The Unchangeableness of God
James 1:17-18
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss…

I. EXPLAIN WHAT IS MEANT. By the immutability of God we mean that He always is, and was, and will be, the same; that He undergoes no changes either of His essence and Being, or of His properties and perfections.


1. From the dictates of natural reason; which tells us that nothing argues greater weakness and imperfection than inconstancy and change. Now if the Divine nature were subject to change, this would cast an universal cloud upon all the Divine perfections, and obscure all other excellences. And, as mutability in God would darken all His other perfections, so would it take away the foundation and comfort of all religion; the ground of our faith, and hope, and fear; of our love and esteem of God, would be quite taken away.

2. This will yet more clearly appear from the Divine revelation of the Holy Scriptures, which tell us that God is unchangeable in His nature and in His perfections, in all His decrees, and purposes, and promises, in tits essence and Being. "I am that I am" (Exodus 3:14); this is His name, whereby He made known Himself to the comfort of His people, and to the terror of the Egyptians, their oppressors. "From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God" (Psalm 90:2). "Thou art the same, and Thy years fail not" (Psalm 102:27). "I am the Lord, and change not" (Malachi 3:6). Hence it is that the title of "the living God" is so frequently attributed to Him; and He swears by this, as denoting not only His eternity, but His unchangeableness — "As I live, saith the Lord." Hither, likewise, we may refer those texts where He is called the "incorruptible God" (Romans 1:23). "The immortal King" (1 Timothy 1:17), and is said "only to have immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16). And He is immutable, likewise, in His perfections; hence it is so often said in the Psalms that "His goodness and His mercy endure for ever"; His righteousness is likewise said to "endure for ever" (Psalm 111:3), and to be "like the great mountains" (Psalm 36:6); not only visible and conspicuous, but firm and immovable; and the same, likewise, is said of His truth and faithfulness, "His truth endureth for ever" (Psalm 117:2), and of His power, "In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength" (Isaiah 26:4). And so likewise in His decrees, and purposes, and promises (Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 14:24; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 89:33). APPLICATION —

1. In regard to sinners and wicked men.

(1) The unchangeableness of God is matter of great terror to wicked men. Let but the sinner consider what God is, and the consideration of His unchangeable nature must needs terrify him (Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 5:4, 5; Exodus 34:7; Psalm 90:11; Psalm 76:7; Revelation 18:8).

(2) This should be a powerful argument to urge sinners to repentance.

2. In reference to good men, the consideration of God's unchangeableness is matter of great consolation to them; in all the changes and vicissitudes of the world, their main comfort and hope is built upon a rock, it relies upon the unchangeable goodness and faithfulness of God, "all whose promises are yea and amen," truth and certainty.

(Abp. Tillotson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

WEB: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow.

The Unchangeableness of God
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