Bad character traits can become so deeply engrained that it is impossible to correct them even by drastic measures, outside of divine intervention. As we have previously seen, the Biblical definition of a fool is one who is rebellious. Many evil people in jail are incorrigible; they have life-long habits of wickedness embedded throughout their entire personalities. These people have developed criminal natures and their minds are set on evil. Though penal institutions try to rehabilitate them with various programs, most of them return to crime because it is a part of them. Jeremiah 13:23 speaks about the impossibility of those who habitually do evil to turn from it: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
What is impossible for man, however, is not impossible for God; He can change anyone, no matter how wicked! Some of the most hardened criminals have been changed by the Holy Spirit’s power. The Bible relates stories of wicked men, even murderers, adulterers and liars, who were changed by God’s grace when they surrendered their lives to Him. Saul of Tarsus persecuted and threatened murder against Christians, thinking that he was doing God’s will. On his way to arrest more Christians, Jesus Christ supernaturally encountered him and changed his life. God removed the scales from his spiritual eyes, and then he could see the evil he had done (Acts 9:1-22). After his miraculous conversion, he spent the rest of his life in the service of Jesus Christ and wrote a good deal of the New Testament. All of us were sinners until we came to Christ and allowed Him to deliver and cleanse us (Titus 3:3-7).
Throughout history, people have killed Christians, just as Jesus prophesied. More Christians have died for their faith in the 20th century than in all the previous centuries combined. Some religious zealots think that killing Christians is the will of God, even as Saul did before he became Paul. John 16:2-3 says, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” These people need to understand that their religion cannot give them eternal life since it is found only in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We must pray that they see the true light of God and experience Christ’s saving power. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake…But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:9, 13-14).