He Came to Set the Captives Free

Posted on: January 14, 2015, by :

While listening to a podcast by Ravi Zacharius in which he depicts the conversion experience of General Manuel Noriega while in prison for his crimes, the question came to me, “Why do prisoners seem to accept Christ more readily than those not in prison?”

Fundamentally, I think this is explained by the inability of those who have been prosecuted, convicted, and incarcerated for crimes to escape the reality of their sin.  At that point they are unable to marginalize their behavior by saying, “It’s not that bad.”  They can no longer hide their wicked hearts in the dark.  The reality of their sin has been revealed to anyone who dared to look. 

In a place like prison, when all your exploits have already been made public, you finally get to acknowledge that all your sin has a price.  According to scripture, the price for sin is death, and death is the only sure thing we have in this life. 

But do they only accept Christ to get out of prison?

The conversion of the prisoner is not any more an escape of the ramifications of their sin than is the conversion of the unimprisonned.  Simply stated, those on the outside just have a lot easier time hiding their sin.  However, sin is no less present in the lives of those who have not been incarcerated. 

It seams like many people try to hold up a shield to cover the wickedness in their lives, and it seams like that shield grows smaller and smaller the more their lives are revealed to the general public.  The less we can cover our own sin, the more naturally we gravitate to the one who can wipe our sin away.  Those who are in prison seem to feel a freedom from the weight of hiding which allows them to engage the Holy Spirit in a far more honest way. 

How many times have you seen a criminal captured only to hear them say something to the effect of, “I’m just glad its all over.”

Where can this attitude come from other than the fact that we all hope to be found out for what we’ve been doing in secret.  Not to be brazened criminals, but to be able to repent.  There is a freedom in being caught.  Lies, deceit, and hiding are some of the more exhausting activities on earth. 

The best part is, when we are finally revealed to be the wicked, deplorable creatures that we are, we can also confront the salvation that is offered through Jesus. 

Until we acknowledge sin, we cannot see the savior.