With God, there is no room for improvement. He has always been, and always will be, utterly and delightfully perfect in every way.
I recently watched a short film that still haunts me. It was actually from a comedy show, but it had such a sense of sadness to it.
A man goes into a train station. At the counter, he holds up a photo for the ticket agent and says, “This is a bit of a strange question, but can you tell me how to get there?”
The ticket agent looks at the photo and she says: “Oh yes, that’s Millport. What you’ve got to do is get the train to a place called Largs, then you get the ferry . . .” And the man says: “No, I know how to get to Millport. But can you tell me how to get to there?” And he points to the photo again.
He says: “I took that photo when I was about 16; that’s me there. That summer was amazing. Hanging out with friends all day, not worrying about tomorrow, just laughing, having a great time, jumping off the pier, swimming around, and it was like summer seemed to go on forever.” And after he reminisces about it for a while, he goes quiet. And then he says: “I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to be there. So can you tell me . . . how do I get there?”
And she looks at him and says, “You can’t do that; I’m sorry.”
So he says, “Ah, just give me a return to Largs then.”
Places never stop changing. People too. They can’t stay the same, and neither can we. Often, that simple fact is enough to break our heart.
But there is One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
When we talk about God like this, we’re talking about His immutability. Immutability is the biblical idea that God is unchanging in His character, will, and His promises.
James chapter 1, verse 17 puts it like this: “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.”
Numbers chapter 2 says, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.” In Malachi chapter 3, God says, “I the Lord do not change.” Hebrews talks about “the unchangeable character of his purpose,” and in 2 Timothy we read that “if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for [God] cannot deny himself.” (In other words, God cannot deny His own immutability. His unchangeability is unchangeable.)