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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Letter to a Prisoner. .

Previously published Saturday, March 7, 2009, in the
Herald-Palladium newspaper column: Insights, at:

Dear Friend,

I compliment you on the interesting letter you wrote and your honesty about your life situation. All of us make mistakes, so you are not alone. I can’t imagine how difficult prison must be, but I rejoice in your desire to improve.

The fact you made mistakes and have sin in your life doesn’t mean you are not acceptable to God. It means you need God’s help. And God wants so much to help that he sent his son Jesus, to die for us. You said you’re trying to improve your life. I believe the best way to improve our situation is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then experience God’s love as His beloved children!

Two Bible versed in John’s Gospel (3:16-17) make this clear. These verses show God loves us and Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save. We all have things in our lives that deserve condemnation, but that is not what Jesus is about. He is about forgiveness. He came to save the world, but he also came to save you. Every one of us could read these verses like this:
16"For God so loved me that he gave his one and only Son, that if I believe in him I will not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn me, but to save me through him.”

You wrote you feel “almost lost”. Really, all of us are lost when we don’t know Christ as Savior. The only solution is this spiritual birth, in which every other Christian on earth becomes your brother or sister in Christ. You find both yourself and a new family.

This spiritual birth comes when we admit our sin to God, are sorry for that sin and ask God to forgive us. In Romans (3:22-24), the Bible says:
"22God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. 23All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. 24But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins." (Contemporary English Version)

You asked about joining a church. I believe there is only one church—God’s church. Local churches and church groups have many different names, but if they teach salvation by faith in Christ, they are part of God’s one true church. We all become members in this universal church by that spiritual birth called faith in Jesus Christ. Then you find a local church in which to worship and serve.

Jesus tells us in John 3:3 “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Here is a prayer you can pray to be sure you have experienced this spiritual birth. God is with you and he understands the language of the heart, so when you pray in sincere faith, He will hear. If you are ready to make this decision, pray this prayer (either silently or aloud):

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner. I have done much wrong, and am truly sorry. I want to reject sin and be saved by faith in your son Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, I believe it is only by faith in you I can be saved. You are God’s Son and Savior of the world. Please come into my heart and cleanse me of all sin. I accept you as my Savior and with your help I’ll do my best to serve you all my remaining life. Amen.

If you prayed sincerely and believe Christ is not only Savior of the world, but your personal Savior, you are born spiritually as a child of God and are a member of his universal church. Welcome! Find another Christian and tell them you’re in the family too.

Or, find someone who is not yet a Christian and invite them into the family!

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .
and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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