“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 ESV).
While the people, places, and things that bring us happiness may pass from the scene, our hope for the future is anchored to the immutable Christ. Nevertheless, this passage has important implications for our understanding of Jesus’ divinity. You see, the fact that Jesus “…is the same yesterday and today and forever” identifies Him as God by necessity.
For example, some believe that Jesus was a man who became a god. Other groups teach that Jesus was an angel, or a created being. But if any of those beliefs were true, then Jesus could not be “…the same yesterday and today and for all time” (Mounce). The idea that a person “becomes” something implies that he or she has changed. Therefore, if Jesus became a god, or lived as an angel, or came into existence at some point, then He cannot be the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Instead, Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus was, is, and will always be God. One commentator expands upon this idea with the following observations…
“The unchanging nature (which theologians call immutability) of Jesus Christ could be inferred from His deity, even if it were not explicitly stated. God doesn’t change over the ages, so neither does Jesus, who is God.” (1)
Another source adds…
“The fundamental declaration of Scripture about God is that God cannot change. He is immutable, changeless. He cannot change. As James puts it, ‘with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,’ (Jam 1:17 KJV)… If you have a being who can change, then you do not have a God at all. That is what the pagans discovered, and why the pagan world is always a world of uncertainty, doubt and fear. Changelessness is fundamental to the idea of a God who is truly God.” (2)
Our final commentator links this quality with God’s character…
“When James adds that there is no ‘shadow of turning’ with God, it is not enough to understand this merely in terms of God’s unchanging or immutable being. This reference is also to God’s character. Not only is God altogether good, He is consistently good… God’s goodness refers both to His character and His behavior. His actions proceed from and flow out of His being. He acts according to what He is. Just as a corrupt tree cannot bear incorrupt fruit, neither can an incorrupt God produce corrupt fruit.” (3)
So if Jesus is truly “…the same yesterday and today and forever,” then He must be God as a matter of necessity.
(1) Guzik, David, Hebrews 13 – Living A Positive Christian Life [13:8] © Copyright – Enduring Word https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/hebrews-13/
(2) Excerpted with permission from The Unthinkable Thought © 1967 by Ray Stedman Ministries. All rights reserved. Visit www.RayStedman.org for the complete library of Ray Stedman material. Please direct any questions to webmaster@RayStedman.org
(3) Sproul, R. C. (1992). Essential truths of the Christian faith. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House. [pp 34-35]