The Parable of the Forgetful Car Thief
Westley and his buddies ganged up on a man, beat him up, and sped away in their victim’s truck. They ditched the truck to steal a green Nissan 240x; I guess they felt it would provide a faster getaway. Westley had a foolproof plan to escape the pursuing authorities. They spray-painted the car black. They were able to avoid apprehension for a few hours and might have escaped entirely apart from one little forgotten detail; they forgot to change the car’s license plate. Westley and his pals were arrested and reminded of their mistake every day in prison as they made license plates. 
What good is a new paint job without changing the plates?
This story is an excellent illustration to help us think about two passages in my daily readings.
From the Gospels, we read
Matthew 12:43–45 43When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Jesus tells us about a demon-possessed man that is freed from his tormentor. Without his inner demon, he can clean up his life. Everyone can see the difference, it is as though he has an all-new exterior, oh, but he forgot to fill the interior. The demon returns to a renovated home, empty and ready for him to occupy.
What could have been done differently?
I believe that another passage from today’s readings has the answer.
Ezekiel 36:26–27 26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Those who turn over a new leaf often find the wind turning their leaf back over again. That is why God has offered a new heart to those that trust him.
Reformation without regeneration isn’t effective.
Cleaning the outside without letting Jesus fill the inside is like painting the car without changing the plates; it just won’t help you escape eternal judgment.
To be saved we all must come to Christ and let Him change us from the inside out.
My 2021 Bible Reading Plan
May 11, 2021