ever nigh;
Strong is Thy mighty arm, weak and frail am I;
Then, my unchanging Friend, on Thee, my hopes depend,
Till life’s brief day shall end, be Thou ever nigh.
A W Pink writes that
Immutability is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a Rock (Dt 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). (A. W. Pink in The attributes of God.)
Spurgeon commenting on the great and magnificent and unchangeable promises of the unchanging God in 2Peter 1:4 (note) says that…
besides meditating upon the promises, seek in thy soul to receive them as being the very words of God. Speak to thy soul thus,
“If I were dealing with a man’s promise, I should carefully consider the ability and the character of the man who had covenanted with me. So with the promise of God; my eye must not be so much fixed upon the greatness of the mercy—that may stagger me; as upon the greatness of the Promiser—that will cheer me."
My soul, it is God, even thy God, God that cannot lie, Who speaks to thee. This word of His which thou art now considering is as true as His own existence.
He is a God unchangeable. He has not altered the thing which has gone out of his mouth, nor called back one single consolatory sentence.
Nor doth He lack any power; it is the God that made the heavens and the earth Who has spoken thus. Nor can He fail in wisdom as to the time when He will bestow the favours, for He knoweth when it is best to give and when better to withhold.
Therefore, seeing that it is the Word of a God so true, so immutable, so powerful, so wise, I will and must believe the promise.
If we thus meditate upon the promises, and consider the Promiser, we shall experience their sweetness, and obtain their fulfilment. (Spurgeon, C. H. Morning and evening July 27 AM)
F W Robertson wrote that…
God is not affected by our mutability; our changes do not alter him. When we are restless, he remains serene and calm; when we are low, selfish, mean, or dispirited, he is still the unalterable I Am. The same yesterday, today, and forever, in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. What God is in himself, not what we may chance to feel him in this or that moment to be, that is our hope.
Immutability of God by C. H. Spurgeon…
It has been said by some one that "the proper study of mankind is man." I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, "Behold I am wise." But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass's colt; and with the solemn exclamation, "I am but of yesterday, and know nothing." No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel" "Great God, how infinite art thou, what worthless worms are we!" But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe… I dare say it does, but after all, the most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. (Immutability of God)
Immutability "is that perfection of God by which He is devoid of all change, not only in His Being, but also in His perfections, and in His purposes and promises … and is free from all accession or diminution and from all growth or decay in His Being or perfection. (Louis Berkhof)
All God’s attributes or perfections are included in His immutability. There can be no increase nor decrease in their number, capacity, or power. God could not be more or less holy, righteous, omnipotent, etc. It would be an absurdity to suppose He could. Immutability, however, is not immobility. It does not mean that God cannot change His actions, or way of dealing with men in different situations and times. It simply means His character and attributes do not change. It means that His eternal purposes does not change, for He has even purposed all things that come to pass. Reason teaches immutability. God must be immutable; there can be no change in Him, either for better or worse, since God is infinite and absolute perfection. If God could change for the better or the worse, it would indicate a weakness in His Being. There can be no cause for change in God who is perfect.
The immutability of God raises an important question. If God is immutable, what is meant by such statements found in the Bible that speak of God repenting or changing His mind?
Jonah 3:10 And God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them? (KJV) (For comments on Jonah 3:10 related to Mal 3:6 see The Repentance and Unchangeability of God- by Dr S Lewis Johnson)
Ge 6:5-6 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (KJV)
These passages are not suggesting there was a change in the character of God, only in His actions toward man based on the actions of men. It is man who changes and due to the changeless character of God, He must change His actions or dealings with man. God must deal with men in accord with His holy character. He must eventually deal with sin in judgment as He did in Genesis 6, or He acts in mercy when men repent as He did with Nineveh. But God’s actions are always consistent with His character. For instance, the Genesis passage does not say that God changed His mind in the sense that He wished He had not made man, but only that He was grieved over man’s behavior. The translation of the NIV makes the point clear.
Genesis 6:5-6 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. (NIV)
Compare also the translation of the NIV for Jonah 3:10: When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. (NIV)
When used of God as in some translations, the term “repentance” is simply an anthropomorphism, a term ascribing human feeling or emotion to God to show us God’s attitude toward sin.
The immutability of God is a terror to the wicked because it means that God must always deal with men in accord with His holy character and plan. God make no deals and accepts no man’s person apart from His plan of salvation in the person and work of Christ. On the other hand, God’s immutability is a constant comfort to believers because it means God is faithful, always, to His promises and the principles of His Word. For this reason, God is called “the Rock” (Deut 32:4) for when the entire world around us seems to fluctuate and shake (especially if one lives in California) God is the one safe and faithful place of anchorage.
Deuteronomy 32:4 The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He. (See related resource - Click for Scripture chain on Christ, the Rock, the Stone -- would make a great Sunday School series)
Psalm 18:2, 31 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 31 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God (See Spurgeon Commentary on 18:2, on 18:31)
People will often let each other down. Our friends as well as we ourselves often prove fickle, but the Lord who never changes, never lets us down. He is our Rock of blessing, support, and deliverance. This is why our trust should never be in man as Jer 17:5 warns, “Cursed be man that trust in mankind and makes flesh his strength.” This does not mean that God always answers our prayers and desires according to our wishes for He does not. It means, however, we can count on the fact that He is faithful to always act in accordance with His wisdom, love, and purposes. Let’s note some of the ways that God is faithful: (See also God's Attribute Faithfulness)
He is faithful to forgive sin when we confess it (1John 1:9-note).
He is faithful to support us in our suffering as the faithful Creator (1Pe 4:19-note).
It is out of His faithful that He answers our prayers (Ps 143:1) (Spurgeon Commentary on Ps 143:1)
We close this attribute with these verses:
Lamentations 3:21-23 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.
Psalm 36:5 Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies (Spurgeon Commentary on 36:)
Source: For full discussion see: What God Is Like by Hampton Keathley III Well done summary the character of God, including His attributes
God is where He was.--Anon.
God may change our circumstances, but our circumstances never change God.--John Blanchard
God never 'becomes'; God is.--John Blanchard
Whatsoever is eternal is immutable. -- Stephen Charnock
If God could be proved there would be no need for faith.--Rob Frost
The immutability of God's holy character is itself the absolute and the final court of morality. --Os Guinness
The unchangeableness of the divine purposes is a necessary consequence of the unchangeableness of the divine nature.--Johann Keil
God is the most obligated being that there is. He is obligated by his own nature. He is infinite in his wisdom; therefore he can never do anything that is unwise. He is infinite in his justice; therefore he can never do anything that is unjust. He is infinite in his goodness; therefore he can never do anything that is not good. He is infinite in his truth; therefore it is impossible that he should lie.--J. Gresham Machen
Nothing created can ever alter the Creator.--Stuart Olyott
God cannot change for the better, for He is perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse--A. W. Pink
We have an unchanging Gospel, which is not today green grass and tomorrow dry hay; but always the abiding truth of the immutable Jehovah. --C. H. Spurgeon
Standing, as it were, at the world's end, at the grave's mouth, and at hell's door, the cross of Jesus reveals love to the utmost end, and is a grand display of the immutability and invincibility of the affection of the heart of Jesus. -- C H Spurgeon (Flashes of Thought)
To suppose that God has a multitude of plans, and that he changes his plan with the exigencies of the situation, is to make him infinitely dependent upon the varying wills of his creatures, and to deny him one necessary element of perfection, namely, immutability. -- Augustus H. Strong
With God the only difference between the future and the past is that certain truths which are as eternal as God himself have not yet become part of human history.--W. Ian Thomas
All God's reasons come from within his uncreated being. Nothing has entered the being of God from eternity, nothing has been removed and nothing has been changed.--A. W. Tozer
Human unbelief cannot alter the character of God.--A. W. Tozer
The law of mutation belongs to a fallen world, but God is immutable, and in him men of faith find eternal permanence. --A. W. Tozer
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 in 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. -- A W Tozer
Since God is self-existent, He is not composed. There are in Him no parts to be altered.--A. W. Tozer
Note that immutable does not mean God is immobile, for He acts in history. God's immutability is dynamic, not static. --Personal paraphrase
(Most but not all of the above are from Blanchard, John: Complete Gathered Gold: A Treasury of Quotations for Christians OR Computer Version - One of the best compilations of quotations available - Highly Recommended)
GOD TAKES HEED TO YOUR EVERY NEED - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Heb 13:8
An unusual phenomenon can be seen at the Bay of Fundy on the eastern coast of Canada. Near the mouth of the St. John River, where it flows into the bay, are the Reversing Falls Rapids. They are created by the rise and fall of the extreme tides in the Bay of Fundy, and the flow of water from the St. John River.
