Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Letter May 2017

Dear Friends,

“I am the LORD — I do not change” — Malachi 3:6

I am writing this letter at the Banner of Truth Ministers’ Conference, meeting for the first time at a residential centre near Stafford after decades in Leicester. It seems rather strange when something so familiar changes — even stranger that it snowed here this morning, in late April! At this conference there is an annual opportunity to catch up with old friends, but there is also a solemn and constant reminder of the passing of time. Old friends do indeed become older! Each year comes the reading of names of those who have gone to glory, or who are too infirm to attend any longer. We thank God, however, that old friends are being replaced by new friends, and that new preachers are being raised up.

Of course, the same things happen in family, social, and church life — but as we see each other daily, or weekly, the effect is not nearly so noticeable! The ‘change and decay’ we see all around us should not bring us to despair, however. We know that we live in a world which is only temporary, which is passing away. We know that we are all mortal, and that our bodies are a part of the creation which is ‘passing away’. Then, in life, we are people who change, and we are surrounded by people who change. We may change our minds on various things. We may change our attitudes or our tastes and preferences. Over time, we can become very different people. Often we will be let down by those who are ‘changeable’ — inconstant. People who don’t keep their word, or contradict themselves. It can be so deeply frustrating and upsetting.

But our God does not change. Everything else could change, and most things will. But He will not, and He cannot. In Malachi 3, the words following our text are ‘therefore you are not consumed’ — and how comforting this is. Our God is not only unchanging in Who He is, but in all He has said and done. Jesus Christ has come to redeem us, to purchase eternal life. Therefore we, His people, can know that we are secure for ever. Who He is, He will always be. What He has done He cannot undo. If we are His, our sin is forgiven, and our eternal future is secured. Whatever disappointments or sorrows come to us because of this changing world, none will come from Him — He does not change!

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