Seven Things God Cannot Do

Among the attributes and characteristics of God, there are seven things that the scriptures teach us that God cannot do. Because of these seven things the purposes, work, and promises of God are sure. Sometimes you will hear people say that God can do anything. Certainly he can do anything that he purposes or set out to do.

The first thing that God cannot do is lie. Tit. 1:2 "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Also, Heb. 6:17 "Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." We can rejoice in the fact that God cannot lie. This makes the promises of God sure. God cannot promise to do something and then fail to do that which he promised. It simply is impossible for God to lie. Lying is not one of his attributes.

The second thing that God cannot do is change. Mal. 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." Also, James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Because God cannot change, we know that he cannot change his nature. He cannot be something other than what he is. He cannot change his mind. He cannot change what he purposes to do. He cannot change his covenant of redemption.

The third thing that God cannot do is deny himself. By definition the word deny means to contradict, i.e. disavow, reject, abnegate:--deny, refuse. 2 Tim. 2:13 "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself." God cannot contradict, disavow, or reject his own character, purpose, or works. God must act based on his sure characteristics and attributes. Also he cannot refute or disavow or reject his stated purposes or works.

The fourth thing that God cannot do is sin. Sin is defined as disobedience to the commandment. Two verses of scripture taken together show us the impossibility of God sinning. First, 1 John 3:9 "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." That seed that remaineth in him is said to be incorruptible as set forth in 1 Peter 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." Thus God has an incorruptible nature in which he is totally incapable of sinning.

The fifth thing that God cannot do is be tempted with evil. James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." Regardless of the evil that goes on in the world, Jesus Christ could not be tempted to do any of it. Satan tried to tempt him, the Pharisees tried to tempt him, the Sadducees tried to tempt him, the lawyers and scribes tried to tempt him, the Council and local government officials tried to tempt him, but he could not be tempted with evil. It is not in his nature to be tempted with evil.

The sixth and seventh things that God cannot do are stated in Is. 42:4 "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law." God cannot fail. Everything God sets forth to do he will do because he simply cannot fail. It is not in his nature to fail. It is just impossible for him to fail. Furthermore, he cannot be discouraged and give up. No task is so difficult for him that he will become discouraged and give the task up. He will accomplish his will always.

These seven things that God cannot do assure us of the certainty of every promise, purpose and work of God being fulfilled.

Elder Vernon Johnson