At low tide the river flows in thundering rapids out to the sea. But at high tide that great current is changed and water surges upstream, reversing the flow of the falls. In the period of time when the tide is slack and the river and bay are at equal levels, that mighty torrent appears as calm as a mill pond.
How like human nature are those changing tides. Our emotions and actions vary with the day—and sometimes by the hour. But this is not so with our immutable God, who has revealed Himself in His Son Jesus Christ. His truth, grace, mercy, and love for us remain constant.—P R. Van Gorder
THE BEST WAY TO FACE LIFE'S CHANGES
IS TO LOOK TO THE UNCHANGING GOD.
‘I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.’— MALACHI 3:6
The scriptural revelations of the divine Name are always the basis of intensely practical admonition. The Bible does not think it worth while to proclaim the Name of God without building on the proclamation promises or commandments. There is no ‘mere theology’ in Scripture; and it does not speak of ‘attributes,’ nor give dry abstractions of infinitude, eternity, omniscience, unchangeableness, but lays stress on the personality of God, which is so apt to escape us in these abstract conceptions, and thus teaches us to think of this personal God our Father, as infinite, eternal, knowing all things, and never changing. There is all the difference in our attitude towards the very same truth if we think of the unchangeableness of God, or if we think that our Father God is unchangeable. In our text the thought of Him as unchanging comes into view as the foundation of the continuance of the unfaithful sons of Jacob in their privileges and in their very lives. ‘I am the Lord,’ Jehovah, the Self-existent, the Eternal whose being is not under the limitations of succession and time. ‘Because I am Jehovah, I change not’; and because Jehovah changes not, therefore our finite and mortal selves abide, and our infinite and sinful selves are still the objects of His steadfast love.
Let us consider, first, the unchangeable God, and second, the unchanging God as the foundation of our changeful lives.
I. The unchangeable God.
In the great covenant-name Jehovah there is revealed an existence which reverses all that we know of finite and progressive being, or finite and mortal being, or finite and variable nature. With us there are mutations arising from physical nature. The material must needs be subject to laws of growth and decadence. Our spiritual nature is subject to changes arising from the advancement in knowledge. Our moral nature is subject to fluctuations; circumstances play upon us, and ‘nothing continueth in one stay.’ Change is the condition of life. It means growth and happiness; it belongs to the perfection of creatures. But the unchangeableness of God is the negation of all imperfection, it is the negation of all dependence on circumstances, it is the negation of all possibility of decay or exhaustion, it is the negation of all caprice. It is the assurance that His is an underived, self-dependent being, and that with Him is the fountain of light; it is the assurance that, raised above the limits of time and the succession of events, He is in the eternal present, where all things that were and are, and are to come, stand naked and open. It is the assurance that the calm might of His eternal will acts, not in spasms of successive volitions preceded by a period of indecision and equilibrium between contending motives, but is one continuous uniform energy, never beginning, never bending, never ending; that the purpose of His will is ‘the eternal purpose which He hath purposed in Himself.’ It is the assurance that the clear vision of His infinite knowledge, from the heat of which nothing is hid, has no stages of advancement, and no events lying nebulous in a dim horizon by reason of distance, or growing in clearness as they draw nearer, but which pierces the mists of futurity and the veils of the past and the infinities of the present, and ‘from the beginning to the end knoweth all things.’ It is the assurance that the mighty stream of love from the heart of God is not contingent on the variations of our character and the fluctuations of our poor hearts, but rises from His deep well, and flows on for ever, ‘the river of God’ which ‘is full of water.’ It is the assurance that round all the majesty and the mercy which He has revealed for our adoration and our trust there is the consecration of permanence, that we might have a rock on which to build and never be confounded. Is there anywhere in the past an act of His power, a word of His lip, a revelation of His heart which has been a strength or a joy or a light to any man? It is valid for me, and is intended for my use. ‘He fainteth not, nor is weary.’ The bush burns and is not consumed. ‘I will not alter the thing that has gone out of my lips.’ ‘By two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we have strong consolation.’
II. The unchanging God as the foundation of our changeful lives.
In the most literal sense our text is true. Because He lives we live also. He is the same for ever, therefore we are not consumed. The foundation of our being lies beyond and beneath all the mutable things from which we are tempted to believe that we draw our lives, and is in God. The true lesson to be drawn from the mutable phenomena of earth is—heaven. The many links in the chain must have a staple. Reason requires that behind all the fleeting shall be the permanent. There must be a basis which does not partake of change. The lesson from all the mutable creation is the immutable God.
Since God changes not, the life of our spirits is not at the mercy of changing events. We look back on a lifetime of changing scenes through which we have passed, and forward to a similar succession, and this mutability is sad to many of us, and in some aspects sad to all, so powerless we are to fix and arrest any of our blessings. Which we shall keep we know not; we only know that, as certainly as buds and blossoms of spring drop, and the fervid summer darkens to November fogs and December frosts, so certainly we shall have to part with much in our passage through life. But if we let God speak to us, the necessary changes that come to us will not be harmful but blessed, for the lesson that the mutability of the mutual is meant to impress upon us is, the permanency of the divine, and our dependence, not on them, but on Him. We may look upon all the world of time and chance and think that He who Himself is unchanging changeth all. The eye of the tempest is a point of rest. The point in the heavens towards which, according to some astronomers, the whole of the solar system is drifting, is a fixed point. If we depend on Him, then change is not all sad; it cannot take God away, but it may bring us nearer to Him. We cannot be desolate as long as we have Him. We know not what shall be on the morrow. Be it so; it will be God’s to-morrow. When the leaves drop we can see the rock on which the trees grow; and when changes strip the world for us of some of its waving beauty and leafy shade, we may discern more clearly the firm foundation on which our hopes rest. All else changes. Be it so; that will not kill us, nor leave us utterly forlorn as long as we hear the voice which says, ‘I am the Lord; I change not; therefore ye are not consumed.’
God’s purposes and promises change not, therefore our faith may rest on Him, notwithstanding our own sins and fluctuations. It is this aspect of the divine immutability which is the thought of our text. God does not turn from His love, nor cancel His promises, nor alter His purposes of mercy because of our sins. If God could have changed, the godless forgetfulness of, and departure from, Him of ‘the Sons of Jacob’ would have driven Him to abandon His purposes; but they still live—living evidences of His long-suffering. And in that preservation of them God would have them see the basis of hope for the future. So this is the confidence with which we should cheer ourselves when we look upon the past, and when we anticipate the future. The sins that have been in our past have deserved that we should have been swept away, but we are here still. Why are we? Why do we yet live? Because we have to do with an unchanging love, with a faithfulness that never departs from its word, with a purpose of blessing that will not be turned aside. So let us look back with this thought and be thankful; let us look forward with it and be of good cheer. Trust yourself, weak and sinful as you are, to that unchanging love. The future will have in it faults and failures, sins and shortcomings, but rise from yourself to God. Look beyond the light and shade of your own characters, or of earthly events to the central light, where there is no glimmering twilight, no night, ‘no variableness nor shadow of turning.’ Let us live in God, and be strong in hope. Forward, not backward, let us look and strive; so our souls, fixed and steadied by faith in Him, will become in a manner partakers of His unchangeableness; and we too in our degree will be able to say, ‘The Lord is at my side; I shall not be moved.’
