Things God Cannot Do

 

When I was a new believer, I was often asked, “If God is Almighty, can He create a piece of rock that He Himself cannot move?” Of course, the question is in essence contradictory and beyond logical extrapolation, hence substantively irrelevant. The Bible does inform us that the Lord we believe in who created the heavens and the earth is God Almighty (Genesis 17:1), with whom all things are possible (Mark 10:27). But the Bible also tells us that there are indeed things our God cannot do. For example:

 

1.      He cannot save Himself. [Matthew 27:42 - “’He saved others,’ they said, ‘but He can't save Himself! He's the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him.’”] - This is because He loves us, and does so to redeem us from our sins and fulfill the grace of salvation.

 

2.      He cannot disown Himself. [2 Timothy 2:13 - “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.] - Because this is contrary to His attribute of faithfulness. He will not disown His promises to us. As Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

 

3.      He cannot lie. [Titus 1:2 - “… God … does not lie …”] – This is also the nature of His attribute of faithfulness. As 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 says, “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ … was not "Yes" and "No," but in Him it has always been "Yes." For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through Him the "Amen" is spoken …” Therefore we can totally trust in Him. No matter what the circumstances, we can confidently rely on our Lord.

 

4.      He cannot shake His own Kingdom. [Hebrews 12:28] - This is because the Kingdom of God cannot be shaken or perturbed but will last forever. It is completely unlike the nations on earth which can change with the transition of time and politics. So what we will receive in the future is “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). God is immortal (Romans 1:23).

 

5.      He cannot be tempted by evil. [James 1:13 - “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.”] - This is because “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) and “… the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me.” (John 14:30) Satan cannot find anything in Christ to accuse, because He is the Most Holy. His intentions for man are all kind, loving, and righteous. He cannot bear evil (Isaiah 1:13).

 

6.      He cannot see the sins of believers covered over by the blood of Christ. [1 John 1:7-9] - This is because when we truly confess to our sins, repent, and trust in God, He will forgive us our trespasses. He forms us into ‘a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27)

 

7.      He cannot do anything against the Father. [John 5:19 - “Jesus gave them this answer: ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.’”] – This is because He will not do anything by His own will. He works with the Father under one mind. What is our own present circumstance?

 

It is not because He lacks the power and is therefore incapable that God cannot do these things, but because of His own attributes. It is not antithetical to His omnipotence. “And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7) We should indeed praise God for these attributes. He chooses to limit Himself and refrain from doing certain things. He will not do the things that go against His kindness, faithfulness, grace, mercy and righteousness. May we also clearly identify those things that we should do today, and those that we will not. We should opt to refrain from doing the things that bring no glory to God, and not just because we are unable to do them.

 

By: Esther Hung