According to Rom 1:28, 31, a person with a reprobate mind is, among other things, implacable. Implacable means, “incapable of being significantly changed or modified.” It also means inexorable, “not to be persuaded or moved by entreaty or prayer: unyielding.” So, when a person is implacable, you can’t change him no matter how hard you try or how hard you pray. You have undoubtedly prayed and pleaded with someone you love to change his or her life without success. The reason is that he or she is implacable.
You can’t make a liar, truthful. You can’t make an unfaithful person, faithful. You can’t make a sinner a saint. You can’t make an alcoholic sober. You can’t make a drug addict clean. You say, “Well, I believe if I just keep after him, he’ll change.” You don’t know how many distraught families I have seen who tried and cried and prayed and did everything they possibly could to change their loved one without success. What they were unwilling to recognize and admit is that they were dealing with an implacable person.
The only way that an implacable person will ever change is that he or she must do ALL of the following.
Believe the truth about the problem. Implacable people don’t believe they have a problem. In the context of these verses that we are studying, notice that people with a reprobate mind have already changed some things. They have changed the natural use of the body into that which is against nature [Rom 1:26], the truth of God into a lie [Rom 1:25], and the glory of God into an image [Rom 1:23]. When a person changes these three things, he can’t see that what he is doing is against God, against the truth and against his own body. To him, it’s not sin, it’s not wrong and it’s not harmful. Until he can acknowledge the truth about his problem, he isn’t going to change his behavior.
Recognize the need to change. People won’t change if there is no reason to change. In other words, once they learn the truth that what they are doing is sinful, wrong or harmful, they still won’t change unless they see the need to change. If there is no need to change, people generally keep doing what they have always done. I know a young man who is, by definition, a thug. He is a doper, a drug dealer, and a whoremonger. He goes to jail or prison to serve his sentences and when he gets out he goes right back to what he has always done. His family has tried to change him, preachers have tried to change him, friends have tried to change him, law enforcement has tried to change him and he won’t change. He’s implacable. He doesn’t see the need to change
Want to change. Implacable people don’t change because they don’t want to change. They want to do what they are doing. They may feel guilty about it. And the guilt will cause them to think that they ought to change. They may be ashamed of it. And the shame will make them feel like they ought to change. They may know that what they are doing disappoints you. And your disappointment may make them think about changing. But they want to do what they do. So, they will keep doing it until they don’t want to do it anymore. And even then they may keep doing it.
Be willing to do what it takes to change. Implacable people who want to change must still be willing to do what it takes to change. Change takes work. Change takes self-denial. Change takes discipline. Change involves seeking help from others and particularly from the Lord. Change involves brand new habits. And old habits are hard to break; new ones are hard to establish and maintain. A person must finally get to the place where he or she is willing to do whatever it takes to change. But that still isn’t the end.
Take the necessary steps to change. I didn’t say, “to try to change.” I said, “to change.” When people are willing to change, they must change. This involves taking the “next right step” in the process of changing. For some, the next right step is to repent of what you have been doing. Then pray and ask God for the strength to quit what you have been doing. Then quit what you have been doing; take the “option off the table.” Then fight the temptation to do what you have been doing again. Then, with the weapons of our warfare [2 Cor 10:3-5] pull down the strongholds of your imagination which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. These weapons are primarily Bible reading and prayer. Then replace what you were doing with something spiritual in its place, like the right kinds of thoughts [Phil 4:8]. Then start walking in the Spirit [Gal 5:16-17]. Then seek godly counsel to deal with the areas of weakness which could result in you returning to this sin again. And on and on the steps go until the change is complete.
Live with the change. Once you change, stay changed. You can probably think of myriad examples of people who quit drinking for a while and then went back, quit using dope for a while and then went back, quit fornicating for a while and then went back, quit smoking for a while and then went back, and so forth. I submit to you that they were implacable to begin with and only quit for a while because they thought they should or someone else persuaded them to quit. If you change because you are no longer implacable, then live with the change, claim the victory and, by the grace of God, don’t ever go back to what you used to do.
Conclusion: if you don’t, or the person with whom you are dealing doesn’t, go through the steps that we have outlined here, you or he or she will not change. Implacable people don’t change. However, if you deal with the problem, you’re implacability, and the roots of that problem which we have discussed here, you can change. I pray that you will.