We Cannot Change Ourselves
Matthew 19:24-26: And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
While Jesus spoke of the impossibility of a rich man entering the kingdom of God, it is equally impossible for a poor man. Entering the kingdom of God under their own steam is impossible for all men.
Job 14:4: Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
Jeremiah 13:23, 27: Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. . . . 27 I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?
Adam Clarke*s Commentary:
Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem wilt thou not be made clean? We see from this, that though the thing was difficult, yet it was not impossible, for these Ethiopians to change their skin, for these leopards to change their spots. It was only their obstinate refusal of the grace of God that rendered it impossible. Man cannot change himself; but he may pray to God to do it, and come to him through Christ, that Christ may do it. To enable him to pray and believe, the power is still at hand. If he will not use it, he must perish.
None of us can change ourselves into individuals who please God. That is the work of God.
Luke 5:21: And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
The scribes and Pharisees knew that God alone must forgive sin. Their condemning error was in not believing that Jesus was God and that Jesus was the only way to the Father.
John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 15:8-9: And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
God and God alone gives the Holy Ghost and God and God alone can purify hearts. David knew that he could not change himself and that he must ask the Lord to do it.
Psalms 51:2, 10: Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. . . . 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
The sin that condemns men is their refusal to seek and accept the work of God upon themselves.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
When men receive Jesus expecting Him to change them they are saved. When they believe in a Jesus who will not change them or will permit them to pick and choose how they will be changed, they have faith in a false and non-existent Jesus and they are not saved. When God changes the men who receive Jesus into His children He continues His work in them for the rest of their lives and eternities.
Philippians 1:6, 2:13: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: . . . 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Care to discuss We Cannot Change Ourselves with Ron?