“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”1 Corinthians 15:55
Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by fears of death. A bit of a hypochondriac, I often
call my best friend, a medical school student, to seek his advice for my mostly-imagined symptoms. Fear of death, as Hebrews says, leads to slavery (2:15). But praise God we know and serve the One characterized by impassibility—not experiencing pain or pleasure or knee-jerk reactions to what goes on in the world.
When we say that God is impassible, it doesn’t mean He’s indifferent or doesn’t care about our circumstances. Rather, it means He cannot “become overwhelmed and overcome by the world’s opposition” (Michael Horton, 2011). You and I may feel overwhelmed, but He never is!
The most heinous suffering, Jesus’ crucifixion, was used to conquer death and redeem the world (2:14). Impassibility means that the God-man took on our sin and pain, and destroyed it. Entering into it willingly, He empathizes with our weakness (Hebrews 4:15), apart from mood swings, worry, or uncontrolled responses. He’s involved with us because He cares about us.
God cannot be overcome. This assures us that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).