With the passing of each year we observe changes in our lives and in the world about us. While some of the changes are good and beneficial, others are not. Were it not for the assurance of the abiding presence of our unchangeable Lord, our spirits would be greatly distressed and our hearts would melt out of fear and worry.
The sure and certain Word of our God comforts us in the knowledge that the Lord Jesus who rules over all things for our sake (see Ephesians 1:22,23) is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), and that He has given us this unfailing promise: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
In one of our treasured hymns we make the following observation and plea to the LORD our God: “Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou, who changest not, abide with me!”
The daily news brings alarming reports of a deteriorating economy, coupled with mind — boggling government indebtedness. We cannot help but be concerned about how these changes could adversely affect our employment and our financial security. Looking into the future, we think about how our children will fare if the trend is not drastically turned around.
As we listen to commentators and pundits talk about the kind of cure that is needed in our country, above all it is important to keep in mind our almighty, all-knowing, all-wise God who is always faithful to provide for us and sustain us (Matthew 6:25-34).
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). The psalmist David testifies of God’s faithfulness to His people and His unchanging ways, as he writes, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).
The decay of morals in our society seeks to deal major blows to God’s sacred institution of marriage and His divinely ordained nuclear family. Responding to recent findings, a newspaper article posed the question, “Is marriage becoming obsolete?” This question was asked in view of a report that “nearly one in three children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated, or never-married.” Also, the view of society — and even of some churches — as to what constitutes marriage is changing, as the worldly-minded seek and speak their approval of same-sex “marriage”.
God’s Unchanging Word
While there are church leaders who speak and act as if God had changed His mind about marriage and the family, the Bible reveals that God’s holy will is unchanging. When Jesus was being tested by His enemies about marriage and divorce, He made it clear that nothing has changed from the beginning of time. He declared, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:5-6).
And lest anyone be deceived into thinking that happiness is found by changing along with the ever-changing society, Jesus gives us His unchanging promise, “Blessed [happy] are those who [continue to] hear the word of God and keep it [that is, hold on to, accept, and follow in faith and love]!” (Luke 11:28)
One feature about our personal lives that never changes from year to year is our sinfulness. Although we continue to battle this sinfulness with God’s help—day after day drowning our sinful flesh with contrition and repentance—nevertheless sin continues to rear its ugly head on a daily basis.
In view of this, we give thanks and praise to God that we have an unchangeable mediator in the person of Jesus Christ. The writer to the Hebrews comforts us concerning this blessed, unchangeable truth about our Savior: “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them”
Because of our Savior, when we come confessing our sins with a penitent spirit we are assured that God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
(1 John 1:9).
Yes, change and decay in all around we see. However, because we have an unchanging, powerful, loving, merciful, and gracious Lord God, we can greet each new year with confidence, peace, joy, and hope
instead of with fear and dread.