There are many reasons for our joy but they are all rooted in John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
We hear all too often the new stories of those who are being released from prison because it has been discovered that they were not guilty of the crimes they were accused. When I have heard these stories, I have wondered what it feels like to be locked away for something you did not do. Most times this false imprisonment occurs during what many would call the prime of life. I believe this is really one of those, “you have to live it to understand it’.”But I imagine that the person being set free would be just overwhelmed with emotion as they walked out out of those prison doors to freedom.
The Institute for Criminal Policy Research has given the count of 10.2 M people in the world being held in penal institutions today. Absolutely amazing, so many people locked away with no freedom. Some for crimes they did not commit. I thank God for every person who works to bring justice to these prisoners.
And while, I do not know the experience of being locked away in a physical prison with a long sentence or death penalty. I do know about the prison of sin, the bondage that locked me away from personal and intimate relationship with the God who created me. God declares in Galatians 3:22 that the WHOLE WORLD is a “prisoner of sin.” Romans 3:9-20 gives us a more detailed look at this truth but for the purpose of this post, the WHOLE WORLD being a prisoner of sin is worth pondering. You and I are part of the whole world.
At this moment, The United Nations world clock is showing the world population to be 7,388,395,305 people…all have/had to make a decision regarding what to do about the prison of sin. Please know that every man has to make this decision no matter when he was born.
In Deuteronomy 6:5, the Lord declares that the man He created is to love Him “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” The Lord is to be the central focus of our love, pleasure, and satisfaction. Knowing this helps us to understand why Romans 3:23 states “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” because we are well aware of having loved, desired, and preferred other things and people more than God…including ourselves.
This is not only an insult but high treason to the God who created us for His glory. We were created for relationship with God first and foremost. Our choice to reject the Sovereign, Supreme Maker and Ruler, who is Holy and Just deserves punishment. The Lord decreed the punishment for our sin to be death. “The wages of sin is death”(Romans 3:23a)…death not just in the physical but in the spiritual. The punishment of sin is separation from God. BUT GOD so loved the world that He sent His Son to pay our debt, to take our punishment, to endure the wrath that is rightfully ours. JOY, JOY, JOY to the world!
“BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romas 3:23b).
“BUT God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)”
So, I don’t know a thing about being imprisoned falsely. I haven’t the slightest idea of being accused of crimes that I did not commit in the court of justice.
But I do know, I do have first hand experience in being guilty of crimes against the God (sin) who created me for Himself, who loved me even as I was committing those crimes, who drew me unto Himself and whispered, ‘I love you so much that I sent my Son to pay the debt that you could never pay on your own’. “Confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
I do know and have first hand experience and I am a living witness to being set free by Jesus who is my first love, pleasure and satisfaction. Jesus is the giver of salvation and joy! “For if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).”
Scripture: Bible Gateway