It’s midnight. The red preacher-phone rings.

            Pastor Al, the late-night parson, answers again...

Change We Can Believe In
Posted: 21 January 2009

     More and more scientists are claiming that global warming appears to be giving way to global cooling. It's probably only a matter of time before they begin predicting the arrival of a new ice age, like they did back in the 1970's. Of course, when the earth enters another warming cycle they'll stick global cooling back in the freezer and pull global warming off the back burner. At least until the next cooling cycle occurs. Maybe that's why they are starting to use the term "climate change" more and more.

     Of course, there is a danger that the public might get wise to the climatological doomsayers. After all, we were told in the 1970's that driving around as we please in our own cars, heating and cooling our homes to comfortable temperatures, eating meat more than once or twice a month, and not paying high enough taxes were going to cause an imminent ice age due to global cooling. Then, in the 1990's we were told that driving around as we please in our own cars, heating and cooling our homes to comfortable temperatures, eating meat more than once or twice a month, and not paying high enough taxes were going to cause an imminent polar meltdown due to global warming. It almost makes one wonder if behavioral change might be more the object of change than climate change.

     Well, one thing is for certain, though, change happens. Weather forecasts change. Economic outlooks change. The calendar changes. Our health changes. Opinions change. Political futures change. Neighborhoods change. Taste and styles change. We change. God, however, does not change.

     "For I am the LORD," God thunders forth in Malachi 3:6, "I change not." The Psalmist writes in Psalms 102:25-27, "Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end." "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." says Paul in Hebrews 13:8.

     The fact that God cannot change is reflected in Numbers 23:19. "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" In other words, God cannot lie.

     Now, God's inability to lie is a foundational truth. Consequently, it follows that His Word is truth as well. After all, Psalms 33:4 says, "For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth." In addition, God's Word is called the "word of truth" in Psalm 119:43, 2 Corinthians 6:7, Ephesians 1:13, 2 Timothy 2:15, and James 1:18, and "truth" in 1 Kings 17:24 and John 17:17. Furthermore, the truth of God's Word can be independently verified through the incredible historic, scientific, and prophetic accuracy of the Bible (but that is the subject of other articles…).

     God and His Word are intimately tied together in the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is described as both "the Word" in John 1:1,14 and 1 John 5:7 and as "the...truth" in John 14:6.

     Consequently then, we gladly accept as truth the words of Jesus recorded in John 3:16 where He said, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." But if we accept that verse then we must also accept verse 18 as well: "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

     This, of course, means that some will go to heaven and some will not. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to accept that proposition. For example, I once had a lengthy conversation with a woman who claimed to believe the Bible. Yet, she only accepted the parts that she agreed with and rejected the parts she did not like. She claimed, for instance, to believe the first part of John 14:6, in which Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." However, she did not agree with the second part that says, "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

     Neither did she agree with Acts 4:12, which states, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." She stated quite emphatically that a good Jew who rejects Jesus Christ as the Messiah, a good Muslim who rejects the Deity of Jesus Christ, and a good pagan who has never heard of Jesus Christ can all go to heaven on the basis that God loves them and will excuse their ignorance of Jesus Christ. So long as they were sincere, of course. The fact that such a belief plainly contradicts Scripture did not sway her.

     I've also had an on-going conversation with a man who believes in heaven but not hell. He claims to be a real Christian who believes the Bible. Except, of course, those parts that he finds offensive or disagreeable. I've tried to point out that you can't pick and choose what you want, rejecting the rest, and still claim that you believe.

     Unfortunately, while many gladly accept the love of God in John 3:16, they balk at the condemnation of God in John 3:18. Nevertheless, it is impossible, as Hebrews 6:18 and Titus 1:2 indicate, for God to lie. Therefore then we cannot accept one and reject the other.

     Consequently, if God cannot change and His Word is true, then it is we who ought to change. We ought to change how we approach God and His Word. Instead of picking and choosing what we want to believe, accepting this and rejecting that, we ought to accept the Bible in its entirety. "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar (Romans 3:4)."

     We love to hear about heaven, but we need to be warned about hell. We are glad to know that God loves sinners but we need to be reminded that the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:20)." It might not even be too hard to accept that really evil people like Hitler and Sadaam Hussein wind up in hell (assuming we accept that it exists!) but we also need to know that good, moral people will wind up there as well if they do not put their faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:18).

     And here's the hard one. We need to change our attitude about ourselves. We need to accept the fact that we cannot get to heaven on our own (Ephesians 2:8). We need to admit that Romans 3:10, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one," and Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," apply to us. We need to recognize that we ourselves are on our way to hell, and rightfully so! Only when we change our attitude about ourselves and our need for salvation can God change us.

     Rather than be like those who, in Romans 1:23, "changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things," we need to accept God as He is. Rather than be one "Who changed the truth of God into a lie (Romans 1:25)," we need to believe the Book. We need to trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and allow God and His Word to change us.

     Paul lays it out for us in 2 Corinthians 3:18 when he says, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." He further explains in 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

     But that's not the only change in store for a born-again believer. There is another one coming. First Corinthians 15:51-54 says, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."

     Now that's change we can all believe in!

        Pastor Alfred B. Davis
Bible Baptist Church, Richfield, Ohio