Bruce Goettsche writes that…
In a world where consistency is a rare commodity, God is someone you can depend on. In a world where public opinion changes with the wind … God remains constant. Listen to a few of the verses that proclaim God's immutability:
Psalm 102:25-27 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.
Malachi 3:6,7 -“I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty."
Hebrews 13:8 (note) "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
In James 1:16-18 (see notes )- "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
In fact, the name that God gave to Moses, the name Yahweh (or Jehovah) means "I am". The point is simple: there was never a time when God was … or God will be. The way He is now is the way He has always been. He is perfect and complete. Nothing can be added to Him … because He lacks nothing…
Every one of God's attributes drives us to the point of commitment. We are reminded that our God is a great God. I hope you have seen that the immutability of God is more than an academic statistic. God's unchanging character is a truth that brings comfort, strength, stability, and a new sense of wonder. Look at our first four attributes:
Because God is omnipresent it means He is here
Because God is omniscient it means He understands what is going on in your life
Because He is omnipotent it means He can help
And because He is immutable it means this will never change
No matter where you are in the journey or what you are currently going through … our Lord can help you. He is the one who can make you new. He is the one who will stand with you through any situation. He is the one you can trust. And He is the one you have been looking for and dreaming of. His arms are open. Draw close so He can wrap you in His love. There is no better place in the world to be. (Read the full sermon message on God's Immutability)
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.(Play Vocal by Cece Winans)
Spurgeon on (Malachi 3:6) It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows. All things else have changed-all things are changing. The sun itself grows dim with age; the world is waxing old; the folding up of the worn-out vesture has commenced; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they shall perish, they shall wax old as doth a garment; but there is One who only hath immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change. The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore, is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth-"I am the Lord, I change not."
The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian's hope affords him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth. With God "is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." What ever his attributes were of old, they are now; his power, his wisdom, his justice, his truth, are alike unchanged. He has ever been the refuge of his people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and he is their sure Helper still. He is unchanged in his love. He has loved his people with "an everlasting love"; he loves them now as much as ever he did, and when all earthly things shall have melted in the last conflagration, his love will still wear the dew of its youth. Precious is the assurance that he changes not! The wheel of providence revolves, but its axle is eternal love.
"Death and change are busy ever,
Man decays, and ages move;
But his mercy waneth never;
God is wisdom, God is love."
SCRIPTURES ON IMMUTABLE: For the greatest benefit from the following Scriptures, read the text, not passively but instead consciously and actively "interrogating" the text (interrogate with the 5W'S & H), making a list in your life journal of what the Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9-note) teaches you (1Jn 2:27, Jn 14:26, 16:13) about God and about man. Obey any instructions or commands you encounter, as you allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and to "cultivate faithfulness" (NAS, Ps 37:3-see note). Then offer prayers and praise to your Father for graciously teaching you these profitable, eternal truths (cp 2Ti 3:16, 17-note).
Nu 23:19,20; 1Sa 15:29; Job 23:13; Ps 33:11; 102:27, 119:89, 90, 91; Pr 19:21; Eccl 3:14; 7:13; Isa 31:2; 40:28; 59:1; Ho 13:14; Mal 3:6; Ro 11:29; Heb 1:12, 6:17,18; 13:8, Jas 1:17
Nu 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? 20 "Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it.
1Sa 15:29 "And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind."
Through every age, eternal God,
Thou art our rest, our safe abode;
High was Thy throne ere Heav’n was made,
Or earth Thy humble footstool laid.
APPLICATION OF THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD'S IMMUTABILITY: Every time you see a rainbow remind yourself that you know the immutable God. And remind yourself that a God who is unchanging in His love and kindness to you deserves your unchanging love, loyalty, devotion, and service. If He promises, it will not break His promise.
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the Rock that cannot move.
THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD - "You are the same." - Psalm 102:27
What a fountain of comfort is to be found in the Immutability of God! Not one ripple can disturb the calm of His unchanging nature. Were it so, He would no longer be a perfect Being- He would undeify Himself- He would cease to be God! "Change is our portion here." "They shall perish," is the brief chronicle regarding everything on this side heaven. The firmament above us, the earth beneath us, the elements around us– "all these things shall be dissolved." Scenes of hallowed endearment- they have fled! Friends who sweetened our pilgrimage with their presence- they are gone! But here is a sure and safe anchorage amid the world's heaving ocean of vicissitude– "You are the same." All is changing but the Unchanging One. The earthly scaffolding may give way, but the living Temple remains. The reed may bend to the blast, but the living Rock spurns and outlives the storm!
How blessed, especially, to contemplate the unchangeableness of our Great High Priest, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever!" True, He is, in one sense, "changed." No longer the Man of sorrows- the homeless wanderer. He is enthroned amid the glories of heaven. Seraphs praise Him- Saints adore Him. But His Heart knows no change. His ascension glories have not obliterated His tender human sympathies. We can think of Him receiving an outcast sinner, or stilling the storm, or standing at the gate of Nain, or weeping tears of pity over a lost city, or tears of sympathy over a buried friend, and write over all these, "You are the same!" The name which He bequeathed by angels to His Church until He comes again is- "that same Jesus!" His own Patmos title is His memorial for all time- "I AM He that lives!" Believer! has He ever seemed to change towards you? Are you even now mourning over the withdrawal of that countenance whose smile is heaven? Are you saying in the bitterness of your spirit, "Has the Lord forgotten to be gracious?" The change is with yourself, not with your God. Behind the clouds of your own departure, the Sun of His love shines brightly as ever. "He faints not, neither is weary."
Or, it may be, you are laboring under other trials. The hand of your God may be heavy upon you. The secret thought may be harbored that some tear might have been spared; that your chastisement might have been less severe- that your bereavement, with its dark accompaniment, might have been mitigated or averted. Look upwards and take the Psalmist's antidote as your own, "I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." Think that the same Hand which was for you nailed to the Cross, is now pleading for you on the Throne; ordering and controlling every trial; and over every dark providence writing the unanswerable challenge, "He who spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
Oh! thus pillowing your head on the Immutability of Jesus, amid the rude buffetings of a changing world, you will be able, night after night, to say, until the dawn of a morning breaks on you, which knows neither night nor vicissitude, "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8 (From - THE NIGHT WATCHES by John MacDuff)
Immutability, Unchangeable (276)(ametathetos from a = without + metatíthemi = change condition or place, transfer, put in another place) literally never changing, not to be transferred. The idea is that which is fixed, unalterable or immutable. This word was used in secular Greek in the context of wills and contracts and signified a stipulation that could not be disregarded or annulled. Once properly made a will was ametathetos unchangeable by anyone but the maker. The writer of Hebrews uses this word (in the only 2 uses in Scripture in Hebrews 6:17 [note] and Hebrews 6:18 [note]) with powerful, well known forensic (legal) ramifications (immutability of a legally written will) to add to the force of the encouragement the words of the book of Hebrews extended to the readers.
The Immutable, Unchangeable God makes a covenant (both Abrahamic and especially the New Covenant) which is eternally unbreakable! If you think you can lose your salvation, then you need to meditate on this attribute of God - He is Immutable. He will not go back on His promise of the New Covenant. If you are believed in Jesus, that covenant has been in a sense "signed in blood" by your Faithful, Covenant Keeping Savior. You cannot be lost. You may feel sometimes like you are lost (especially when you are in the desert of unconfessed sins!) but you are never lost from the Omniscient, Omnipotent eye of your Lord! Believe it! It is true! Jesus bears the marks of covenant on His body eternally as visible evidence of His immutable covenant of grace! John saw those marks on the resurrected, gloried Lord Jesus Christ testifying…
And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain… (Revelation 5:6-note)
Comment: John uses the perfect tense which signifies a past completed, historical act or event (the piercing of Jesus' hands, feet and side on Calvary over 2000 years ago-Ps 22:16, 19:23, 34, 37, cp Zech 12:10, ) with abiding effect (His scars will remain visible throughout eternity beloved!) Do you believe this? Or are you like Jesus' disciple Thomas?
