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September 2013

The Ethiopian And The Leopard

By Beverley Carter

The prophet Jeremiah had an Ethiopian friend named Ebedmelech. We read about him in Jeremiah 38 and 39.  It was probably because of Jeremiah’s friendship with this black man that he used him as an illustration in this well-known verse:
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” – Jeremiah 13:23
Of course, the answer to both questions is ‘no’.
Even if the Ethiopian could change his skin or the leopard his spots, doing so would be a small feat compared with changing the condition of the human heart. Sadly, the human condition is not just skin deep, but our whole being, heart and all, is corrupt and sinful.  Our very nature is evil.
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” – Psalm 51:5
This brings us to the pivotal question: can the human heart be changed?
Amazingly, the Good Book says it can be changed.
We read in Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
The Good News is that Jesus came to save the lost, and whoever believes in the Son has everlasting life.  There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Rather, we must admit to being sinners and then seek to be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.
The Apostle Paul gives us some bad news in Romans 3:20 – “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”
In the subsequent verses, Paul follows up with some good news. “But now a righteousness from God, apart from the keeping of the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.” – Romans 3:21-24
Hallelujah for this amazing and wonderful truth!

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