Repenting means revising one's judgment and changing one's plan of action. God never
does this; he never needs to, for his plans are made on the basis of a complete knowledge
and control which extends to all things past, present, and future, so that there can be no
sudden emergencies or unlooked-for developments to take him by surprise. "The counsel
of the Lord stands for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations" (Ps.
33:11). What he does in time, he planned from eternity. And all that he planned in
eternity, he carries out in time. And all that he has in his Word committed himself to do,
will infallibly be done. Thus we read of the "unchangeable character of his
purpose" to bring believers into full enjoyment of their promised inheritance, and of
the immutable oath by which he confirmed his counsel to Abraham, the archetypal believer,
both for Abraham's own assurance and also for others (Heb. 6:17-19). So it is with all
God's announced intentions. They do not change. No part of his eternal plan changes.
It is true that there is a group of texts (Gen. 6:6-8; 1 Sam. 15:11; 2 Sam. 24:16; Joel
2:13-14; Jon. 3:10) which speak of God as repenting. The reference in each case is to a
reversal of God's previous treatment of particular men, consequent upon their reaction to
that treatment. But there is no suggestion that this reaction was not foreseen, or that it
took God by surprise, and was not provided for in his eternal plan. No change in his
eternal purpose is implied when he begins to deal with a person in a new way.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw
When Lloyd C. Douglas, author of The Robe and other novels, was a university student,
he lived an a boarding house. Downstairs on the first floor was an elderly, retired music
teacher, who was infirm and unable to leave the apartment. Douglas said that every morning
they had a ritual they would go through together. He would come down the steps, open the
old man's door, and ask, "Well, what's the good news?" The old man would pick up
his tuning fork, tap it on the side of his wheelchair and say, "That's middle C! It
was middle C yesterday; it will be middle C tomorrow; it will be middle C a thousand years
from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat, the piano across the hall is out of tune, but, my
friend, THAT is middle C!" The old man had discovered one thing upon which he could
depend, one constant reality in his life, one "still point in a turning world."
For Christians, the one "still point in a turning world," the one absolute of
which there is no shadow of turning, is Jesus Christ.