The other disciples therefore were saying to him (Thomas), "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint (tupos) of the nails, and put my finger into the place (print - tupos) of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Reach (command) here your finger, and see (command) My hands; and reach (command) here your hand, and put (command) it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." (John 20:25-27)
See related resources:
- Why the New Covenant is Better than the Old Covenant
- New Covenant in the Old Testament
- Abrahamic vs Old vs New Covenant
- Does God change His mind?
- The Divine attribute of immutability
- What is the immutability of God?
- Does prayer change God’s mind?
- Robert Chisholm - Does God Change His Mind? - short discussion by Robert Chisholm
- Does God 'Change His Mind? - 13 page paper by Robert Chisholm
- Attributes of God - The Repentance and Unchangeability of God- by Dr S Lewis Johnson - Recommended Resource - includes Mp3, Pdf or MS Word document. This is only one study out of over 100 in depth lectures by Dr Johnson on Systematic Theology including studies of the doctrines of God, Christ, the Spirit, Prayer, Salvation, etc. (click for this extensive list)
- The Immutability of God by A. W. Pink
- God Unchanging by Ray Pritchard - recommended resource
- The Immutability of God by A.W. Tozer
- The Immutability of God by Thomas Watson (scroll down)
- God's attribute of Immutability - notes by C H Spurgeon
- God Does Not Repent Like a Man by John Piper
- Divine Immutability by John MacDuff
- Malachi 3:6 The Immutability of God by Charles Simeon
- The Immutability of God by Bob Deffinbaugh
- Hebrews 13:8 The Immutability Of Christ; - C H Spurgeon
- Hebrews 13:8 The Unchangeable Christ - C H Spurgeon
- I Change Not by Richard L. Strauss
- Immutability, Immutable in the International Std Bible Encyclopedia
- A God of Absolutes - Devotional from Our Daily Bread
- The Unchangeable God by David Legge
Hymns Related to God's Unchanging Nature
- Always and Ever
- Ere Mountains Reared Their Forms Sublime
- God Has Spoken by the Prophets
- God of Eternity
- Great God, How Infinite Art Thou!
- Great Is Thy Faithfulness
- Have You Not Known, Have You Not Heard
- Honor and Glory, Power and Salvation
- I Hear the Words of Love
- Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
- Lord, Through All the Generations
- New Wonders of Thy Mighty Hand
- None Else but Thee, Forevermore
- O God, the Rock of Ages
- Power of God, The
- Roll Out, O Song, to God!
- O Lord, Thy Perfect Righteousness
- Through Every Age, Eternal God
- We Come Unto Our Fathers’ God
- Year Is Swiftly Waning, The
Impartial means not partial and speaks of God's attribute whereby He treats all men and women equally, not demonstrating favoritism. God does not show prejudice towards or against any person or party.
With an impartial hand, the Lord
Moses in his exhortation to Israel to circumcise their hearts (referring to spiritual circumcision = not relying on works or sacrifices to attain righteousness, but personally expressing faith in God's promised, prophesied Messiah - see discussion of meaning of circumcision related to Covenant) spoke the following words to motivate them to seek the LORD while He could be found…
Jehoshaphat the king of Judah warned the judges he appointed throughout Judah to think carefully before pronouncing judgment and to
Jeremiah conveys a similar thought asking
In first Samuel the author reminds us that…
Other Passages Related to the Impartiality of God…
Richard Baxter put it well noting that…
Or as Stephen Charnock wrote…
The ninth tenet in the Athanasian Creed is "The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible."
Hail, co-essential Three,
In mystic Unity!
Father, Son, and Spirit, hail!
God by Heaven and earth adored,
One supreme, almighty Lord,
One supreme, almighty Lord.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, something that is incomprehensible is “not capable of being comprehended, something that no limits can contain, unintelligible, … ” So it is with our God. He is incomprehensible to us. We cannot know Him by our on power.
Even as we venture into this study of “The Knowledge of God”, we must be ever mindful that God is, in His essence, unknowable. He is far above us; exalted infinitely higher than we, His creation; infinitely above our conception, thought, and language. God’s essence (i.e. what He is in and of Himself) is hidden from us and beyond our ability to understand. We are finite, limited beings. The finite cannot fully grasp the infinite. God has given us the ability and information (His Word) to know that He is, but not to totally know what He is. The Bible does not try to prove the existence of God. It assumes it as fact. “In the beginning God … ” (Genesis 1:1)… Therefore, while Scripture teaches the absolute incomprehensibility of God (Job 38-41), it also presents a doctrine of God that fully maintains His knowability. And He has revealed, at least in part, His purpose for doing so-that we may worship Him as God and have eternal life (see notes Romans 1:20; 21; 22; 23; John 17:3). Our great God can be known, but He cannot be fully comprehended.
In vain our haughty reason swells,
For nothing's found in thee
But boundless inconceivables
And vast eternity.
May the very incomprehensibility of God move us to adoration and worshipful awe. As A W Tozer said…
As Augustine said
Samuel Wesley (1691–1739) expressed God' incomprehensibility in verse writing from his hymn Hail Father, Whose Creating Call (play hymn)
Hail, Father! Whose creating call
Unnumber’d worlds attend;
Jehovah! comprehending all,
Whom none can comprehend.
Martin Luther (1483–1546) wrote that
Puritan Thomas Manton (1620-1677) wrote that
Puritan Richard Sibbes asks
And as another Puritan Richard Baxter (1615-1691) wrote
Puritan John Owen wrote the following thoughts on the "incomprehensible" God:
Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)
A. W. Tozer (1897- 1963)
Tozer also reminds us that
Tozer once said that
On a more practical note Tozer adds that
From A. W. Pink's chapter The Contemplation of God found in his book "Gleanings in the Godhead" we find:
But the incomprehensibility of the divine nature is no reason why we should desist from reverent inquiry and prayerful striving to apprehend what He has so graciously revealed of Himself in His Word. Because we are unable to acquire perfect knowledge, it would be folly to say we will therefore make no efforts to attain to any degree of it. C. H. Spurgeon has well said:
Yes, the incomprehensibility of the divine nature should teach us humility, caution, and reverence. After all our searchings and meditations we have to say with Job, "Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him?" (Job 26:14). When Moses besought Jehovah for a sight of His glory, He answered him "I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee" (Ex. 33:19); as another has said, "the name is the collection of His attributes." (for full article click "The Contemplation of God" )
NAVE'S TOPIC: For the greatest benefit from the following Scriptures, read the text, not passively but instead consciously and actively "interrogating" the text (interrogate with the 5W'S & H), making a list in your life journal of what the Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9-note) teaches you (1Jn 2:27, Jn 14:26, 16:13) about God and about man. Obey any instructions or commands you encounter, as you allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and to "cultivate faithfulness" (NAS, Ps 37:3-see note). Then offer prayers and praise to your Father for graciously teaching you these profitable, eternal truths (cp 2Ti 3:16, 17-notes).
Ex 20:21; Dt 4:11; 5:22; 1Ki 8:12; Job 11:7, 8, 9; 15:8; 37:1-24; Ps 18:11; 97:2; Eccl 3:11; Is 40:12-31; 55:8,9; 1Co 2:16
Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
FAR in the Heavens my God retires:
My God, the mark of my desires,
And hides His lovely face;
When He descends within my view,
He charms my reason to pursue,
But leaves it tir’d and fainting in th’ unequal chase.
Or if I reach unusual height
Till near His presence brought,
There floods of glory check my flight,
Cramp the bold pinions of my wit,
And all untune my thought;
Plunged in a sea of light I roll,
Where wisdom, justice, mercy, shines;
Infinite rays in crossing lines
Beat thick confusion on my sight, and overwhelm my soul…
Great God! behold my reason lies
Adoring: yet my love would rise
On pinions not her own:
Faith shall direct her humble flight,
Through all the trackless seas of light,
To Thee, th’ Eternal Fair, the infinite Unknown.
