Robert Morris — Amazing Immutability
So, we're in a series called "Amazing Grace". This week, the title of the message is "Amazing Immutability". Immutable means unchangeable, impossible to change, and I want you to know this. This is actually a good thing. God cannot change. He can't change, because He's perfect. He has no need to change. Let me read you a few Scriptures before we get to Hebrews 6, just a few that we base the theology of the immutability of God on, the attribute, this attribute of God.
Numbers 23:19 says, "God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent". 1 Samuel 15:29, "And also the Strength of Israel", notice strength here is capitalized. I know the translators did that, but it's referring to God, and you'll see why it's referring to God. "The God of Israel will not lie nor relent, for He" — so, that's how we know "Strength" is referring to Him. "He is not a man that He should relent". Malachi 3:6, "For I am the Lord, I do not change". I don't change. Titus 1:2, "In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began".
So, let me tell you a little background about Hebrews. We don't know who wrote Hebrews, but you have to understand that it was written, now, this is going to shock you, but listen to me carefully. Hebrews was written to Hebrews. Okay? What I'm saying is, it was written to people who knew the law. It was written to people who knew the Mosaic Covenant. And because of that, the writer begins with a foundation that many Gentiles don't have. So, I have to help us some with that foundation, okay? So, Hebrews 6, look at Verse 13. "For when God made a promise to Abraham", this is where we left off last weekend, so we're going to pick up there again, about God saying to Abraham, I came to bless you, Abraham believing, and righteousness was deposited in his account.
"When God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, surely blessing, I will bless you, and multiplying, I will multiply you. And so, after he, Abraham, had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise", and I'm going to show you, the heirs of promise are those who have faith. "To the heirs of promise", not watch this, "the immutability of His counsel", that the unchangeableness of His counsel,"confirmed it by an oath that by two immutable things", two unchangeable things, "in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us, this hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, in which enters the presence behind the veil".
Okay, so this hope that we have that's based on that God can't change and He can't lie, anchors our soul, our soul being our mind, will, and emotions, so think about just your thoughts and your feelings. That's the battle. That's where the battle is. It's what you're thinking and how you're feeling, and there's the battle. But, what happens when we're going through a storm is that if we understand that God can't change, then we have an anchor in that storm. That's what He's telling us here. And this word, immutable, this Greek word that says immutability and immutable, it's the same Greek word, actually. It's the only two times it's in the Bible, in Hebrews 6 here. It's the only two times it's in the Bible. And it's important to understand, God can't lie. And see, He's using the Abrahamic Covenant to help us understand the new covenant, which is a covenant by grace through faith. All right?
So, here's what happens. If you remember, last week we talked about that God shows up to Abraham, and says, Abraham, given your religious background, your religious upbringing, your unreligious upbringing, you know, this is going to be hard for you to believe, but I didn't come to judge you, I didn't come to condemn you, I actually came to bless you. And Abraham believed, and it was put in his account, accounted to him for righteousness, and God says that's what happens to you when you believe. Okay? So in the very same way, God does this.
But, on the way over to meet with Abraham — you've got to understand that in Judaism, this is where we get it from. You've seen it in America, and you've seen it in other countries, that when you take an oath, you have to swear by someone greater than you. For instance, you've seen people put their hand on their Bible, right? Raise their right hand and say, I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. Okay, they're swearing by — the Bible's representative of God. They're swearing by someone greater than God. Okay?
It comes from Judaism. So, He says, okay, you know that in an oath, when a person swears, he has to swear by someone greater, in other words, someone tougher than he is. I'm going to use a Texan term, alright? Tougher. So God said, on the way over here, I know that when men take an oath, they confirm it by swearing by someone greater. But on the way over, I couldn't think of anyone greater than I am. So, I'm going to swear to you, Abraham, on my own name.
Now, I want you to let that sink in for a moment. Would it be all right with you if God swore to you, and He said to you, I swear to you on my own name? I swear it to you. Would that be okay with you? Well, that's what He did. That's the new covenant. He made an oath with you, and because He can't think of anyone greater than He is, He swore on His own name. And He said there are two things that can't change, and we read that in Verse 17 a moment ago in New King James. Let me just read it to you in New American Standard. It says, "In the same way". In the same way. In other words, God with Abraham. "God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose".
Now, who are the heirs of the promise? You know, we love the nation of Israel, and we reach out to Israel, but let me show you who the heirs of the promise are. Romans 4:13-14 says, "For the promise that he would be the heir of the world", this is speaking of Abraham, "was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect". So, here's what He's saying. In the same way that I made an oath, a covenant with Abraham, this is what the new covenant is like, and I swear it to you, and I take an oath, and let me remind you that I can't lie. You've just got to catch how good grace is. God says, I'm going to swear to you and I want you to know something. I can't lie.
