Can God Change His Mind?

“Immutability” is the big theological word that describes God’s unchangingness. The doctrine is based on passages like Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” and James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.”

Unfortunately, many have taken this doctrine to an unbiblical extreme by saying God doesn’t change His mind or plan. Apparently God has every detail of every molecule’s existence planned from eternity past and there is no shifting of the plan.

The problem with taking immutability to mean God’s plan doesn’t change is that it makes many verses not mean what they say. There are multiple times when God changed His mind, or repented of something (Genesis 6:6; Exodus 32:14; Judges 2:18; 1 Samuel 15:35; etc).

The biggest shift in the Bible was the change from the Old Covenant to the better New Covenant. Clearly one must admit huge changes in how God acts and intervenes in the two covenants.

Every believer was a vessel of wrath heading toward destruction until the point of their salvation. Things changed, thus what God does with you and how He’s related to you has changed.

God didn’t change. God has revealed what makes Him change His mind about you: your repentance and faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God doesn’t change that plan.

From the beginning God has been a God of justice and doing the right thing. He’s very consistent about how He works. He’s consistent about how He changes His mind.

If God’s plan doesn’t change then there is no point for any prophet to ever prophecy. But prophets to prophecy! Their main point is calling people to repent so as to not undergo God’s judgment. Jonah eventually warned Nineveh of coming doom. They repented and God changed His mind, He relented on the judgment, much to Jonah’s annoyance.

Immutability does not mean that God doesn’t change His actions; it means He doesn’t change His character. Who He is is very dependable, the most dependable thing in existence.

I change. Who I was as a four-year old is not even close to who I am at 48! Let’s all be thankful for that. People change and people die. When the believer dies, they will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. But God, who is not bound to time or space, does not grow or change. He’s the same as He ever was. He is not slack concerning His promises.

But again, don’t let this lead you to think He won’t be merciful to you or He won’t hear and respond to your cry of distress in time of trouble.

The Bible clearly says that God doesn’t change. Stick with that. Trust Him because of it. But don’t stretch this out of place to think the way He acts doesn’t change. If you do, God becomes cold and hard, implacable, and unresponsive. This is not the view of God you want, it’ll destroy your love for Him, your desire to pray, and any number of other things.

Don’t let twisted theology ruin the vitality of your faith. God is love, always has been and always will be. He loves you and wants to show you His love. There are things you can do to facilitate that! Go for it, He’s waiting!

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