[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]This is a guest post from my friend Patrick Cannon. Patrick was recently convicted of murder and has written this article from prison. He has no internet access, but I have agreed to mail him a copy of any comments.[/box]
Trials, like the one I was forced to go through, last forever to the person who endures it. Being accused and convicted over and over for my actions caused me to feel continually nauseous. Over time I became feverish and I sweat bullets from the start to the finish.
There were no bargains to be had, no plea that my prosecutor would accept. There was nothing I could say that would bring me any relief. My strategies were not effective. They would only accept the absolute truth.
Not the “truth” we show others. Not the “truth” you tell yourself. My prosecutor, your prosecutor, would only accept the absolute truth. Through my misery I wallowed in guilt as my trial continued.
My resistance was useless and my enemy would not be appeased. My confession of the sins that I committed was lengthy. As I spoke I experience anguish, suffering, and deep regret again and again for these I now had to relive.
I held back nothing. There was no stone left unturned. I resolved to not let darkness or shadows be left to fester. In the end, there would only be light and nothing could remain to grieve God as my trial ended. By my confession I sealed my future.
I was only able to stand and confess my faults because the Holy Spirit had previously spent weeks convicting me of my sins and left me totally repentant. Late in the first year of my imprisonment, two years before to my trial, my life was eternally changed.
I was born again.
I experienced the Holy Spirit totally filling every bit of my life. I declared Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. He sealed me for his use as I passed from death to life.
You may not believe that such a prisoner’s story is true. Some will hide behind dogmatic and judgmental wrath as they look down their noses gossiping to their neighbors. Others will indignantly claim that no prisoner can be saved by God’s grace because they never repent of their deeds. Some will point to specific Scripture as proof, but they are ignoring Biblical context.
Christ was imprisoned for the most heinous of crimes that his culture knew. He was convicted according to the law. He was tortured and died a horrible death so that all who believe in him, including prisoners, might have eternal life and Salvation. All it takes is faith. Repent of your sins completely and you will be clothed in his righteousness.
Repentance will not be achieved with a mechanical prayer. You cannot simply say two “Hail Mary’s” then say to God, “We are straight, right?” It absolutely does not work that way.
[quote]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. Romans 10:9[/quote]
This all starts with a belief that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead. We confess our sins to him and he is faithful to forgive us of every sin. Then we follow Jesus as we commit to go and sin no more.
Many moral people never make it to repentance, leaving their situation dire. The Holy Spirit will continue to convict you until you truly repent. To win this trial you must stop deceiving yourself that you are not a sinner. We must recognize that we need a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus.
Salvation is a narrow path that we must walk lightly and humbly. Sinful living is a super highway where everyone drives a Ferrari. To follow the steps of Jesus means that we must ignore the peer pressure of the world. We must follow Him and not take the easy road.
When you step out in faith many things and people may try to hold you back. Hold to your faith. Trust in God who will see you through to the end. When you fall, repent and accept God’s forgiveness, then continue forward to your crown.
There is not a lot of time. Do not be complacent. Take your first step on this path today before it is too late. Good people die daily in car accidents, from medical problems, and from bad sushi without confessing their sins. Repent while you still breathe.
There is no time to waste.