This is a question that is asked by many of the released inmates who have returned to Chester County Prison. They had made a profession of faith to be saved and believe with all of their hearts it to be true, yet the trials of life managed to “knock them off their square.” They returned to society a “new creature in Christ,” [1 Cor. 5:17] but when they could not stand against the enemy, they felt as though they lost it all. Have you ever asked yourself the same question?
As a Chaplain in CCP, we do not shoot our wounded because “we all have sinned and fall short of the Lord” [Ro. 3:23]. Yet He still beckons us to “come all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” [Matt 11:28]. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we have entered into the New Covenant, not eliminating God’s Law or reasons to follow His instructions, but we are able to live according to His will. His will, first off, is that none should be lost. This is achieved through salvation [Romans 10: 9-10]. As saved believers, we still have a sin nature and if we choose to entertain the sin we can expect the consequences that will follow. Jesus will get us through but not get us off of the path we choose.
1 John 1:9 is a believer’s prayer that will change the direction of our path and Romans 8:28 tells us how God will use whatever we choose for good. What happened may not be good but He will use it for good regardless of where we are and what we do. We are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life upon salvation and are never removed from it [John 10:24-30]. Remember, if you choose to play with fire you will still be burned. If you die from that choice, although saved, you will stand on the inside of Heaven’s Gate and God may then ask you, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” Because we are saved, we have the Holy Spirit to counsel and comfort us when we face the decisions of life. The inmates, formally incarcerated people and those whom are imprisoned on the outside by their sinful nature need to know that a return engagement to CCP is not the end for a Christian; it can truly be a beginning, using the stumbling block of failure, as a stepping stone to victory. There are no do-overs in life but we all need the occasional opportunity to start fresh. “Stop crowding prisons, start crowding churches.”