In what ways is God immutable?

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Answer

God's immutable in his essence and in his character. So, as God, he's fundamentally unchanging. He's fundamentally self-sufficient. He's fundamentally not dependent on his creation. In his character, he's fundamentally faithful, he's fundamentally committed to keeping his promises, so we can rely on him in those capacities. Because God is changeless in his essence and changeless in his character, we can also be confident that, in keeping those promises that he has pledged himself to keep, God will change in relationship to his creatures in ways that are appropriate, the most obvious example of that being God's keeping the promise to forgive sinners, to forgive unrepentant sinners. And so God puts the promise out there that when a sinner lays hold of the promise of salvation . The most obvious example is to forgive sinners. When a sinner lays hold of the promise of salvation, it's not just a change on the part of the sinner, but God changes in relationship to the sinner from a status of wrath and judgment to a status of peace and reconciliation. Now, God's keeping that promise, which involves changing in relationship to the sinner, is predicated or based on the very fact that God is changeless in his character and his essence. It is the fact that God is reliable in his promise keeping yesterday, today, and tomorrow that a sinner can know that on any day he or she repents, that promise stands for him or her and that God will change in his disposition from wrath to reconciliation.

Answer by Dr. Rob Lister

Dr. Rob Lister joined the faculty of the Talbot School of Theology in 2006 (M.Div, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, B.A., The Citadel, and Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary).