Years ago I visited a young man from our home town. After driving about three hours to his place of incarceration, I was able to spend about 45 minutes with him.
At least he was able to have visitors.
Just being inside those cold, stone walls and hearing the iron bars slam shut was enough to convince me that crime doesn’t pay.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’ve had my turn at living as though rules didn’t matter; “to Hell with the consequences”, I was going to do what I wanted.
And I spent time in the juvenile court system to prove it.
Jails and prisons. Places to house those who need rehabilitation. Or, sadly, for the ones who are beyond help.
Either way, lawless people shouldn’t be allowed to have the freedom to terrorize those living within the law.
Jails and prisons are, in a way, quite similar to a place called Hell. The primary difference being that Hell is NOT a place where any rehab takes place.
Hell is for damned prisoners.
It’s a place where people go who have refused to live within the universally righteous laws of Almighty God.
It was never intended for mankind.
But ever since Adam and Eve regrettably turned aside from God’s commands, rebellion and lawlessness have been in the heart of every single person.
And, because life is eternal, meaning man’s spirit lives on after his earth suit has been buried six feet under, the rebellious and lawless must not be allowed to terrorize or defile Heaven’s eternal citizens.
Where eternity’s damned prisoners, those who’ve refused rehabilitation, refused to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, must forever remain.
There is some good news in all of this. Since Hell wasn’t created for you and I, we don’t have to go there.
We can be rehabilitated without going to jail. We can change our eternal destination by receiving, by faith, the work Jesus did for us through His death, burial, and resurrection. And as a result, receive a brand new nature.
He went to Hell for us. For our rebellion; our lawlessness.
“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 ESV)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV)
Jesus gave His life for people like us; you and I, damned prisoners.
But thanks be to God, he whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
Damned no more. Prisoners to rebellion and lawlessness no longer.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12 ESV)
“…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)
Isn’t it nice to know you have a choice?
Hey, who in their right mind would want to be a damned prisoner anyway?