Or did He change? Did the rules of His game adapt along with the values of our culture? How can it be that we eat shellfish now, when it was forbidden 4000 years ago? Or why do we believe slavery is wrong now, when it seemed a part of normal life back then? How is it that we have a shifting morality if our God is so unchanging?
The answer is, of course, that we change. And our understanding of Him changes. If we served a God that were within our timeline, subject to our natural laws, He would be not much greater than ourselves. Yet by His grace, we are allowed to know him, though we are fickle and wavering in our knowing. What we mistake for His will today, we may better understand as the whispers of Satan tomorrow.
And so how does this knowledge affect how we attend to our daily ministry of reconciliation? If our understanding of what is right and just lies in our laws or in society’s norms, how can we be assured that tomorrow we will still see our ministry in the same light? Will we look back and be pleased with our work, or will be ashamed of what we perpetuated?
Reflecting on our understanding of ‘fair’ and ‘good,’ will we chuckle at ourselves for being so backward, so old fashioned? Who will we understand as the lepers of our time? Who the Pharisees? In 50 years, what new insight on scripture will give fresh perspective on the work we do today and make us question our motives?
Surely, the stanchly segregated churches of the 60s believed they were every bit as righteous as we feel we are today. And slaveholders honestly believed they were conforming to the Word as much as our modern bible study groups do.
Let us never suppose that our understanding is complete, but rejoice in a God that is large enough to encompass our growth in Him. We take comfort in the knowledge that although our understanding may change, God is steadfast and everlasting. His will is not a moving target, but one that we mature towards by daily discipline and devotion.
Thus, we can never take lightly the needs of others, or dismiss claims of injustice with declarations of what we understand is ‘fair.’ But rather, we look to scripture for a better vission of God’s mission on earth:
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,