Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
Many people fail to recognize the power of sin. They think that they can stop or start a sinful habit as they pleased. Yet according to scripture, a life of sin will make us harder and more resistant to truth. That is why the Bible says: “But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. As it is said: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Heb 3:13, 15 CSB)
Jeremiah pleaded with the Israelites to repent of their sin and turn back to God before it was too late. Yet they would not listen. Instead, they mocked him and his message and continued to do as they please. Thus sin became so ingrained within their lifestyles that it became impossible for them to change. They could no more stop their evil ways than a man can change the color of his skin or an animal its markings.
Is there any hope for someone who has become hardened by sin? Consider these words of Jesus:
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…
Christ can set us free. He can open the prison doors and release us from our spiritual bondage. By shedding His blood on the cross, Christ initiated what the Bible calls “the New Covenant.” What is God’s New Covenant with man? We read from the book of Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Three wonderful promises are given to us in this New Covenant:
1. God will cleanse us from our spiritual filthiness.
2. God will give us a new heart and a new spirit that will desire righteousness rather than sin.
3. God will place His Spirit within us in order to empower us to do His will.
Perhaps there were some in the nation of Israel that knew their actions were sinful and that someday they needed to turn back to God. Perhaps they were like the person who thinks that they can be saved whenever they choose. Yet what many fail to realize is that sin is too powerful for us to overcome by ourselves. Only through the shed blood of Christ can we be delivered from both the penalty and power of sin.