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God’s Truth Never Changes

August 22, 2022

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

(Hebrews 13:8)

“Everything is relative,” is a phrase one hears often these days. But the phrase is a contradiction in terms: it declares a supposed truism while rejecting absolute truth. One of the reasons that I am drawn to Christianity is that it is based on the truth of God that never changes.  

The author of Hebrews writes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).[1]  More than a thousand years earlier, King David had written, “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forever more” (Psalm 131:3).  Unlike fads, styles, technology, modes of transportation, and other material things that will eventually become outdated and obsolete, God never changes. God’s truths have been the same since the beginning of time and will never change. 

One of the definitions of a classic book is a book that with each rereading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading. There are always new ideas and truths to discover in a classic book. Under almost any definition, God’s Word is the quintessential classic that has stood the test of time for thousands of years, and still delights and provides new treasures for those who spend time in its pages.

Among the truths in this week’s Scripture texts is the importance of humility.  In a song of ascent, David sings, “My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty” (Psalm 131: 1).  The book of Proverbs is filled with warnings against pride, including this gem, “Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of a noble” (Proverbs 25: 6). 

Jesus echoes that advice in the Gospel lesson: “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14: 8-11).   

Humility is a major theme throughout Scripture.  In last week’s Gospel lesson, Jesus warned that in heaven “Some are last that will be first, and some are first who will be last” (Luke 13:30).  It is not your title, position, or the amount of money in your bank account that determines your worthiness before God.  

Pride results when we elevate ourselves and look down on others.  God hates the proud. It is the greatest sin.  The more puffed up we are, the more we crave being the center of attention. But humility puts others first.  A humble person is content with his or her circumstances: “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.  But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content” (Psalm 131: 1b-2).

St. Bernard of Clairvaux said that the four most important virtues are, “Humility, humility, humility, and humility.”

In Chapter 8 of his classic little book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis calls pride “The Great Sin.”  He wrote, “Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind . . .  As long as you are proud you cannot know God.  A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”[2]

Resolve to set your heart and mind on those things that are above—on God’s immutable truths.  Resolve to look at others through the prism of God’s eyes acknowledging that every person you encounter in your everyday life—at home, at school, at work, at church, in the community, in social situations, and elsewhere– is created in God’s image.  Each person is imprinted with God’s stamp, and should be treated accordingly.  It’s the truth. 

Prayer: Lord, help me keep my eyes fixed on you and your immutable truth. Permeate my being with your love, so that I view each person I meet through the prism of your eyes— a person created in your image with unique gifts and talents.  Remove all lingering vestiges of pride from me and guide me to accept your truths and to follow Jesus’ example by helping others who I meet during my faith journey. Amen 

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost are Psalm 131, Proverbs 25:2-10; Hebrews 13:1-17; Luke 14: 1-14. 

[2] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1943) McMillan Publishing Company, p. 109-111.

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