Yesterday, Today, and Forever

Do you ever think about change, defined as a difference in a state of affairs at different points in time? Philosophers have been debating their various theories since the Presocratics. Remember Heraclitus’ famous statement, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Don’t you love simple profundity.

Although there are people who like to stir things up, medical researchers have used brain analysis to track thought moving through our brains just as they track blood flowing through our veins. Their research indicates that none of us really like change in our lives. In fact, we try to avoid it. The way we’ve always done things is mentally comfortable, so we like things to stay the way they are.

But we all know that nothing stays the same for long. Our children grow up, our relationships come and go, the scale goes up and (for some people) the scale goes down, the minutes tick away, and the years continue pass.

And then we read Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Pause and let the words sink in. What security and hope reside in those nine words.

And then ask the question: Why is it important that Jesus be the same today as He was yesterday and then be the same tomorrow as He was today? John Piper answers the question this way.

Yesterday: It is crucial that Jesus Christ be the same yesterday as he is today because yesterday is when Jesus Christ showed us in history what he is really like.

Today: It is crucial that Jesus Christ be the same today as he was yesterday because today is where we have fellowship with him and relate to him as the person we know by reading about his life and work yesterday.

Tomorrow: It is crucial that Jesus Christ be the same tomorrow as he was yesterday and today because all our hope for everlasting joy hangs ultimately on relating to him, not just his gifts.

What’s interesting is the context of this verse. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” is sandwiched between a warning against loving money and a second warning against rejecting sound doctrine. Since Jesus Christ has promised to supply everything we need and he never changes, we don’t need to cling to our possessions. We can be content and live our lives free from anxiety. And since Jesus Christ never changes, we can bank our lives on his word. What is true about him yesterday is still true today and will continue to be true tomorrow and forever.

Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon from Hebrews 13:8 on January 3, 1858. In speaking to his own soul, he exhorted himself to not set his affections on changing things, but to set his heart on the One who never changes.

Put all your affections in his person, all your hope in his glory, all your trust in his efficacious blood, all your joy in his presence, and then you will have put yourself and your all where you can never lose anything, because it is secure. [“The Immutability of Christ,” English updated]

 

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