One year my husband was serving on a prison ministry team, going into Central Prison for a 72 hour retreat. The team stayed at a nearby hotel. Mike was nervous and felt he was too busy at work to go but, from experience, he knew God would take care of things and he would be blessed by the weekend! The first night that they went around the room and introduced themselves. This would be the one place you would not expect to run into someone you know, right? Mike was shocked when he heard one of the names. It was a guy he had been friends with in middle school. Later, he told Mike that he was in prison for drugs. Mike's heart was broken for this guy. While all of the men who came on this weekend were broken and in darkness, they were told all about the Light!
John 1: 5, "And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." There is so much heartache in prison. Yes, they have sinned as we all have. Romans 3: 23,
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." But they got caught or they did something much worse on the human scale. Because God says a sin is a sin. 1 John 5: 17, "All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death." 1 John 1: 9, "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The wonderful news is that Jesus' blood covers all sins! Ephesians 1: 7, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."
Hebrews 9: 22, "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Without Jesus there would be no forgiveness.
To help keep us out of sin we need to stay in the light. To be washed clean, we need to stay in the light! People are dealing with so much heartache, grief, addiction and burdens. Two things we need to remember is that darkness is the absence of light. Light is the absence darkness. They cannot continue in each other's presence.
Romans 13: 12-14, "The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh." We live in a dark and evil world but God tells us to cast off the darkness and put on the armor of light. God commands us to live differently - not chasing after sinful pleasures. We are to stay in the Light - Jesus Christ - and do not think of selfish desires.
We are to remember that over 2000 years ago it was proclaimed that evil will not win. God has the last and final word in all things. God is the victor! When Jesus was raised from the dead and gave salvation to people. God's "unchanging grace" is the same today as it was then. Christ is the Light of the world. One sun lights up the whole world; so does one Jesus! What a dark place this would be without the sun. What a dark place this would be without Jesus, by whom light came into the world. John 8: 12, "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
What good news we have to share with others who are looking for hope at times like these!