There was a man who was convicted and sentenced for the crime of armed robbery. This man had less than two hours to face a firing squad. As he sat in the “condemned men’s” cell of the maximum-security prison, he began to review his life. He looked back on the mayhem he had visited on individuals, families, and society at large, for so many years. His crimes included: kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, murder, and so on. Finally, it had all come down to this day, the day of execution by firing squad!
As he sat reviewing his life, two men suddenly appeared to him in his cell:
The first man told him that it was not really his fault; that he committed these crimes because of his pedigree. He told the condemned man that he was born to an armed robber; who himself was born to a murderer; who was also born to a rapist. This man told the condemned prisoner, that it was rather unfortunate for him to have been singled out, because he was caught. “After all,” he said, “you are not the first, and you certainly will not be the last man to commit these crimes.” He went on to say to the condemned man that his trial was unfair, because his lawyer failed to adequately defend him, and the judge was biased. Therefore, he advised the prisoner to begin to plan his escape.
The second man interjected, telling the condemned prisoner that though his pedigree was of a criminal background, it was him and not his family members who committed the crimes he was now to die for. The second man went on to tell the condemned prisoner that; had he not been caught, tried, and sentenced, he certainly would have continued in his crimes; and the conversation they were having then, would never have taken place. This second man then advised the condemned prisoner not to seek to escape, but to rather make restitution to the individuals and families concerned, and ask forgiveness for his crimes from the One Who could give him life after his execution.
As the prisoner sat pondering on the things he was told, and the possible course of action he should follow; the key of his cell door clicked. It was the prison officials. The time of reckoning had finally come. It was time to pay his debt to society!
Friend, the story of the condemned prisoner can be likened to the condition of all of Mankind. Without exception, all human beings have a death sentence hanging over their heads because of sin. The bible says, “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s standards.” (Romans 3:23). ‘All’ means ‘without exception’ — presidents, governors, civil servants, policemen, judges, lawyers, the unemployed, the rich, the poor, beggars, the old, the young, children — all!
But not everyone comes to this realization. So, to assist man, God enables him to come to a point in his life when he must re-examine his life. It may or may not be in a prison cell. It may be while one is ill from an ailment that he is not certain that he would recover from; it may be when a woman is about to go into the delivery room; or, when a person is being prepared for surgery. It may be when a person is on the run from the law, and they are closing in on him; or, at the funeral of someone you saw just before he or she met an untimely death. It may be at a sober moment, when the frolicking, the partying, and the things that accompany them have ended, and you are no better for it; because, in most cases, people who are having “fun” don’t ever consider taking a sober reflection on their lives. No wonder the bible says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2–4 KJV)
Times of sorrow have their value for the soul of the man or woman who is given to pleasure and who does not have the time or patience to ponder his or her ways. And whenever, we are faced with situations that bring us to the point of contemplating our lives, two ‘men’ always suddenly appear: The voice of confusion, and the voice of conscience. The voice of confusion comes to muddy the water and throw us into more confusion; while the voice of conscience comes to confront us with the truth about our lives.
Today, as you are being confronted with the truth about your life, sure enough, the voice of confusion will be present, as will the voice of conscience. The advice is, listen to the voice of conscience. Conscience is what God has left within each one of us to help us know the truth, even if everyone else is lying to you.
I don’t know what you are going through right now, or where you are at. But one thing I know, is that the word of God says that you are a sinner. And every sinner has a sentence hanging over his head, and therefore, needs to be saved from sin, and thus be delivered from God’s judgment of eternal damnation.
No one really knows when the key to his or her ‘cell door’ will begin to turn, and the door opened, for the sentence of death for sins committed. But one thing is important, it is time for us to take stock of our lives. The day has come when the salvation of God is once again made available to all who decide to turn away from sin and turn to God. Salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God’s promise to as many as are willing to turn away from their sins and to turn to God. God’s salvation saves from the sentence of death and enables the beneficiaries to live a sin-free life here on earth.
There is no need to plan for an escape that won’t happen. Do not let the voice of confusion, which is from the devil, fool you into thinking that you will not be held accountable for your sins. Indeed, you are accountable to God, and will be held accountable. Rather than plan an escape that can’t happen; humble yourself even today and ask God for forgiveness for your sins. He will pardon you and give you His gift of eternal salvation. He will bring you into a new life of righteousness that is approved by Him. A life that is lived according to God’s word. He will also give you peace (an inner calm in spite of the confusion and rowdiness all around us) and joy (the kind that comes from within you, which no man can explain, and is not dependent on material possession).
You don’t have to wait for the Day of Judgment before you take stock of your life and consider how far you have gone away from God and from all that is righteous. Even though you may attend church regularly but have not been living as God wants you to, this is the day when you should stop and re-examine your life.
The message to you today, is that through the voice of your conscience, God is speaking to help you realize and acknowledge your sinfulness and your need for Him, so that He can make you sin-free. God wants you to repent of your sins by confessing them before Him and repudiating them. The combination of these two things: realization and acknowledgement, on one hand, and repentance and repudiation, on the other hand, enables God’s mercy, forgiveness, love and grace to become available to you; which then leads to your salvation.
Go now to God in prayer!
Culled from “Journeys into Salvation: Finding your way in life” published by Hebron Publishing on Kindle Digital Publishing (http://a.co/fCKE8bX)