Does The Bible Matter Today?
Anyone ever read the Bible and wondered what link it had to us today? Anyone who has ever sought to engage others in gospel-centered conversations has heard something like this as a reason for not reading or submitting to the Bible, that the Bible is outdated, irrelevant, expired, doesn't apply to us today, the world has changed and the times have changed and so the Bible just doesn't link up to today's times. Or so they think.
To be sure times have changed, there is no denying that. Our times and culture in many ways are different than those that the prophets lived in, that the first disciples lived in, even different than they were 500 year ago, even 250 years ago. If we just think about America and how much it has changed over just a few hundred years of its existence, it is astonishing.
Here is what we must remember, and here is what we can use to bridge this seeming gap - the link that connects us and times prior is not cultural similarities, or anything of the like. For indeed these are constantly changing.
THE LINK BETWEEN THEN AND NOW IS GOD HIMSELF, WHO DOES NOT CHANGE.
The God with whom they had to do is the same God with whom we have to do. That is the link we must connect and keep connected. Exactly the same one true God exists and rules and demands repentance today as did in their days past. His gospel remains true even today.
God does not change. God is IMMUTABLE. And upon this everything rests in the sense that God can be trusted. Let me show us how and why the fact that God does not change is so important:
1.God's life does not change. Psalm 93:2 declares God is "from all eternity". Jeremiah 10:10 declares God is the "eternal King". Romans 1:23 declares "that God is "the immortal God". Psalm 90:2 declares "before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 102:26-27 declares about God that though everything wears out, "but you remain the same, and your years will never end."
Created things have a beginning and an end, but not their Creator. When children ask "who made God?", the answer is that God did not need to be made, for He was always and always will be there. He exists forever, and He is always the same. As AW Pink famously said, "God cannot change for the better, for He already is perfect, and being perfect, God cannot change for the worse." Fundamental to everything else is that God does not change.
2.God's character does not change. Nothing can nor will alter the character of God. You and I know nothing of this as we are always changing in some way(s). Yet in Exodus 3:14 God announced His name to Moses as "I AM WHO I AM". This is a declaration of God's unchanging self-existence. James 1:17 declares that God is one with whom "there is no variation or shifting of shadows." God does not change, and therefore all generations are connected in this way, that the same God rules and reigns over them. He is not moody, not wishy-washy. God can be utterly relied upon no matter the times or the circumstances.
- God's truth does not change. What God says stands forever. They are valid thru all generations and times. There are no circumstances that prompt God to take back what He has said, no change in His thinking that would cause Him to recant, no new information He gains that would amend what He has said. Is. 40:6-8 declares "the grass withers ... but the word of our God stands forever." Ps. 119:89, 151-152 declares that God's word is "eternal and true." The word here for "true" points to "stability".
Here again is the link - God's promises, demands, statements all remain true for us today as they did for every other person and are sealed with Christ's blood. As John 10:35 declares, "the Scripture cannot be broken". Nothing can annul God's truth.
- God's ways do not change. This means that God continues to act towards sinful men and women in the way that He does in the Bible story and all times. He still hates sin, He is still holy, Still demands that the only way that someone can come to Him is thru Christ, still demands repentance, etc. See the link for all times? God is perfectly consistent. Always. Not one gospel then and another now. Not one view of marriage then and another now, not one view of gender then and another now, not one purpose for His creation then and another now. Same for all times. Nothing of today exempts nor changes this.
- God's purposes do not change. Read Numbers 23:19 this morning and meditate on that truth. God does not lie, He does not speak and then not act, there are no promises that He will not fill, never needs to alter a plan due to something coming up that He didn't account for. WHY? Because God's plans are made with complete knowledge and control which extends beyond time. Therefore there can be no unexpected developments that take Him by surprise or that alter what He does or has planned.
AW Pink said the following regarding this: "One of two things cause a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of of foresight to execute them. But as God is both omniscient (all knowing) and omnipotent (all powerful) there is never any need for him to reverse his decrees."
Listen to Psalm 33:11, "The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations."
What God does in time, He planned for all eternity. And all that He planned in eternity He carries out in time. All that He has committed to do in His Word will be done. Be assured in this today believer. Let God's character bind all things.
Listen - to be sure, there are passages such as Gen. 6:6-7; 1 Sam. 15:11; 2 Sam. 24:16; Jonah 3:10; Joel 2:13-14 which speak of God "repenting". In these cases God did something different than He said He would do, based upon someone's reaction to a treatment or command. But here is the point - there is no suggestion in any of these instances that this reaction was not foreseen, nor that it took God by surprise, nor that it was not in His eternal plan, and in all of this, God's character did not change. Nothing about God changed.
This is illustrated in every believer's life in that prior to repentance, God's wrath rightly sat upon you due your sin. Your sentence upon you due your sin was death. And yet when you repented, that wrath was replaced with love and adoption and an eternal inheritance and life. Nothing of this implies that God changed. Nothing of this implies lack of knowledge or anything lacking in God. Nothing of this undermines His character. In fact, it assures us of His character because that is exactly what He promised to do from even the days of Abraham and His covenant then in Gen.12.
God has promised that "whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved." That stands forever, no matter what a person has done, because it rests upon God and His character, not you and me. And God does not change.
As Hebrews 13:8 declares "He is the same yesterday and today and forever". That too is true of Christ. Even the gospel rests firmly here.
All people are connected in all times in this - God does not change. Trusting Him, fellowship with Him, living by faith, standing on His promises, the gospel, all are the same realities today as they have always been for all times. And what we see in the Bible is that God remains faithful and true and does not change.
May this bring us comfort as we face even what we face today. May we draw great hope and comfort for today as we read the Bible (Romans 15:4) knowing that God does not change. May our confidence in the gospel and God 's promises and presence thru this gospel provide hope for us and to those we share this gospel with. May God by His grace open their eyes to this one true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent.
THE LINK BETWEEN THEN AND NOW IS GOD HIMSELF, WHO DOES NOT CHANGE.