What God can’t do – Part 2
We saw in Part I that God cannot lie, and that this is good news for us as it means we can trust His promises absolutely – most notably His promise of salvation. But lying is not the only thing that the Bible tells us God can’t do – in another part of the Bible Paul writes to a young man called Timothy and tells him that “He [God] cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
What does this word “deny” really mean? In today’s English we tend to only use it in the sense of denial; to deny something means you refuse to accept it. The Greek word used here has a slightly different meaning though – what it really means is that God cannot act in a way that is contrary to His character.
Why is this good news? Because we know from other parts of the Bible that God’s character is only ever good. We read in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, chapter 32 verse 4:
“He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.”
God’s character is one of absolute perfection; He is loving but also just, all-powerful but also all-caring, honest but also kind. One without the other is not enough; we don’t like it when someone is bluntly honest when we’ve got something wrong, because even though truthfulness is a good thing, it can hurt if it isn’t tempered by kindness. But with God, we don’t have that problem because He is always truthful (as we saw in Part 1), but He is also absolutely loving, and so He will only ever speak the truth in love.
Subsequently, when we realise that God cannot deny Himself, it can give us assurance that these aspects of His character will never change. There will never come a day when God will tell us the truth in an unkind manner or make an unfair judgement. He just cannot do it because it would go against who He is.
And so, while things in the world around us can seem so uncertain and full of change in every direction, we can be assured that God’s character, and the outflowing of that, will never change. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. We can trust what He says and who He is. The question then is, will you trust Him? Will you put your trust in the God whose perfect character will never fail, and who loves you beyond measure? That love was demonstrated when He sent came into our world as a man – Jesus Christ – and died in our place, taking the judgement for our wrongdoing upon Him. He now promises that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9).