Something God Can’t Do

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us (Hebrews 6:17–18, ESV).

While it may seem strange to think there is something God cannot do, Hebrews reminds us “it is impossible for God to lie.” God is truth. He is the standard of truth, and everything about Him is truth. It’s not simply hard for God to lie—that would be an issue of validity. It’s not unlikely that God would lie—that would be a matter of probability. It is impossible for God to lie—that’s an aspect of His inviolable attributes, something God cannot and therefore will not do.

Why do people lie? After a mistake, we may cover our tracks. In a pinch, we may omit damaging details. We may present ourselves or our situation far differently than reality—because that’s what we want to be true. Not God. Even if God could lie, He would have no motivation. He can gain nothing by lying. Everything He wants to happen, happens. Every word He says is true. He’s afraid of nothing, and He’s right about everything. He doesn’t forget anything. Nothing about Him ever changes. He is the Rock—He’s God!

Because He never lies, when God says something, you can be sure He’ll do it. So when He calls us “heirs of the promise,” He wants us to be convinced of His faithfulness.

When God fulfilled His promise to Abraham, He made room for you there, too. Galatians 3:29 says, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” So if by faith you have trusted in Christ for forgiveness and eternal life, you’re in on the promises God has made. Note how the writer of Hebrews confirmed our part in God’s promises by highlighting “the unchangeable character of his purpose.” While we may waver and wander, God is always on task and on track. Both His promises and His character will never change.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Satan, the ultimate antithesis of God. While God is the best truth-teller, Satan is the worst liar. John 8:44 says, “[Satan] is a liar and the father of lies.” He cannot tell the truth. Satan will never even mention the truth to you unless it is twisted by a deceptive lie. That was the tactic he used with Jesus when they met in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11). The devil quoted Scripture to Jesus, but only to twist it for his manipulative purposes.

You can’t count on anything Satan tells you, no matter how loudly he shouts. But you can rest the full weight of your life on God and His Word.

What does it look like to stake your hope and confidence on God’s unwavering promises? One promise for you is “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Another is that “though the earth gives way,” God will be your “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1–2). Yet another that can steady your soul is knowing that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Scripture is filled with promises that “Abraham’s offspring”—those who’ve received Jesus’ gift of salvation—can take to the bank.

One thing God cannot do is lie, and He is keeping every word He has spoken, right now. Let His unbreakable promises be your hope. Rest in the absolute reliability that “we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”


  • List some of the promises God is keeping right now. Which are the most precious to you?
  • Why is it important that God cannot lie? What are some lies Satan may be trying to spin to you?

Lord, I remain in awe of Your promises. How can a person like me be in the sights of Your great love and mercy? Yet You have assured me You love me with an everlasting love. How can I not come to You in humble adoration and seek to know You better? Thank You that the joy of knowing Your faithfulness is not affected by my failures, but rather is guided by Your unchangeable character. Grow my faith in Your awesome promises, and receive my obedience today as a gesture of gratitude for all You have done for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.