“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
We are definitely living in an age of change. All around us we see the signs of change; we live for change, in some respects. The old humanistic adage “Nothing stays the same forever” could hardly be more apt than now. Yet, in the face of such obvious testimony, another axiom cries out, vying for our attention. For some things, we have observed, just never change.
While it is certain that all change is not good, it is just as certain that all change is not bad. This world would be a much better place if those who are “accustomed to do evil” would amend their ways, and begin to live righteously. Yet, according to our text, it is just as impossible for a sinner to change from his evil ways as it is for a leopard to change his spots.
If the evolutionist were even nearly right, the leopard species might — over time — be able to change its spots to better suit its environment. And while a certain amount of “adaptation” may be observed in nature, no one leopard will ever be able to significantly and permanently alter its genetic code; leopards have always had spots, and so they ever shall.
Neither can the Ethiopian change the color of his skin. Nor can a sinner change his heart from being evil to good. Some things never change.
Man’s nature is intrinsically flawed, and is essentially evil. No amount of social reform can ever change these facts. There is no president, congress, or supreme court that can alter the basic qualities of humanity. No amount of legislation can clean up the country, the city, the county, the neighborhood, or the internet. Our world does not need social reformation — we need spiritual transformation.
No amount of reform can ever accomplish for an individual what the true transforming power of Jesus Christ would do for them. It is not enough for a sinner to repent; he must be regenerated, or born again of the water and of the spirit.
Modern Christendom is geared toward social reform. But its message fails to minister to the needs of a sin-sick society. We have unprecedented numbers of churches and church-goers, but sin and corruption continue to increase and abound. Violent crimes continue to capture headlines with increasing frequency. Evil men and seducers are getting worse and worse. Iniquity abounds.
And some apostolics have the audacity to believe that the Church will gradually change the world into a better place before Christ returns. The only thing worse than believing such a lie is teaching it to others.
Our world is not getting better. Social reforms are not saving anyone. True Christians don’t smoke, drink, cuss and chew. People who are truly saved from sin don’t wallow in it. From a Biblical, truth-based perspective, there is no such thing as a homosexual Christian. Folks who have been transformed by the renewing of their minds don’t fritter away their days with gambling, cheating on their spouses, or committing fornication; nor do they spend their time being entertained by “Hollywood’s finest” dramatizing all these vices gratuitously on the big (or little) screen.
Has a person truly been helped if when they leave their “church” they are no different than when they arrived? The greatest threat to true spiritual help and hope today does not come from paganism and the religions of false gods, who are in reality not gods at all. The greatest hindrance to salvation in these days is the damning message of the false, or pseudo-Christian.
Pseudo-Christianity lulls its followers into a false sense of security, while they are really in more danger and greater jeopardy than they ever were.
“While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption….”
(II Peter 2:19)
And the very foundation of their message is social reform. Anyone who doesn’t preach and teach repentance, baptism for the remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ, and receiving the Holy Ghost as the new birth experience is simply teaching one form or another of social reform. And no matter how you slice it, it always boils down to “false doctrine.”
Some “Christians” believe that simple intellectual acknowledgment and assent to the historical narrative of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ inaugurates them into the salvation experience. Others go so far as to teach certain standards of living to their adherents. Still others have very intensive training courses, in which their followers are thoroughly indoctrinated with customs and practices — all of which were apparently designed to help assure the convert of his reformation.
But have they really changed? Or do they merely possess a shell of piety (“form of godliness”) while lacking the true power thereof?
The only life-changing, soul-saving message for us in the Bible is the same today as it was in the days of the Apostles:
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Some things never change. If the Apostles were alive today they would be preaching and teaching the same message and doctrine they did nearly two thousand years ago. And the true Apostolic Church still adheres to and proclaims the message of the Apostles, while rejecting all later developments. “Spiritual evolution” is just as damnable a heresy as is “natural evolution!”
While the world is changing every millisecond, the true Body of Christ never changes:
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever.”
–Rev. Tim D. Cormier
Reprinted from the August, 2000 issue of the Apostolic Standard.
(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.