An Awful Condition Indeed
Jeremiah 13:23
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may you also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, etc.? This verse tells of one who as brought himself to such a pass that he cannot cease from sin. It is an awful condition indeed. Note -


1. The memories of a better past. There was a time when his soul was unsullied, his hands clean, his heart pure, his life unstained; when he could hold up his head in conscious integrity by the grace of God. But that is all gone.

2. The prostration of his will He is continually making resolves, but they are frail as cobwebs, they are broken through by the slightest temptation now. The power to firmly and steadfastly resolve seems gone from him. He has resolved so often, but in vain, that his will now refuses to rise to the endeavor.

3. The powerlessness of all means of deliverance. He attends God's house, he reads the Scriptures, he kneels in prayer, he goes to the Lord's table still it may be, but they have lost their power to hold him back from his sin. They seem to be of no use at all.

4. The fearful on look to God's judgment. He sees it coming swiftly upon him. He is ever terrified at the near approach of the day when he will be utterly lost. "Lost! lost!" he is ever saying to himself. He fears exposure, he fears the final doom, and knows not how to escape.

5. Shame is the presence of the good. He is haunted by the feeling, "If they but knew me as I am!" and he knows the day is coming when they will know, and he will be cast out as vile.

6. The thought of the misery and shame he will bring upon others. Perhaps he has wife, children, father, mother, a number of friends and relations, whom he knows he will drag down with him in his own ruin.

7. The temptation to recklessness born of despair. Satan is ever suggesting to him that, as he cannot regain what he has lost, he had better take Ms fill of such pleasure as he has. And too often he yields.

8. The perversion of his understanding. It is his interest to believe there is no God, and hence his intellect is busy in gathering together materials for this belief and for doubting and denying all religions truth. And so he sinks down into atheism and all ungodliness. Yes; his is an awful condition indeed. But consider -


1. Remember you cannot be certain that you have come to this condition. Satan will endeavor to persuade you that there is no hope. But believe him not. You are lost if you believe him. Steadfastly refuse to believe.

2. If the thought that such should be your condition distresses you, take it as a token for good that God has not given you up.

3. Remember that others have been saved who were as near being lost as you.

4. Rouse yourself to use all means of help which God has given you.

(1) Let there be special seasons of prayer.

(2) Avoid the occasions of your sin.

(3) Put every hindrance you can in the way of your Sin; such as altering your manner of life, avoiding being alone, reading such Scriptures and such books as will tend to deepen your sense of the sin and show you how to escape from it.

(4) Avail yourself of the counsels of some wise and godly friend.

(5) Fill up your time, hands, and thoughts with useful and absorbing work.

(6) Do not despise small victories; they lead on to greater ones.

(7) "Pray without ceasing. Remember that God is able and has promised to "save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Christ." Thus doing, even thou shalt be saved. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

WEB: Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.

A Natural Impossibility
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