Jer. 13:23


††††††††† "Can a leopard take away its spots? Neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil."

††††††††† We have all heard it said that "a leopard canít change its spots;" well Jeremiah applies that same truth to a sinner's nature and character.  Can a sinner overcome his tendency to sin?  Habits can be dealt with; mistakes can be avoided, but the reality is that true righteousness cannot be produced by an act of human will. The plain fact is that unless Christ is powerful enough, and faithful enough, and merciful enough to change us we will remain the same.
††††††††† A Christian is not a ďself-made man.Ē  Consider 2 Cor. 5:17 which says: ďIf anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!Ē   Notice the little word ďif.Ē  That means there is a condition.  And the condition is that the person be "in Christ."  It is only through Christ that God makes a new creature from the old man.  It is only the power of His love that melts the heart of stone and makes it a heart of flesh.  It is only the power of His Gospel that converts sinners into the saints of God!
††††††††† Education, heritage, wealth, power, and religiosity: these are all things that people hope will prove adequate to make them pleasing to God.  Paul is a good study, because, even before his conversion, he had all of these things.  But even his great education didnít enable Paul to understand Godís grace.  Paul was a descendent of Abraham but that by itself didn't make him a child of God.  Paul was a Jewish leader and a citizen of Rome but he was not a citizen of the kingdom of God. And, even though he lived as a Pharisee, Paulís good works were nothing more than filthy rags in the eyes of God.
††††††††† It was only a real-life encounter with the risen Christ that changed Paul from sinner to saint.  And we have to remember, that encounter was initiated by Jesus Himself; it wasnít an example of Paul suddenly making a right choice.  Paulís conversion was the direct result of Christís redeeming love, a love powerful enough to change darkness into light and death into life.  

Pastor Keith Andrews