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Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Practical application is one of the goals of Bible study. After all, we want to follow James 1:22, which warns us to be doers of the Word of God and not hearers only. So, we tend to look for what we must do in response to a particular passage of Scripture. This is good and proper, but we must take care not to define practical application too narrowly, as if the doctrine revealed in a biblical text is not itself practical. Knowing who God is constitutes the most practical doctrine of all, for knowledge of God’s character forms the foundation of our right response to Him and to His law. We only know that we should love and serve Him if we have some knowledge of who He is as the sovereign, unchanging Lord who is owed our worship because of His very nature.

In today’s passage, the author of Hebrews gives us a truth that, if we define practical application too narrowly, will seem like an interruption in his listing of “do this” applications found in Hebrews 13. The author writes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (v. 8). In light of everything else the Scriptures say about Jesus, this verse gives us a marvelous testimony to the deity of Christ. Only God is unchanging (Mal. 3:6), so the willingness of the author of Hebrews to speak of Jesus as unchanging testifies to his high view of the Savior. In fact, Hebrews 13:8 was routinely cited by the early church fathers in their defense of the deity of the Son of God. According to His divine nature, Jesus does not change.

Knowing that Jesus is unchanging has immense practical ramifications for us. One reason we find it difficult to trust other people is that we know that people change. We routinely find our affections and our views on matters both trivial and significant changing over time. This is not so when it comes to the Son of God. Because He does not change, we have no reason to fear that He will ever stop loving us. His unchanging nature gives us a fixed anchor for our hope—He is ever and always God of God, so He cannot be defeated and He can never tell us anything but the truth. All those who believe in Him will never be put to shame (Rom. 9:33).

Hebrews 13:7 called us to remember those leaders who were instrumental in our conversion and to imitate their way of life. However, we recognize that we cannot imitate them in every way, for even they are ever-changing sinners. The Son of God is always the same, holy and just, so we can safely imitate Him always.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

All people are looking for something in which to place their hope that can never disappoint them. God’s Word tells us that such security is found only in the God revealed in Jesus Christ. He is unchanging, so we can trust Him with all that we have and all that we are. Eternal security is found only in the unchanging God through His unchanging Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

For Further Study
  • Numbers 23:19
  • Psalm 111:7–8
  • Hebrews 1:8–12
  • Revelation 1:8

The Voice of the Lord

Diverse and Strange Teachings

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From the September 2020 Issue
Sep 2020 Issue