Jeremiah 13: 22 And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare.23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.25 This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the Lord; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood. 27 I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?
These are strong words and apply to us as well as Israel, today as they did then. We all have some flaws, variables and invariables. Our common denominator is a sinful nature. Israel was prone to sin. It wasn’t God’s fault. It was their willful decision to sin instead of follow the Lord.
Regardless of how we try in ourselves we cannot, on our own, change who or what we are. Jeremiah gave us two examples—an Ethiopian and leopard. With the advances in today’s world lots of things can be changed, but many still remain unchanged. We can’t change our race. We can’t change our stature. I can change how broad I am but I cannot add a thing to my height. We can’t change our age. When we were real young all we wanted was to grow up and be older; now we want to be younger. We can’t. With contacts we can change our eye color, but it’s fake. I can put on a wig and have a head full of hair, but it wouldn’t change the fact that I actually don’t have a lot of hair.
If we live in our sin we can cover it, excuse it, and call it by other names. Sin by any other name is still sin. We should recognize it as such. Can the Ethiopian change his race? No. Can a leopard change his spots? No. The same remains for the fallen condition of the soul. Without outside help it cannot be changed. We can improve, but we can’t deliver ourselves from our sins. We can reform and try to do better. How many times have you said “I’m not going to say bad words anymore” or “I’m not going to do that again?” We can’t stay away from sin. The fact remains. Don’t excuse it away. We can’t be different from what we are by our own means. We’ll fall lower and deeper.
The world has fallen so far in sin that it doesn’t know what sin is anymore. The definition is in the Bible. The leopard can say he’s a tiger all he wants but his spots tell a different story. We need help to change. The power to do it is not within us. Many don’t wish to get rid of their sins. How bad are we at hanging onto them and trying to excuse them or cover them up? We may tell the Lord we need to face things, but it’s hard to give them up. To be free from sins you have to want it first. Many don’t. It’s accepted by many so why not just keep doing it. Many who call themselves Christians do things they shouldn’t. God hasn’t changed his standard of right and wrong. The Bible still says the soul that sins will die.
Face the sins. Do something. Change is possible only by someone who is higher, better, and greater than we are. Someone who is fully able is needed. By ourselves, on our own, there is none good, no not one. You may not see yourself as wicked, but if you’ve sinned you’re in as much trouble as the criminal behind bars. Our little sins ensnare us as much as those who have robbed and killed. If I can’t change my skin, my age, or other things about me, I need to face that I can’t change my soul. I need a Savior. Thank God there is one! He’s the one and there is no other. He is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. Through him and only him can we find change.
Change must begin at the source of the problem. It’s not others. It’s not the devil. The source lies within the heart. Before we sin with the tongue, it is conceived in the heart. Before we do a bad deed, it is started in the heart. The change has to begin there. Sin must be dealt with. God is not interested in making you younger or giving you more hair. He’s interested in your sin and your relationship with him. If you want change there must be an admission of sin and submission to the Master. We are slaves to sin, but the Master in heaven gave himself for those sins so that he could do for us what we can’t do ourselves. Tell God about it and you can go on your way forgiven on the inside.
What you have been and what you are now are not what you have to go on being. It can change. Verse 27 asks when shall it be. You don’t have to wait. Will you be made clean? If you’re not clean it’s because you’ve put it off. Do you want to be clean? Well, how about now? Change can come through the Changer who lives to make changes inside the hearts of all who call on his name.