He has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and he has brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son. God has purchased our freedom with his blood and has forgiven all our sins (Colossians 1:13).
Joe had murdered six people. The warden had invited me to speak in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia where he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
To my amazement, even though Joe who would never see the light of day outside those bleak, gray prison walls, he was rejoicing in the Lord and exclaiming how wonderful it is to know Christ!
Joe praised the Lord for being set free from the satanic powers that had once controlled his life. I was immediately reminded of Colossians 1:13, quoted above.
This man was now rejoicing in that liberty and knew that no matter what happened he was no longer under the condemnation of the law. Instead of living in defeat, frustration and certain separation from God in hell for all eternity, he now knew there was no condemnation. He had been forgiven, freely, freely forgiven and was now rejoicing as a child of God. He was no longer under the guilt and weight of his past misdeeds.
Joe used to be a murderer. Before Christ set us free, most of us have done terrible things. The apostle Paul was a murderer and persecutor of Christians. But when we received Christ, Christ came into our lives, and we became very special to God. Our past is washed away by the blood of Christ shed on the cross where He died for our sins. We are new creatures. Old things have passed away and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV). Our old nature is dead and we are hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). There is now no condemnation (Romans 8:1).
When we receive Christ we become children of the King, forgiven and cleansed of all sins, and joint heirs with Christ. Yes, this happened to Joe and everyone else who has made Jesus their Savior, Lord and Master, no matter how serious the crime.
The natural mind and the world cannot understand this marvelous, wonderful truth. The devil hates this fact and tries hard to remind Christians of their past sins and make them feel unworthy and condemned. He is right on only one thing: We are unworthy. But Our Lord Jesus Christ is worthy, and He counts us righteous when we put our faith in Him.
If we receive Christ, we are "found in him, not having a righteousness of (our) own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ -- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith" (Philippians 3:9, NIV).
That is why we will praise and worship Him forever.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.