No Shadow of Turning
By Jim Huskins
The best-known homily in history closes with a renowned simile. Jesus wraps up the Sermon on the Mount with the admonition to hear and obey His teaching (Matthew 7:24-27). He compares those who do so to a wise man who builds his house on a rock. Those who fail to hear and obey, He compares to a foolish man who built his house on sand. Our choice is between stability and transience.
We are by nature fickle and feckless. With a few artfully twisted sentences, the serpent convinced Adam and Eve to exchange the perfection of God’s intimate presence and His garden of delight for the dubious accomplishment of knowing evil first hand. That epic tale is still being written. Famous chapters with names like Golden Calf, Delilah, Bathsheba, Jezebel, and Judas are seared into our collective consciousness. Accounts of the ways you and I have failed God are, thankfully, more obscure but no less dramatic. Like that famous sand foundation, we tend to distort with every spiritual wind or freshet.
Thankfully, the Bible insists that God never changes. Numbers 23:19 tells us that God is not man, that he does not lie or change His mind, and that He will fulfill His every promise. Psalm 102:27 says that He will be the same for eternity. Genesis 17:7 says that the covenant He made with Abraham is everlasting. Deuteronomy 7:9 says that God will keep covenant and maintain steadfast love with a thousand generations of those who love Him by keeping His commandments. 1 Chronicles 16:15 says the same. Isaiah 46:9-10 says that only God can declare the end from the beginning, that His counsel is unchanging, and that He will accomplish all His purpose. Matthew 24:35 says that heaven and earth are temporary, but God’s Word is eternal. Hebrews 13:8 says that Messiah is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Titus 1:2 says that God never lies. Revelation 22:13 insists that Messiah is the beginning and the end. These references are too numerous to list. They are perhaps best summarized by Psalm 89:34, “I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.” With God’s absolute unchangeability established, how is it possible that many Christians are taught—and apparently have no trouble believing—that God changed?
God promised in Genesis seventeen that Abraham would be “exceedingly fruitful.” He would father a “multitude of nations.” In verses seven and eight, God says that His covenant with Abraham and his descendants will be “everlasting.” He promises to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his offspring as an “everlasting possession.” The word translated “everlasting” is olam. It means “without end.” Scripture is clear that God never changes and that His covenant with Abraham’s descendants is everlasting. Why, then, do most churches teach that God broke His covenant with Abraham, that Abraham’s descendants no longer play any role in God’s plan, and that Israel no longer has a claim to the land of Canaan?
These false teachings form the core of “replacement theology.” This noxious heresy teaches that Messiah did not come to earth to fulfill the many promises God made since the garden. We are told that Jesus took human form so that He could start a new religion that “replaced” the covenant made with Abraham and detailed at Sinai. We are told that God “violated His covenant and altered the word that went forth from His lips.” This perspective makes God a liar and unworthy of trust. Replacement theology claims that He did what is impossible for Him to do—change.
Many churches accept these lies without acknowledging that they violate God’s character. We are told that the “church” is now “spiritual” Israel. Every time the so-called new testament uses the term “Israel,” it refers to the blood descendants of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob. We are told that Jesus lived and died to save “Gentiles.” He claimed that He was sent only to the “lost sheep of the House of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
We are told that “Christians” have no obligation to follow or even understand the first three-fourths of the Bible. Jesus said that the “Law and the Prophets” will be in full force for as long as heaven and earth remain. (Matthew 5:7-9) Revelation 14:12 defines God’s people as those who “keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” We are told that “Christians” need not follow God’s instructions for living revealed through Moses. In Matthew 7:23, Jesus condemns “good church people” because they are “lawbreakers.”
Jesus is the Word who was with God from the beginning. It is He who revealed and preserved that one, marvelous story which is the Bible. The story tells that Almighty God chose a man named Abraham to father a nation which God would fashion into his own holy possession. Abraham’s family was separated from the rest of the world for a holy purpose. God made wonderful promises to Abraham, and He will fulfill them. The best part of this story is that we who were not born into Abraham’s family can be adopted through faith. Jesus explained faith in His famous sermon. “Those who hear and obey my words are wise.”
Israel learned the consequences of foolishness. They chose disobedience and were expelled from Canaan. The Bible is filled with God’s promises to restore His family to The Land and establish them in perfect stability upon the Rock of Ages. You may have been taught otherwise, but He WILL keep His promises. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
Obedient Heart Fellowship believes that the entire Bible is both true and relevant. We accept salvation by grace through faith in Jesus, and we attempt to love and serve Him by keeping his commandments. See Revelation 14:12. firstname.lastname@example.org