Incomprehensible by C H Spurgeon
What God Is Like by Hampton Keathley III - well done
The Importance of Thinking by David Legge
Knowing Your God by David Legge
INFINITY of God means that He is limitless, measureless and boundless. Divine infinity indicates that the limitations of finite creatures do not apply to him. Whatever God is (love, faithfulness, righteous, wise, etc), He is without limit, and whatever He is cannot be measured. He is not bound or restricted by space, time, or matter. There is no point, edge, or line confining God, and no size or weight that can catalog Him.
Great God, how infinite art Thou!
What worthless worms are we!
Let the whole race of creatures bow,
And pay their praise to Thee.
One should avoid the error of applying the mathematical idea of infinitude as an endless expansion in either the time or space dimension to God. His being has neither a measurable beginning nor a measurable end. He fills eternity from everlasting to everlasting. Such truth is incomprehensible (another of His attributes) to our finite minds, for we live in a limited world where all that we know has size and weight. The distance from here to there, no matter where, is measurable and even atoms can be weighed. Infinity extends to every attribute of God as alluded to in the words of the hymn Accepted in the Beloved…
“In the Beloved” I went to the tree,
There, in His Person, by faith I may see
Infinite wrath rolling over His head,
Infinite grace, for He died in my stead.
The finite can neither see nor comprehend the Infinite. The Infinite has to reveal Himself. Henry Ward Beecher said: "When Columbus drew near to the eastern coast of this continent, he could see that there were mountains, but do you believe he knew what minerals were in them? Do you suppose he knew all the trees, all the shrubs, all the vines, all the herbs there? He knew something about the outlying islands of this great continent, but he did not understand the details that went to make it up. I can understand there is such a being as God, but when it is said that He is infinite, I am so finite that my comprehension ends right there. I cannot understand infiniteness. All things in the natural world symbolize God, yet none of them speak of Him but in broken and imperfect words. High above all He sits, sublimer than mountains, nobler than lords, truer than parents, more loving than lovers. His feet tread the lowest places of the earth, but His head is above all glory; everywhere He is supreme."— Bible Illustrations
INFINITE - Unlimited in extent of space, duration, and quantity. Though Scripture does not use the term “infinite” to describe God, theologians have found the term a suitable summary of several attributes of God. God is not limited by space (Ps. 139:7,8); God is not limited by time; God existed before the creation (Ge 1:1); the ordering of time is part of God’s creative activity (Ge 1:5). Because God is spirit (Jn 4:24), God cannot be quantified like a material object. God is regarded as infinite in many other qualities: God’s steadfast love endures forever (Ps 100:5); God’s knowledge extends to the fall of a single sparrow and the number of hairs on our heads (Matt. 10:29, 30; cp. Ps 139:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6); God is “the Almighty” (Ge 17:1; Ex 6:3). (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Norm Geisler addresses a question skeptics ask about God's limitlessness
Quotes from A W Tozer on God's attribute Infinite…
Attributes of God - The Spirituality and Infinity of God- by Dr S Lewis Johnson - Recommended Resource - includes Mp3, Pdf or MS Word document. This is only one study out of over 100 in depth lectures by Dr Johnson on Systematic Theology including studies of the doctrines of God, Christ, the Spirit, Prayer, Salvation, etc. (click for this extensive list)
What God Is Like - Hampton Keathley III (Well done summary the character of God, including His attributes).
Infinity of God - C H Spurgeon
God's Infinitude by A.W. TOZER
Jealous - Human jealousy describes the hostility one has toward a rival or one believed to enjoy some advantage. It should be emphasized that not all human jealousy is sinful as seen in the prophet Elijah's reaction in first Kings…
Jealousy is an emotion we often describe as seen between lovers. God was Israel's husband (Jer 31:32 - God was in covenant with Israel, cp Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage. Cp Ho 2:19, Isa 54:5, Jer 2:2, 3:14) and because of His love for His people He zealously (jealously) acted to maintain their fidelity. Divine jealously is not the petty emotion so often seen in fallen men and women, but describes Jehovah's justifiable intolerance to any and every rival (cp idols, so-called gods). Jealousy is God's rightful demand for our exclusive affection or loyalty. In short, God's kind of jealousy is appropriate and good, for He is defending His word and His high honor. He makes a strong, exclusive demand on those who are His beloved. As such, we must treat only the Lord as God to the exclusion of all other people and things in all the universe!
The Dictionary of Paul and His Letters adds that…
A JEALOUS GOD - That is a very wonderful and suggestive expression—"a jealous God." See that it be engraven on your hearts. Jesus will not endure it that those of us who love Him should divide our hearts between Him and something else. The love which is strong as death is linked with a jealousy cruel as the grave, "the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame." The royal word to the spouse is, "Forget also thine own people and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him." Of course, beloved, the Master never condemns that proper natural affection which we are bound to give, and which it is a part of our sanctification to give in its due and proper proportion to those who are related to us. Besides, we are bound to love all the saints, and all mankind in their proper place and measure. But there is a love which is for the Master alone. Inside the heart there must be a sanctum sanctorum, within the veil, where He Himself alone must shine like the Shechinah, and reign on the mercy-seat. There must be a glorious high throne within our spirits, where the true Solomon alone must sit; the lions of watchful zeal must guard each step of it. There must He, the King in His beauty, sit enthroned, sole monarch of the heart's affection. (Flashes of Thought)
T. G. Selby has the following thoughts on The Divine Jealousy (Exodus 34:14)
STUDY THE SCRIPTURES
You will derive the maximum spiritual benefit if you take time to go through these passages and ask the 5W's and H type questions (5W'S & H). As the Spirit illuminates the various aspects of God's attribute of jealousy, remember that you have now have the responsibility to respond to this great truth. This is a simple study but it can be life changing!
Ex 20:4, 5,7; 34:13, 14; Nu 25:11 Dt 4:23,24; 5:9,11; 6:15; 29:20; 32:16,21; Jos 24:19; 1Ki 14:22, 23, 24, 2Chr 16:7, 8, 9, 10; Ps 78:58; 79:5, 6 Isa 30:1,2; 31:1,3; Ezek 16:42, 23:25; 36:5;6, 39:19, 39:25; Joel 2:18; Nah 1:2; Zeph 1:18, 3:8, Zech 1:14; 8:2, 1Cor 10:21, 22, Jas 4:4, 5 (You are strongly encouraged to carry out your own observations of these passages before you look at the notes).
Exodus 20:4-7 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them (idols); for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. 7 "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
Ex 34:13,14 But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (See C H Spurgeon's Sermon on Exodus 34:14 - A Jealous God)
Dt 4:23 "So watch yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the LORD your God has commanded you. 24 "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Dt 5:9 'You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 10 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. 11 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
Dt 6:14 "You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,15 for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.
Dt 32:16 "They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17 "They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread.
18 "You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth.
19 "And the LORD saw this, and spurned them Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.
20 "Then He said, 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness.
21 'They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation
Josh 24:19 Then Joshua said to the people, "You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.
APPLICATION OF THE TRUTH ABOUT DIVINE JEALOUSY: Examine your life style honestly and prayerfully. Have other persons, places or things assumed a more prominent status or role in your life than your relationship with the Lord God Almighty, the eternal, immutable Lover of your soul? If so, take some decisive and concrete steps (under grace not law, cp Ro 6:14-note, 2Co 3:5, 6) to cast out and destroy the "idols" in your life and give to Him the high and lofty position He alone deserves. Your daily choices will demonstrate whether you have done only as lip service! Are you jealous/zealous for the spiritual welfare of other believers? One way to express your zeal for other saints is to beseech God that they might grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (cp 2Pe 3:18-note)
C H Spurgeon's Sermon on Exodus 34:14 - A Jealous God
Justice is God's fair and impartial treatment of all people. The justice of God is a necessary correlate of His holiness or moral excellence. Since God is infinitely and eternally perfect, He must be impartial in His judgments and always treat His creatures with equity. Or as Abraham affirmed…
God is just and He always acts in a way consistent with the requirements of His character as revealed in His law. He rules His creation with rectitude, He keeps His word, He renders to all His creatures their due. God is just and fair, completely rational and predictable in His dealings, without any shadow of capriciousness.
