3 Bible Teachings about Change

This blog is an excerpt from Unfailing: God's Assurance for Times of Change by Christopher M. Kennedy. 

The Bible is all about change. God created all things good. Then Adam and Eve fell into sin, tragically altering the relationship between the Creator and His creation. When God sent Jesus into the world, a wonderful reversal happened! By dying for our sins and rising in victory, Jesus reconciled us to God. Salvation itself is change!

Change is part of life, including our life with God. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we grow in faith—we don’t stay the same. Through study and reflection, we gain a more mature understanding of His Word. Fittingly, the Bible provides many insights about change.

1. God Does Not Change

The Bible clearly states that God does not change. Change happens within the universe He created, but God stands outside of creation. He is completely sufficient in every way. God is perfect. Nothing about Him could be improved upon, so He stays the way He is. This is the doctrine of immutability.

Contrasting the transiency of the heavens and the earth with the permanence of God, the psalmist wrote,

They will perish, but You will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but You are the same, and Your years have no end. (Psalm 102:26–27)

God’s unchanging nature is good news! He is always loving. “His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1). He is always merciful, always kind, always forgiving. You can always count on God for these things.

How reassuring it is to know that these qualities of God are consistent and reliable! Perhaps you’ve experienced the opposite with people. Maybe someone who once was a trusted friend was very positive but became more critical and irritable over time. Or maybe you’ve been in a relationship that started out strong, but both of you changed over time and drifted apart. One day at the gym, I ran into a former neighbor. He candidly shared with me struggles in his marriage, confiding sadly, “She’s not the same person I married.” Sometimes people change so much that they seem like totally different people.

It can feel confusing as we seek to understand and love them …

God promises to be your steady rock when your world is in flux. He continues to supply us with all we need out of His boundless goodness.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

2. How We Change as Humans

The Bible clearly presents God as unchanging—and that’s a reason for comfort! By contrast, the Bible points out repeatedly the mutability, or changing nature, of humanity.

Change is a fact of life for mortal beings in physical bodies. In 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul writes that “our outer self is wasting away.” As we age, the “wasting away” becomes more and more pronounced. Our bodies change. Gravity messes up our physique. We wrinkle.

We develop issues with blood pressure. Like a vehicle with high mileage, our parts wear out and need replacement—hips, knees, shoulders. One church member complained to her doctor about nagging back pain. The doctor said he could give her medication to minimize the pain but not to eliminate it. “You can’t die of a bad back,” he told her playfully.

Physical deterioration is one sign of our mutability, our propensity to change. It’s also true that our circumstances change. Families grow with births and marriages, and families shrink with deaths and divorces. We leave one job and begin a new one. Our bank account fluctuates as funds come in and go out (and usually it’s too much going out!). Wonderful neighbors move away, and rowdy neighbors move in, or the opposite—the noisy neighbors finally leave, and much quieter residents take their place! …

Because Jesus’ circumstances changed from death to life, your circumstances also changed from death to life. Though your outer self is wasting away, your “inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Baptized into His name, you are freed from the curse of sin and bound for heaven. Eternity awaits! Resurrection awaits! In Christ, change is here and change is coming, and it’s all for the good!

3. God Is in Control

Some seasons in Jesus’ life were more difficult than others. For us, some seasons are enjoyable, filled with happiness. Others come with struggles marked by sadness and confusion.

A single change, or a series of changes, can bring us into a new season of life. In most cases, we don’t decide when a season begins or ends. Changes can be a frustrating reminder that we don’t control every factor of our lives. At the same time, changes remind us who is in control: God.

In seasons of change, people in the Bible learned who was really in control. . . 

And then there’s Samuel. Many things in his life were beyond his control. He was born during the tumultuous period of the judges, when the people had forsaken God’s laws and elevated their own desires as supreme. As a boy, Samuel didn’t apply for a job as a prophet; God called Samuel and gave him vital messages to communicate to Israel. The people demanded a king—not what Samuel had in mind for them. Instead of looking to God’s prophet as their leader, a truly unique arrangement, they wanted to be just like all the other nations with a king leading them into battle. To Samuel’s disappointment, the people got what they demanded. Samuel’s role changed. But God’s role didn’t. The Lord was sovereign over the events of Samuel’s life—dramatic events, pivotal events.

Blog post adapted from Unfailing: God's Assurance for Times of Change copyright © 2024 Christopher M. Kennedy. Published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. 

Scripture: ESV®

124676Read more about change and the prophet Samuel in Unfailing: God's Assurance for Times of Change

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Rev. Christopher Kennedy is the senior pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, School, and Child Care in San Antonio, Texas. He is blessed beyond measure to be married to Ashley and to have the four most wonderful children on the planet. He holds a master of divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, and a doctor of ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas.

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