The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever
DG Blog #25
In the last seven blogs, I addressed the attribute of God’s justice and righteous judgment upon ungodly nations. Some believe this attribute of God is confined to the God of the Old Testament, but not the God of the New and, therefore, no longer applies to this side of the cross. This implies then that God can change in the same way humans can change. But God is not human. He is “other than.”
If at any time an attribute of God were to diminish, then his attribute of immutability changes, too. I am the Lord, I change not (Malachi 3:6). None of God’s attributes change—not ever. Why? Because they are all immutable. The attributes of God revealed to us in his Word are always perfectly aligned, perfectly consistent, and perfectly united in everything he does. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always act in one accord in every thought, word, and deed.
Nothing God the Father did in the Old Testament, in regard to retribution upon the wicked, or a wicked nation, was done apart or separate from Jesus, the Word eternal, or the Holy Spirit. God’s righteous anger upon the ungodly always involves harmony within the Godhead. In the Old Testament, when God sent plagues, blight, locusts, or wiped out 185,000 Assyrian enemies of Israel by an angel (2 Kings 19:35; Isa. 37:36), the eternal Word didn’t say to himself, “I don’t like my Father being angry and wrathful like this. The day will come when I come to help people see my Father’s merciful side under the new covenant I’ll bring and put an end to his wrathful anger by my blood.”
How is it possible that the Son, the second member of the Trinity, would be in any disagreement about God’s actions in the Old Testament? How can you reconcile the idea of two versions of God—i.e., an angry, temper-tantrum God in the Old Testament, and a better version of God in the New—if Jesus in his human form spoke and did what he saw the Father do. Had the Father changed in his attributes? Did he decide to amplify his attribute of mercy and diminish his justness in a new covenant era? No, because the Father has never changed in the same way the Son, the Eternal Word of the Godhead, has never changed. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Does this Hebrew passage apply only to the New Testament Son of God? No. Jesus Christ of the New Covenant is the same as the Eternal Word in the Old Testament.
The covenants of the Old Testament always offered grace and mercy to those who obeyed and came under their protection. As a matter of fact, God’s grace is demonstrated four times more in the Old Testament than in the New. One needs only to read the Book of Hosea to see his grace in action. So I contend that there are not two versions of God. There is not an angry God of the Old Testament and a more Christlike God of the New. As it is written: “I am the Lord, I change not!”
In all of God’s actions in the affairs of humanity through history, God consistently acts like himself. The God of the Old and New Testament is neither less nor more in any attribute because it is impossible for God to be anything “other than” he is and always has been.
Jesus, the Word made Flesh, was united in thought, word, and deed (as was the Holy Spirit) in every action done in the Old Testament to keep God’s Name holy when his people chose to profane it. God’s goodness and God’s justice will always complement each other because there would be no goodness of God, no mercy of God if there were no justice of God. “When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.”—Ecclesiastes 8:11. The authority of the justice system comes directly from God’s authority to keep at bay the schemes and acts of the wicked (Romans 13:1-5). Lawlessness unchecked always ends in anarchy, chaos, and dystopia.
God’s justice is always an act of mercy to preserve and protect the righteous and the innocent from the injustices of the wicked. He rewards them according to what they have done. In light of this, I must never forget that by God’s mercy, I have been spared from that same justice I deserved because Jesus took the brunt of God’s wrath upon himself. Had I not embraced and received this gift of salvation, I would still be dead in my trespasses and sins as an object of God’s wrath to come (John 3:36; Romans 1:8; 2:5-11; Colossians 3:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:10). Let us reach the lost in this hour, for they don’t know their left hand from their right.
Grace and Peace!