Changing Times and An Unchanging Savior

By: Rev. James Ritchey, Associate Pastor of River City Reformed in Little Rock, AR

The following is adapted from a sermon entitled “The Unchanging Christ.

For many, this decade has thus far been quite difficult. For almost everyone, it has been different than expected. It may seem to you that everything around you is changing, and it is all out of your control. You may even wonder, “Is there anything or anyone truly constant?” Scripture speaks to this question in Hebrews 13:8. The verse reads, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

I believe this verse has much to say to us about the character of Christ and by way of application. The four points that tend to stand out to me are these (though much more could be said): Christ does not change in His Person, Christ does not change in His character, Christ’s work will always be effective for His people, and because Christ does not change, the Christian faith does not change.

First, let us consider that Christ does not change in His person. One of the great wonders of the Gospel is that the one who is eternally God became Man on the behalf of His people. The Second Person of the Trinity who is eternally God became Man. As John 1:14 puts it, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Without ceasing to be God, He became Man. He lived as a man, one who was among His people, one who went through trial. Indeed, He went through the greatest trial at the Cross. All the while He lived as a Man He still in His divine nature upheld all things. After His death, burial and resurrection He ascended up to glory. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Christ is ascended as the God-Man. He will never cease to be God, and He will never cease to be Man. There’s much here to comfort the believer. You can go to this Savior in prayer, knowing that He is God and in control of all things. You can know that He is indeed the Sovereign Christ. And you can also go to Him as He is Man, knowing that He has gone through the trials of human experience. As Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” You can go to Him knowing that He knows your trials, and He is your greatest comfort in them.

Second, let us consider that Christ does not change in His character. There are many ways we could elaborate on this, but I want to consider first that Christ does not change in His attitude toward sin, and He does not change in His graciousness toward His people. Many people say of Jesus that He will never judge them for their sin. This is simply not true. We see in the Scripture that Jesus takes the moral law very seriously. The Sermon on the Mount demonstrates this especially. Also, we see in Revelation and in Thessalonians that Christ will return as a judge. We must not attempt to deny Christ’s judgment of sin. But we also see throughout Scripture that Christ shows grace to sinners, to those who are undeserving. Think of the thief on the Cross, who throughout his life had done nothing but sin! And yet as he looks to Christ in faith, Jesus tells him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Or think of Peter himself. He had denied Christ three times before Christ’s death, and after Jesus is raised, Christ restores Peter by asking three times of his love for Christ and telling him to feed the sheep of God (John 21:15-19). Christ is indeed the judge of sinners, but He is also merciful toward all who come to Him. Friend, what is your relationship to Jesus? Have you trusted Him as the One who is merciful to sinners? If you have not, then I exhort you to do so today.

Third, consider that Jesus’s work does not cease to be effective for His people. One of the wonders of the Gospel is that Christ has laid down His life for sinners. Though He never sinned, He bore the judgment due sinners. He died in our place, exhausting God’s wrath for His people and satisfying divine justice. But it may be tempting to wonder as we battle our own sin, “But that was so long ago. Perhaps Christ’s blood covered me once, but not at this point. Perhaps I have out-sinned His grace.” But friend, that kind of thinking is an insult to the power of Christ’s blood and to the greatness of God’s mercy. Trust that He truly is gracious and merciful. Jonathan Edwards wrote, “The sacrifice that he has offered, and the righteousness that he has performed, is at all times equally sufficient. His blood is as sufficient to cleanse away sin now, as when it was warm from his wounds.” (Quoted from the Sermon, “Jesus Christ the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever” by Jonathan Edwards, April, 1738, accessed December 15, 2021, via biblebb.com, https://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/thesame.htm). Friend, if you are found in Christ, then His grace covers you as much today as it did the moment you were converted. His blood will not cover you at one moment and cease to cover you the next. Though we must not use this truth as an excuse to sin, we ought to see it as an encouragement to those who have truly turned to Christ.

Finally, because Christ does not change, the Christian faith does not change. There is much that could be said here. The Christian faith has in every age had its objectors, and there are many who object to the faith today. But whatever challenges we face, we ought to remember that the claims of Christ do not change. And Jude speaks of “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:4) The faith will endure to all ages, and though there will be new challenges to answer, the supernatural faith of Christianity will always be that answer.

Believer in Jesus Christ, your Savior does not change and because of that, you have hope for eternity and hope for the coming year. If you are not a believer in Christ, then I urge you to go to Him who is truly constant. There you will find hope in an unchanging Savior.

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