Our salvation is more than just some tweak. More than just an adjustment or some fine-tuning. It isn’t about taking something that was already pretty good and making it better. Rather, it is about radical transformation. So radical, in fact, that apart from divine intervention, left to the laws of nature, it just wouldn’t happen.
That’s what I’m chewing on this morning as I hover over a verse in Jeremiah.
Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.
(Jeremiah 13:23 ESV)
The people of Judah and their sin were inseparable. So deep was the stain of sin that marked them that it was as permanent as their skin color, as intricately woven into their DNA as the spots on a leopard. Their pride, rebellion, and idolatry so deeply ingrained that no amount of effort could transform their innate desire for evil into an active pursuit of holiness. They were powerless to work the transformation needed for their reformation or restoration.
It brings Romans to mind:
. . . as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
(Romans 3:10-12, 23 ESV)
That’s who we were. No righteousness. No understanding. No seeking. Going our own way. Of no eternal value whatsoever. No good. Not even a little. Not even one. Those were our spots. Unchangeable, despite our greatest desires and our best efforts to be otherwise.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
(Romans 3:21-22 ESV)
But . . . what a glorious word, the word but.
But now the righteousness of God has been revealed. Not just some spot remover, but a spot replacer. Not just cleaning up the outside, but actually converting the inside. Rewired. Our spiritually darkened DNA swapped out and replaced with Another’s.
We are people whose spots have been changed. Not changed as in prettied up, but changed as in overthrown . . . turned on its head . . . transformed.
Changed not because of anything we have done, or could ever do. But our spots changed by faith alone in the Person and finished work of the Son of God alone.
New creations in Christ (2Cor. 5:17). Once dead in trespass and sin, now made alive in truth and spirit. Without stain or spot.
Not some tweak, but a glorious transformation.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Because of grace. For His glory.