Webster's defines JUSTICE as
Nelson's New Illustrated Dictionary adds:
Easton's Bible Dictionary defines
IS GOD UNFAIR? All His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He. —Deuteronomy 32:4 A couple I knew some years ago questioned God's fairness after both of their school-aged children were killed in auto accidents within a period of 3 years. Like most parents, they had anticipated much happiness with their son and daughter. Their friends saw their own children graduate from high school, but these parents were deprived of that joy. I wonder if the family of the apostle James may have questioned God's fairness too. He was executed, but Peter was miraculously rescued from the same fate (Acts 12:2,5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). It's true that life is often unfair. Some seem to be blessed with far more opportunities than others, but let's not blame God. These injustices are here because mankind's sin has invaded God's creation. The Lord allows them, but He has not caused them. He grieves over them more than we do, loves us equally, has made eternal salvation available to all, and will judge everyone by the principle: "To whom much is given, from him much will be required" (Luke 12:48). At the end of time, the Lord will right all the wrongs of the ages, and even the people most deprived and mistreated in this life will be satisfied with God's justice. Ultimately, no one will have reason to accuse Him of being unfair. —H V Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Life can be lived with joy and song
We can endure life's wrongs,
V-Day - "As believers in Christ, we know that a Victory Day is coming. The forces of Satan have caused immeasurable suffering in their war against God. It will get worse in the end times. But one day the Lord Jesus will lead the armies of heaven to do battle with the hordes of the devil. The battle will be short and decisive. Jesus Christ will be victorious. We don't know when this will happen. But we can be confident that God will someday bring about ultimate justice and Christ will reign over all the world. Our Victory Day is coming!" --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
A glorious day of victory is nearing,
When Christ the Captain of the host appears!
He said that one day He would be returning--
Our great anticipation through the years! --Hess
Someday the scales of justice will be perfectly balanced
Quotes from Spurgeon on "JUSTICE":
"The promise is fulfill'd,
Commenting on Isaiah 54:11 Spurgeon writes that…
Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray once informed a man who had appeared before him in a lower court and had escaped conviction on a technicality, “?I know that you are guilty and you know it, and I wish you to remember that one day you will stand before a better and wiser Judge, and that there you will be dealt with according to JUSTICE & not according to law.?”
Grace is getting what we do not deserve.
Justice is getting what we do deserve.
Mercy is not getting what we do deserve.
A wise and just ruler established a series of laws for his people to follow. One day his mother broke one of the laws and was brought to the ruler after being caught. The penalty was twenty lashes. How could the ruler remain just and still fulfill the demands of his love for his mother? He took the lashes on his own back. JUSTICE was satisfied, while love was revealed in full measure.
The story has been told of a man who was caught and taken to court because he had stolen a loaf of bread. When the judge investigated, he found out that the man had no job, and his family was hungry. He had tried unsuccessfully to get work and finally, to feed his family, he had stolen a loaf of bread. Although recognizing the extenuating circumstances, the judge said, “I’m sorry, but the law can make no exceptions. You stole, and therefore I have to punish you. I order you to pay a fine of ten dollars.” He then continued, “But I want to pay the fine myself.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out a ten-dollar bill, and handed it to the man. As soon as the man took the money, the judge said, “Now I also want to remit the fine.” That is, the man could keep the money. “Furthermore, I am going to instruct the bailiff to pass around a hat to everyone in this courtroom, and I am fining everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a city where a man has to steal in order to have bread to eat.” The money was collected and given to the defendant. This is an excellent example of JUSTICE being meted out in full and paid in full—while mercy and grace were also enacted in full measure. (Green, M. P. 1989. Illustrations for Biblical Preaching)
Mercy or Justice - It has always been my experience that those who have not yet believed in Christ react in one of two ways at the thought of God's judgment. Some simply refuse to believe it. They think quite wrongly, I believe, that judgment is inconsistent with God's character. "God is love," they argue; "how can a loving God condemn anyone?" The answer to this view is that God's love is not inconsistent with his judgment and that, whatever we may think about the matter, the Bible quite obviously speaks of these two themes as compatible.
John Blanchard in a thought related to Boice's comments said it well…
Or as another has said
As God did not at first choose you because you were high, so He will not forsake you because you are low. -- Puritan William Secker
Louis Berkhof discusses God's Justice under the Topic The Righteousness of God…
The Justice of God
DECLARED TO BE
Plenteous Job 37:23
Incomparable -Job 4:1
Incorruptible -Dt 10:17 ; 2Chr 19:7
Impartial -2Chr 19:7 ; Je 32:19
Unfailing -Zeph 3:5
Undeviating -Job 8:3; 34:12
Without respect of persons -Ro 2:11 ; Col 3:25 ; 1Pe 1:17
The habitation of his throne -Ps 89:14
Forgiving sins -1Jn 1:9
Redemption -Ro 3:26
His government -Ps 9:4 ; Je 9:24
His judgments -Ge 18:25 ; Re 19:2
All his ways -Ezek 18:25,29
The final judgment -Acts 17:31
Other passages - Ps 103:6 Pr 16:11 Jn 5:30 Ro 2:2 Re 15:3
Attributes of God - The Justice of God - by Dr S Lewis Johnson - Recommended Resource - includes Mp3, Pdf or MS Word document. This is only one study out of over 100 in depth lectures by Dr Johnson on Systematic Theology including studies of the doctrines of God, Christ, the Spirit, Prayer, Salvation, etc. (click for this extensive list)
Knowing God Through Job 40 page booklet from Radio Bible Class
Justice of God by Thomas Watson (scroll down)
Here Comes the Judge by Michael Horton
Moody Bible Institute's devotional Today in the Word - See this link for the beginning of a month long discussion of the Justice of God. After you have read the first devotional click NEXT PAGE at the bottom of the page to scroll through all 30 devotionals. Today in the Word often has some excellent illustrations and always has sound Biblically based discussions.
Longsuffering or patience is a Divine title for God, Paul referring to Him as the God of patience (KJV) (Ro 15:5-note).
Believers are called to
The next time you are tempted to seek revenge on one who has wronged you, recall the infinite patience and longsuffering He has granted to you! (see study of the Beatitude "Blessed are the merciful" Mt 5:7-note, Lesson 4: Matthew 5:6-8)
God is patient or long-suffering and not at all precipitous or unreasonable in His dealings with sinful, rebellious mankind. In the Old Testament, God is repeatedly described as "slow to anger". God's longsuffering is that power which He exercises over Himself, allowing Him to bear with sinners, forbearing long in punishing them. Nahum in his oracle against Nineveh records that
The Puritan Stephen Charnock contrasts this "slow to anger" attribute of God with men, writing that
The Greek word "makrothumos" translates the Hebrew phrase "slow to anger" in Nahum 1:3 and provides added insights into God's longsuffering. Makrothumos is derived from makros meaning long and thumos meaning wrath or anger, which is literally a "long anger." What a picture of God's patience -- His anger praise God, has a "slow burn" or a "long fuse" so to speak.
