Baptists believe that God is immutable: He cannot change. I was raised with this doctrine, and I still fully believe it. I guess there are probably several other denominations, and even other faiths, that believe God is immutable, but since I was raised in Baptist doctrine, I used it as my opener.
So as I’ve learned about God, and as culture morphs and humans change, it’s been embedded in my brain that God doesn’t change, so then, these things I’ve always known to be true won’t change either. Because truth doesn’t change.
But another thing I believe is that we get to know God more and more each day. We can never fully understand everything, but with each trial, each blessing, each experience, each moment, we know Him more. Guess what happens as we learn more about Him! We change.
So what happens if the God I saw 5 years ago looks so different from the God I see today? God never changed. I did. I learned. I grew. He changed me. I’m a sinner. I live in a fallen world, in a broken body, with a corrupted heart and mind. There are going to be errors. mistakes. misunderstanding. But the more I seek God and his face, the more I understand Him better. Maybe he teaches us about himself little by little to keep us humble, to keep us from thinking we have arrived.
As God grows me in my spiritual life, I find I care less about certain rules that at one time seemed to be important. As I draw closer to Him, relationships supersede rules. People become more valuable than programs. Love trumps lists. How’s that for alliteration and assonance?
When I see Jesus, He was never harping on the the laws of Leviticus. He was praying with sweat drops of blood. When I read about Jesus, I don’t find him screaming hell and damnation on the sidewalk. The stories of Jesus scream love and redemption, justice and equality, second chances and transformation.
What I do. How I live. Where I go. What I say. I want my life to look like Jesus’s life. I want to be part of the story where Christ reconciles people to himself. I want to see redemption, justice, equality, second chances, transformation.
So though God never changes, He has certainly worked a lot of change in my heart and my mind and in my life. We’re not going to get it all right this time around. Look at the Crusades. Look at slavery. Look anywhere in history, and you’re going to see Christians who got it wrong. But little by little, each of us can hear God’s voice, know him more, and He’ll help us figure out this path called life.
So when you see someone living a certain way, and you think, oh they’re not as Christian as they used to be, remember what it means to be Christian. Maybe they just understand Jesus a little better now.