What God Can’t Do – Part 1

Without really thinking, it can be easy to assume that Christians believe that God can do anything, and that that is the basis of His power. But in reality, there are some things that God just cannot do, and – perhaps ironically – it is these things which make Him a God in whom we can trust.

One of the most reassuring truths we read about in the Bible is that God cannot lie. The Apostle Paul tells us this in his letter to a man called Titus (Titus 1:2) in connection to God’s promise of eternal life to those who believe in Him.

“…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began”

Just think about that for a moment – if God could lie, He would not be worth following or obeying – and certainly not giving up your whole life for. If God could lie, we could have no assurance that He loves us, that He is willing to forgive us or that He will keep His promises – including the promise of eternal life. We might like the story that He tells us, and want to believe it, but if we cannot be sure that it is true, it is not worth basing our lives on!

On the other hand, if God cannot lie, as Paul tells us in Titus, we can know that God does love us and that this cannot change, no matter what we do or say. Sometimes people try to argue that lying can be right in a situation; normally they argue this if they think that it is the most “loving” thing to do. So, does that mean that God doesn’t always do the most loving thing because He is constrained by His very nature to be truthful? To borrow the words of the Apostle Paul, “certainly not!” It is true that sometimes the things God tells us are not easy to hear or to accept, but that does not mean that not telling us those things would be more loving than telling us them. For example, if God was able to lie and told us that we were all good people, it might seem nice, but it wouldn’t make us consider our lives and make sure we were right before God when we died. Telling us that we are all sinners: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) might seem harsh at first glance, but it is actually coming from a place of love; God knows we need to accept our failure before we can accept His free offer of salvation (Romans 6:23).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Subsequently, we can see that God not being able to lie is actually fundamental for trusting in Him. All that He tells us in the Bible is truth, for He is truth (John 14:6). That includes the truth that He loves us so much that He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, into our world to die for our wrongdoings, laying the punishment that we deserve on Him. That truth includes the fact that if we accept His offer, He will forgive us and restore the relationship with Him that we were created to have. And it includes that if we do that, we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.