Makrothumos emphasizes God's restraint even in the face of actions and circumstances that clearly arouse His holy wrath. God remains controlled even when confronted with presumptuous, bold faced provocation! God's longsuffering thus not only is slow to anger but also slow to punish! It is interesting to note that longsuffering is the first quality mentioned in Paul's definition of "love" -
This same Greek word group (makrothumos, makrothumeo, makrothumia) translates "slow to anger" in many OT passages (see below)…
In Numbers 14 Israel had spurned Jehovah refusing to believe His promise of a promised land, thus prompting Him to decree that He would
Moses' interceded with Him, basing his appeal on the fact that Jehovah was "slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression" (Nu 14:18), the very phrase that God had earlier applied to Himself when He passed in front of Moses declaring Himself as
God's longsuffering was strikingly displayed toward sinners prior to the Flood. In Genesis Jehovah declared that His
In other words God gave all of corrupt mankind a "reprieve" of 120 years before He brought irrevocable judgment via the worldwide Flood, Peter recording that the world was
Not only did God wait patiently but He also gave the ancient world a clear witness of the way of salvation through
Luke adds that
In His longsuffering God did all of this even though most of mankind
Paul further emphasized the restraining aspect of God's patience asking the rhetorical question
God could have justly destroyed every sinner (which is all of us) the first time (and every time) they sinned (which we all do!). Instead He patiently endured (and continues to endure) rebellion rather than giving sinners what every sin deserves (immediately) -- eternal punishment! God continues to endure the unbelief, rejection, hatred, blasphemy, and iniquity, while patiently allowing time for repentance, Peter writing that
God's longsuffering is imminently practical, but it is not forever. How tragic that the wicked misinterpret God's longsuffering, for Solomon records that
Note that although God's patience may be related to mercy, it is distinguished from it in Scripture, the Psalmist declaring
However since the longsuffering of God is a display of His mercy, it may not always be easy to discriminate.
The Puritan, Stephen Charnock, has defined God's patience as
The TDNT entry adds that
As alluded to earlier, inherent in God's longsuffering is His power of self-restraint -- study the following passages observing for the truth or facts that are obvious about the patience of God, and interrogating the text with the 5W's & H questions (as utilized in Inductive Bible Study)
The Patience of God by A. W. Pink
The Justice of God by A.W. Tozer
The Story of a Stiff-Necked People (God's Patience) by John Piper
The God of Patience by Octavius Winslow
Action To Take: List some specific unbelievers whom you would like to see trust Christ as Saviour. Then begin to pray that God will give them a sense of His long-suffering and use it to bring them to Himself. Think of some recent occasions when you have been short-tempered with people. Go to them personally, ask their forgiveness, and express to them your desire to become more long-suffering.
|The Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology writes that…
Spurgeon on love…
Action To Take: Look for evidences of God’s love for you all throughout the day, and remind yourself often that you are the object of His endless love. Tell several others during the day that God loves them.
Is a part of his character -2Co 13:11; 1Jn 4:8
Christ, the especial object of -Jn 15:9; 17:26
Christ abides in -Jn 15:10
Sovereign -Dt 7:8; 10:15
Great -Ep 2:4
Abiding -Zeph 3:17
Unfailing -Is 49:15,16
Unalienable -Ro 8:39
Constraining -Ho 11:4
Everlasting -Je 31:3
Irrespective of merit -Dt 7:7; Job 7:17
Perishing sinners -John 3:16; Titus 3:4
His saints -John 16:27; 17:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 John 4:16
The destitute -Deuteronomy 10:18
The cheerful giver -2 Corinthians 9:7
The giving of Christ -John 3:16
The sending of Christ -1 John 4:9
Christ’s dying for us while sinners -Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10
Election -Malachi 1:2,3; Romans 9:11-13
Adoption -1 John 3:1
Redemption -Isaiah 43:3,4; 63:9
Freeness of salvation Titus 3:4-7
Forgiving sin -Isaiah 38:17
Quickening of souls -Ephesians 2:4,5
Drawing us to himself -Hosea 11:4
Temporal blessings -Deuteronomy 7:13
Chastisements -Hebrews 12:6
Defeating evil counsels -Deuteronomy 23:5
Shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit -Romans 5:5
Saints know and believe -1 John 4:16
Saints should abide in -Jude 1:21
PERFECTED IN SAINTS
By obedience -1 John 2:5
By brotherly love -1 John 4:12
The source of our love to him -1 John 4:19
To be sought in prayer -2 Corinthians 13:14
Divine Love by C H Spurgeon
The Love of God by A. W. Pink
The God of Love by Octavius Winslow
Sense and Nonsense About God's Love - 1John 4:8 by Ray Pritchard (recommended)
The Love of God by A. W. Tozer
The Love Of God by David Legge
From John Piper…
Mercy is when that which is deserved is withheld to the benefit of the object of the mercy. God has demonstrated this attribute in abundance with respect to mankind. We from nearly the beginning of our existence have deserved nothing but wrath; having sinned and fallen short of eternal life in glory, we can do nothing to commend ourselves to or defend ourselves before God. But thankfully, God has been so amazing in His mercy. Over and against merely having the mercy to allow us to live out our miserable lives without destroying us instantly, God has chosen us to greatness and glory by the hand of His Son. The believer finds himself in Christ and enjoys full well the fruits of God's mercy. Source: Blue Letter Bible
ISBE Entry for Mercy, Merciful…
Hebrew = checedh, racham, chanan; Greek = eleos, eleeo, oiktirmos
"Mercy" is a distinctive Bible word characterizing God as revealed to men.
In the Old Testament mercy is most often the translation of checedh (hesed, heced), "kindness," "loving-kindness" (see Lovingkindness), but rachamim, literally, "bowels" (the sympathetic region), and chanan, "to be inclined to," "to be gracious," are also frequently translated "mercy"; eleos, "kindness," "beneficence," and eleeo, "to show kindness," are the chief words rendering "mercy" in the New Testament; oiktirmos, "pity," "compassion," occurs a few times, also oiktirmon (see oiktirmos), "pitiful," eleemon, "kind," "compassionate," twice; hileos, "forgiving," and anileos, "not forgiving," "without mercy," once each (Heb 8:12; Jas 2:13).
(1) Mercy is…
(a) an essential quality of God (Ex 34:6,7; Dt 4:31; Ps 62:12, etc.); it is His delight (Mic 7:18,20; Ps 52:8); He is "the Father of mercies" (2Cor 1:3), "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4), "full of pity, and merciful" (Jas 5:11);
(b) associated with forgiveness (Ex 34:7; Nu 14:18; 1 Tim 1:13,16);
(c) associated with His forbearance (Ps 145:8, "Yahweh is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great lovingkindness"; compare Ro 2:4; 11:32);
(d) associated with His covenant (1 Ki 8:23; Neh 1:5), with His justice (Ps 101:1), with His faithfulness (Ps 89:24), with His truth (Ps 108:4); mercy and truth are united in Pr 3:3; 14:22, etc. (in Ps 85:10 we have "Mercy and truth are met together");
(e) goes forth to all (Ps 145:9, "Yahweh is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works"; compare Ps 145:16, "Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing," the Revised Version margin "satisfiest every living thing with favor");
(f) shows itself in pitying help (Ex 3:7; Ezr 9:9f), supremely in Christ and His salvation (Lk 1:50,54,58; Ep 2:4);
(g) abundant, practically infinite (Ps 86:5,15; 119:64);
(h) everlasting (1Ch 16:34,41; Ezr 3:11; Ps 100:5; 136 repeatedly).
(2) "Mercy" is used of man as well as of God, and is required on man's part toward man and beast (Dt 25:4; Ps 37:21; 109:16; Prov 12:10; Dan 4:27; Mic 6:8; Mt 5:7, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy"; 25:31-46; Lk 6:36, "Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful"; Lk 10:30 f, the Good Samaritan; Lk 14:12-16; Jas 3:17).
(3) In the New Testament "mercy" (eleos, usually the Septuagint translation of checedh) is associated with "grace" (charis) in the apostolical greetings and elsewhere. Trench points out that the difference between them is that the freeness of God's love is the central point of charis, while eleos has in view misery and its relief; charis is His free grace and gift displayed in the forgiveness of sins--extended to men as they are guilty; His eleos (is extended to them) as they are miserable. The lower creation may be the object of His mercy (eleos), but man alone of His grace (charis); he alone needs it and is capable of receiving it (See Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament for comparison of grace-charis and mercy-eleos).