All right, so what are the two unchangeable things? Alright. Some have said it's that God can't lie and that He can't change. And those, to me, are what stand firm, the two things that can't change. But, the two things that can't change are in Hebrews 6-10. Alright? So, here's the first one. Number one, Jesus is our high priest forever. He's our high priest forever. Now, we stopped a moment ago at Hebrews 6:19. Look at Verse 20. "Where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus", that's behind the veil, "having become high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek". Hebrews 7, you might just have to flip one page, and look at Verse 17. "For He testifies, you are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek". On down in Hebrews 7:23, "Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing, but He", that's Jesus, "because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood".
By the way, this word, the Greek word here for unchangeable, it's the only time it's in the Bible, in the New Testament, the only time. So, you've got the word immutable twice, and then unchangeable. The only time God decides to use these words, and it's because they're so strong. He wants you to know there's no possibility of this changing. Listen, there's no possibility that Jesus will not remain the high priest of those who believe in Him. He's your high priest forever.
Now, look at Chapter 10, and we're going to read this very slowly, and I might even ask you some questions to let it dawn on you. Okay? Because these are two of the greatest verses in the Bible. Hebrews 10, beginning in Verse 11. "And every priest", okay, how many of them? Every. "Stands", do they stand or sit? Stands. "Ministering daily", how often do they minister? Okay, "and offering repeatedly". How often do they offer? Repeatedly. "The same sacrifices", same or different? Same. "Which can never", never or always? "Never take away sins".
Now, we're going to read that verse again. Let's not go to the next one yet. "And every priest", Verse 11, "stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins". Now, let Verse 12 dawn on you. "But this man", that's Jesus, "after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God". Is that good? You know why He sat down? Because He was finished. He's never going to die on the cross again. It's done. He lived a perfect life, He died the perfect death, perfect sacrifice. Perfect life, perfect sacrifice. He done it. He sat down. It's done. It's finished. God's done His part. We do our part, but God's done His part. He's done it. That's amazing, and God can't change. God can't change and He can't lie, so He made His Son our high priest.
Now, I want to ask you something. Is Jesus your high priest when you have a good week? You know, you read your Bible and you pray. You don't cuss too much. You know, you have a good week. Is He your high priest? Is He your high priest when you have a bad week? See, the problem is most Christians don't live like that. That's the problem. Here's the second thing. Jesus is our mediator of the new covenant forever. This will never change. There's never going to be another mediator. Jesus is our mediator. If we're in faith, if we believe, He's our mediator of the new covenant forever.
Now, just back a few pages, Hebrew 8:6. It says, "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, in as much as He is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises". Okay, a better covenant, better promises. Do you believe the new covenant is better than the old covenant? Now, by the way, let me explain something. We're talking about the old covenant. We're not talking about the Abrahamic Covenant. We're talking about the Mosaic Covenant, okay? The Abrahamic Covenant was symbolic of the new covenant, but we're talking about the Mosaic Covenant, the covenant given to the children of Israel and Moses when they came out of Egypt, okay? All right.
So, is it better? Yes. I asked believers out there, is it better? Yes. But then I asked this, and most can't answer. Why is it better? Why is the new covenant better? Well, let me show you one reason that it's better, in it can do something the old covenant can't do. It can cleanse your sin, not just cover your sins. It can cleanse you from all sin. And when it cleanses you, it can cleanse your conscience, so that you don't serve God out of dead works. You can't believe how many believers serve God out of dead works. A dead work, it could be said many different ways, and many different definitions. One I heard say a dead work is any work not initiated by God. That's a good definition. Another definition would be, and especially in reference to the new covenant, a work trying to earn the favor of God.
All right, so let me show you a few Scriptures. If you've got your Bibles still there, Hebrews 9, Hebrews 9:9. "It was symbolic for the present time", talking about the the old covenant, "in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience". It can't cleanse our conscience.
Hebrews 9:13, "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more", now, you have to remember the first part of this and the last part to help understand the sentence, because even if it's a phrase then, which is great, but I want you to understand the sentence. So, remember this. "How much more"? The question, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God", but remember the first. "How much more shall the blood of Christ", watch, "cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason", so this is one of the reasons, "He is the mediator of the new covenant". This is one of the reasons it's a better covenant.
