The Foucault pendulum greets visitors of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles with its grandeur and precision. The massive bronze ball is suspended from a 40 foot long cable and is a visible representation of the earth’s rotation. The nature of the pendulum is consistently swinging back and forth, never resting at a fixed point. Our culture encourages pendulum living. A recent example of this is the contrast between December and January. First a month filled with indulgence in food, social activities, and materialism only to be followed by a restricting New Year’s resolution to cut back. And not only our culture, but such is human nature!
Praise God that He is not a pendulum, swinging back and forth between extremes. No, our Lord is immutable, His nature is unchanging. When He is exhibiting His love, His justice does not cease. His sovereignty and our free will are not a contradiction in His mind. Our lack of knowledge does not negate the fact that He is all-knowing. Numbers 23:19 says, “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?” Even the name the Lord identifies Himself with, “I AM WHO I AM,” implies the constancy of His character.
If the Lord then is unchangeable, it stands to reason that the Word He has recorded is immutable as well. After his reflection on everything which happens “under the sun,” Solomon concludes in the book of Ecclesiastes, “The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd.” There is one Word whose nails are firmly fixed and it is the Bible. Jesus Himself tells the disciples on the Mount of Olives, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away (Matthew 24:35).”
God and His Word are immutable, so what course of action does the reader take from here? If one’s faith is in this world or their own righteousness (of which God deems “filthy rags”), there will be great disappointment come judgment day. The good work which will continue on into eternity is that which Jesus Christ performed when He died on the cross and was raised from the dead, bearing the punishment of the sin of the world and defeating death. If one has already believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, knowledge of God’s immutability is one aspect of maturing in Christ-likeness. Our doctrine and actions should be founded upon the One who does not change, not upon our shifting opinions or as a reaction to the world. As such, the Church should not forsake love in the pursuit of right doctrine nor forsake right doctrine in the pursuit of love.
Until the day we arrive in our heavenly home man is subject to the swinging pendulum of the sin nature. As a Christian, do not deceive yourself or call Him a liar by believing that you can be without sin (1 John 1:8, 10). Yet do not swing to the other extreme of forsaking righteousness to walk in the flesh. Walk by the Spirit because God’s unchanging Word tells us that the Spirit and the flesh are opposed to each other. And finally, “…let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29).”