(4) From all the foregoing it will be seen that mercy in God is not merely His pardon of offenders, but His attitude to man, and to the world generally, from which His pardoning mercy proceeds. The frequency with which mercy is enjoined on men is specially deserving of notice, with the exclusion of the unmerciful from sonship to the all-merciful Father and from the benefits of His mercifulness. Shakespeare's question, "How canst thou hope for mercy rendering none?" is fully warranted by our Lord's teaching and by Scripture in general; compare especially the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Mt 18:21-35).
(5) As the rule, the American Standard Revised Version has "lovingkindness" for "mercy" when checedh is used of God, and "kindness" when it is used of men in relation to each other. "Compassion" (translation of racham) is also in several instances substituted for "mercy" (Isa 9:17; 14:1; 27:11; Jer 13:14; 30:18), also "goodness" (translation of checedh referring to man) (Hos 4:1; 6:6). W. L. Walker
Spurgeon on Mercy
Philip H Towner writes that…
Mercy is a concept integral to an understanding of God's dealings with humankind. In English translations of the Bible, it comes to expression in phrases such as "to be merciful, " "to have mercy on, " or "to show mercy toward." The corresponding term, "merciful, " describes a quality of God and one that God requires of his people. The noun denotes compassion and love, not just feelings or emotions, as expressed in tangible ways…
The Old Testament. Mercy: A Part of God's Nature. Although people have the capacity for showing mercy, especially toward those with whom they already have a special relationship (1Kings 20:31; Isa 49:15; Jer 31:20; cf. 1 Macc 2:57), a lack of mercy is more natural to the human condition (Prov 5:9; 12:10; Isa 13:18; 47:6; Jer 6:23; 50:42; cf. Wisd. of Sol. 12:5). Mercy is, however, a quality intrinsic to the nature of God. It is for this reason that in some situations "merciful" was a sufficient description of God (Psalm 116:5; cf. Tobit 6:17). Sometimes it appears alongside other qualities as one expression of his nature that God's children particularly observe and recount (Exod 34:6; Deut 4:31; 2 Chron 30:9; Psalm 86:15; Dan 9:9; Jonah 4:2). The experience of God's people is that God's mercy, unlike human mercy, cannot be exhausted (2 Sam 24:14; Lam 3:22). Yet divine mercy is not blind or dumb; although God tolerated Israel's rebellion with mercy for a very long time (Neh 9:17, 19, 31; Jer 3:12), ultimately ungodliness in Israel was met by a withdrawal of God's mercy, leading to judgment (Lam 2:2, 21; Zech 1:12). But even in judgment and discipline God's mercy can be seen and hoped for (2 Sam 24:14; Psalm 57:1; Isa 55:7; 60:10; Jer 31:20; Hab 3:2; cf. Tobit 6:17), for it is part of the basic disposition of love toward his people, and it directs his actions ultimately in ways that benefit his people. (Read the full article in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
Mercy of God
The following material is a unique resource from Charles Simeon's massive (13,000 pages) collection of sermons entitled Horae Homileticae. If you are not familiar with this great man of God read ink to read John Piper's sketch of his life.
Never sought in vain, II. 590, 591.
How it is to be sought, II. 591, 592.
Displayed in the case of Manasseh, IV. 221;
Displayed to the most obstinate sinners, VIII. 490–492.
Marvellous, V. 39.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, V. 155–158.
Past mercies pleaded before God, I. 519–524.
Past mercies to be marked, II. 555;
Past mercies to be gratefully remembered, X. 564, 565;
Past mercies - the knowledge of them perpetuated, IX. 313–318.
Past mercies - How to be improved, III. 66.
Past mercies - Memorials of them, III. 145–150.
Past mercies -The duty of commemorating them, III. 150–154.
Past mercies to be to be thankfully acknowledged, IV. 11.
The believer adoring God for his mercies, V. 188–191.
Extent of the divine mercy, VI. 55.
Mercy and judgment grounds of praise, VI. 181–185.
The effects which national mercies should produce on us, VI. 220–222.
God the source of all our mercies, VI. 388, 389.
The acknowledgment of him in them, the truest source of the enjoyment of them, VI. 389.
A view of God in his providential mercies will encourage us to apply to him for the blessings of his grace, VI. 389, 390;
Temporal mercies a ground of praise, God the source of all our mercies VI. 512–516.
God more ready to shew mercy than to execute judgment, VII. 147.
To be praised for his mercies, especially on recovery from sickness, VII. 105–108.
Past mercies to be remembered, and made the ground of future expectations, VIII. 296, 297.
The contempt, with which God’s richest mercies are treated, IX. 105–110.
The mercy of God to his people, IX. 307–310.
His mercy contrasted with our sinfulness, IX. 311, 312.
The extent of God’s mercy on the renewed soul, IX. 380–386.
They are not given according to our merits, IX. 444–448.
Mercy preferred to sacrifice, X. 61–65.
The mercy of God delineated by Jonah, and illustrated in his history, X. 269–274.
The proper improvement of God’s mercies, X. 356–359.
The duty of thankfulness for them, X. 402–408.
The mercy of God, specially displayed in the incarnation of Christ, XI. 230.
Sure ground of hope for all who feel their need of mercy, XIV. 191.
God’s mercy to the vilest sinners, XVI. 166–170.
How Christians are to look for the mercy of Christ unto eternal life, XX. 570.
INTRINSIC PART OF GOD'S CHARACTER
Ex 34:6,7; Ps 62:12; Neh 9:17, Jon 4:2,10,11; 2Cor 1:3
Great -Numbers 14:18; Isaiah 54:7
Rich -Ephesians 2:4
Manifold -Nehemiah 9:27; Lamentations 3:32
Plenteous -Psalms 86:5,15; 103:8
Abundant -1 Peter 1:3
Sure -Isaiah 55:3; Micah 7:20
Everlasting -1 Chr 16:34; Ps 89:28; 106:1; 107:1; 136:1-26
Tender -Psalms 25:6; 103:4; Luke 1:78
New every morning -Lamentations 3:23
High as heaven -Psalms 36:5; 103:11
Filling the earth -Psalms 119:64
Over all his works -Psalms 145:9
IS GOD'S DELIGHT-Micah 7:18
A GROUND OF HOPE-Psalms 130:7; 147:11
A GROUND OF TRUST -Psalms 52:8
Mercy seat -Exodus 25:17
In the sending of Christ -Luke 1:78
In salvation -Titus 3:5
In long-suffering -Lamentations 3:22; Daniel 9:9
To his people -Deuteronomy 32:43; 1 Kings 8:23
To them that fear him -Psalms 103:17; Luke 1:50
To returning backsliders -Jeremiah 3:12; Hosea 14:4; Joel 2:13
To repentant sinners -Ps 32:5; Pr 28:13; Is 55:7; Lk 15:18-20
To the afflicted -Isaiah 49:13; 54:7
To the fatherless -Hosea 14:3
To whom he will -Hosea 2:23; Romans 9:15,18
With everlasting kindness -Isaiah 54:8
Sought for ourselves -Psalms 6:2
Sought for others -Galatians 6:16; 1Ti 1:2; 2Ti 1:18
Pleaded in prayer -Psalms 6:4; 25:6; 51:1
Rejoiced in -Psalms 31:7
Magnified -1 Chr 16:34; Ps 115:1; 118:1-4,29; Jer 33:11
Lot -Genesis 19:16,19
Epaphroditus -Philippians 2:27
Paul -1 Timothy 1:13
HYMNS THAT RELATE TO
Notes on Greek word for mercy eleos
Commentary notes on Matthew 5:7
Mercy - notes by C H Spurgeon
The Mercy of God by A. W. Tozer
The Mercy of God by Thomas Watson (scroll down)
The Unfailing Mercy of God - notes by D. H. Kuiper
The Lord, a God Merciful and Gracious (Ex 34:1-10) by John Piper
Thank God for the Mercies of Christ by John Piper
The Mercy of God by A. W. Pink
Mercy of God by Barry Horner
The Mercy Of God by David Legge