And then, Hebrews 10:1-2. "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never, with the same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they have not ceased to be offered? For the worshippers, once purified", or cleansed, "would have had no more consciousness of sins". Okay. Now, don't get hung up on the word perfect, because it's not talking about that we're perfect in our performance, but in our position with God. That Jesus lived the perfect life, that we put our faith in Him. That, yes, we're to live righteously. Yes, grace teaches us to deny ungodliness, to live righteously and soberly in the present age.
Yes, grace does that, but grace can make us clean in the sight of God. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. So, it makes us perfect in regard to our conscience. It can cleanse my conscience, so that I don't always have this consciousness of sins, so that I'm always trying to get God's favor or God's approval. It's very important to understand this. You know, this is not good grammar, let me just say that. It's not good grammar. But, you become like what you focus on. And, so many people focus on their failures instead of on God's goodness and God's grace.
I'll give you an illustration. This friend of mine, his little girl was having a birthday party, and he wanted to do a little experiment on grace and law. And so, he got all of the kids. When they all arrived, he got them in the back yard, and he gathered them together and he said, "Kids, listen to me". He said, "I want to just talk to you for a moment". He said, "We're so glad you're here. We want you to have a great time". He said, "We want you to swim in the swimming pool. We want you to jump on the trampoline. We want you to play on the playground. We want you to play the games. We want you to eat cake. We want you to eat ice cream. We want you to have a great time". But he said, "Now, look at me, kids. Whatever you do, don't spit in this flower bed".
He said, "Now kids, look at me". He said, "We want you to have a great time when you're here". He said, "We've got all sorts of games. We've got fun things to do. We want you to have a great time. Well, we're so excited you're here". But he said, "Look at me, kids". He said, "Everybody look at me. Don't spit in this flower bed". And then he went inside and he took up his position behind the drapes where they couldn't see him, but he could see them. He said not only did every child spit in the flower bed, most spat twice. And his own kids, who were in on it, spat in the flower bed! Why? Because he made them sin conscious. If he'd have just talked about all of the good things in the backyard and never talked about the flower bed, they never would have spat in the flower bed.
We need to become conscious. Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant, and it's better promises. Okay, so let's compare, just for a moment, the old covenant and the new covenant, alright? I'm going to give you a very simplified version of the old covenant and the new covenant, alright? I hope you never forget this. God says to Israel, to the nation of Israel, he says, listen, I want to make a covenant with you. Okay? A covenant, there's two parts. You know, I do my part, you do your part. Okay? Alright, so here's my part. I'm going to be your God. He said, okay, now here's your part. I want you to keep the law. I want you to keep the whole law.
And you don't know this yet, but I'm going to write two books of law, one called Leviticus, and we'll write one called Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy means the second law, the law of the second time. So, I'm going to write two, twice, just so you get it. And, in Leviticus, there's a whole chapter on what you have to do if you get a scab. So, my part is I'm going to be your God. I'm going to take care of you from now on, protect you, love you, serve you, provide for you, all of that. Your part is you have to keep the whole law. Okay?
Here's what Israel did. The whole nation of Israel, they said, okay. They broke it the first day. And don't laugh at them, because you did, too. You haven't kept the law since you've been saved. None of you have. But, that's the old covenant. They broke it before Moses got down the mountain. I can name four commandments that they broke before He got down the mountain, and I'll bet they broke more, but we know for sure four of them that they broke. Okay? Before he even got down the mountain. Okay. That's the old covenant. Here's the new covenant.
God said to me one day, Robert, I want to make a covenant with you. Here's my part. I'm going to love you. I'm going to protect you. I'm going to provide for you. Will forgive all of your sins. You're going to live forever. I'll be your God. Want to hear your part? Yeah, Lord, what's my part? Jesus, would you come over here? Robert, this is Jesus. Jesus, this is Robert. Robert, Jesus is my Son, and He became a man, and He went to earth, and He died to pay for all of the things you've done wrong. But, He not only died for you — this is the problem we miss a lot with grace — He also lived for you. He lived the perfect life, and He kept the whole law. And if you'll believe in Jesus, if you'll believe in my Son, then you and I can enter a covenant together, and I'll be your God, and you'll be my son. And in a motel room when I was 19 years old and been addicted to drugs, I said to God, I believe.
Isn't it amazing that God can't change, and He can't lie? He can't change, and He can't lie. So, because of that, Jesus Christ, when we put our faith in Him, He is our high priest forever, and He is the mediator, or the go between, between God and us, of a better covenant. Hey, this is so amazing, talking about grace, and I'm going to continue this series next week. I'll see you then.