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The Journal

Leopards can change their spots

God’s amazing grace I remember growing up hearing an old saying - a leopard can’t change its spots meaning that people can’t change. Whilst we recognise that change is very difficult and involves hard work and discipline we do believe that change through the power of Christ is possible. Paul in Galatians 1:11-24 shares his testimony that in his previous way of life 1:13 he persecuted the church. He says that he was very zealous for Judaism but things changed when God broke into his life through a revelation of Jesus. Today many people think that it is too difficult for Muslims to come to faith in Jesus. However there are many well known and documented stories of Jesus revealing himself to Muslims and them coming to faith. Paul wants the Christians to understand that this message of Christ is not made up. He does this by indicating that he didn’t go immediately to see the apostles. In fact he went into Arabia for a time. Paul would have been praying and listening to the Lord and studying the Old Testament Scriptures because these testify about the Lord Jesus and the coming of God’s servant and Messiah. Paul sees that his conversion to Christ was purely by the grace of God. In fact he sees that this was no accident because God set him apart from the womb 1:15. This should give us confidence when we are sharing our faith. We can’t make people become Christians rather it is the power of the Gospel of Jesus which can transform people and open their hearts. Paul reports in 1:23-24 that the churches which Paul began to visit reported that the man that who previously persecuted us is now preaching the faith. Let us be bold to believe that God can break into the lives of unlikely people in our community. Rev David O’Mara