Exploring Prayer With
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Chapter 6 — Answered Prayer Depends on a Changeless God
In Malachi 3:6 we find that God does not change. "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." In Hebrews 13:8 we find that God the Son does not change. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Then we find that the Spirit is called the eternal spirit; hence, God the Holy Spirit does not change. Our triune God, then, is a changeless God. The Father never changes, the Son never changes and the Spirit never changes. Now notice James 1:17, "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." Note the words, "no variableness." The word "variableness" means "two views of the same person." There is only one view of God; there will never be another, for in Him there are no two views or variableness! Note also the words, "neither shadow of turning." This means that no shadowing can put a shadow over the unchanging One.
Now notice that His changelessness is connected with His providing for us. He is talking about His gifts to us. His providing for us and giving to us are beautifully connected in this same verse. He wants us to know that His gifts are always available on the same basis. He never changes; hence, His giving never changes. As is mentioned in other chapters, there is a great danger of ultra-dispensationalism. Some things in the Bible do change, but some things never change; some things outlive a dispensation and cross over the line between the dispensations.
For example, symbols change; substance never changes. Once Jewish boys were required to be circumcised. This is because circumcision was a symbol. Now the symbol is changed and in this age Jewish boys are not required to be circumcised. Galatians 5:6, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
Once the priests brought animal sacrifices to the alter. These were symbols, and symbols change. No longer does a priest bring sacrifices to the alter. Hebrews 10:11,26, "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins."
Once Jewish families rigidly observed the sabbath, but these sabbaths were only symbols. They are no longer to be kept. Colossians 2:14-17, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
There was a time when Jewish families observed seasons and holy days. They were symbols. These symbols have changed. No longer are these days to be observed. Galatians 5:4, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
At one time Jewish families restrained from certain meats. These were symbols. The symbols have changed. I Timothy 4:4,5, "For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."
However, substance does not change. That which was symbolized by the symbol does not change. Salvation, for example, is the same in every age. Acts 10:43, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." The nature of God is the same in every age. Malachi 3:6, "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." His answering of prayer is the same in every age. Psalm 65:2, "O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come."
This means that all general prayer promises are for all people. Substance does not change. For example, II Chronicles 7:14 applies today as much as it did in the day of Solomon when it was given. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." Jeremiah 33:3 is as much for today as it was the day it was written by Jeremiah. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." John 15:7 is as much for today as it was the day when Jesus spoke it. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." These are things of substance, and substance does not change. The types of Jesus change, but Jesus never changes. Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." The symbols of God the Father change, but God the Father never changes. Malachi 3:6, "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." It is because of His changelessness that He answers prayer. That is why He connects the two in the same passage so beautifully and so closely.
Now observe carefully the following:
1. God the Father has never changed.
2. God the Son has never changed.
3. God the Holy Spirit has never changed.
4. Hence, Jesus was always the God-human in His personality. He is still the God-man. For example, I Timothy 2:5 says, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man. . . ." Who is that mediator today? That mediator is "the man Christ Jesus." Notice, He is still called in His glorified body "the man Christ Jesus." Hence, His humanity was always, just as His deity was always!
6. We are made in His image.
7. The God-man was not just an afterthought, nor did Jesus just become the God-man in Bethlehem. This is not to say that Jesus could ever sin, but He has always been what He is today.
8. God made us to have a race, shall we say, of "little Jesuses" that He may enjoy fellowship with that race.
9. Jesus came not only to save us and die for us and to pay the penalty for our sins, but He came to show us what we were meant to be.
Thank God for His changelessness which gives us confidence that His answering of prayer is likewise changeless. God in His wisdom links His changelessness to His giving to us, teaching us that in every age and in every dispensation He is a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God!
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