For two weeks now, there were only two inmates in my services–Chris and Bob. I asked the Lord, “what’s going on, Lord? I prayed for more men, not less?” The same day, it was revealed to me by another inmate that they didn’t want to come to service because they didn’t want to sit next to Chris. Chris is charged with 100 counts of child molestation. That inmate, Allan, said to me through the crack in the armored steel door, “do you believe that there are some sins that can’t be forgiven?”
“…do you believe that there are some sins that can’t be forgiven?”
Without hesitation, I gave him a verse from the bible he was holding in his hand–the bible I had given him when he accepted Christ just a few weeks ago.
I said, “Mark 3:28-29. There is only one sin that is not forgiven, and that sin is the blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that every sin and every blaspheme will be forgiven the sons of men.”
He looked at his feet.
“That’s the Gospel,” I said. I blessed him and let the jailor, who was waiting for me to finish up my conversation, usher me out of the cat walk and back out into freedom.
Have you ever wondered what Paul meant when he said, “it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace” (Heb 13:9)? What Allan doesn’t fully understand yet is that he and this other man were both at one time guilty of all the Law. All. In other words, I’m a thief. You’re asking yourself, “what did you steal?” Nothing. But I sinned against the Law in other ways, so I became guilty of the whole Law. If he had understood this, then he couldn’t possibly think that he had some advantage over someone else who had sinned in a different way–that he would stand before God and say, “yes, I sinned, but I’m better than this guy,” with a pointed finger at Chris. That won’t hold up in a just court as a defense. Only another, namely Jesus, can justify you before God by taking the penalty of your sins in His own body by His sacrificial death on the cross. No man is justified by the Law in the sight of God. No you, not me, not the Pope. If any of us stand, then all of us stand by faith (Rom 11:20). So the question is do you believe?
So, for now at least, the fellowship of this jail Church is divided. How? This spirit of unforgiveness is the device of the devil (2 Cor 2:11). Every Church has faced this difficulty; the Corinthian Church certainly did. How can you stand in judgment of another and claim that he is not worthy of the love of Christ and His forgiveness while you yourself abide under condemnation for unforgiveness (Mt 6:15)? Christ died for the sins of the whole world, and the whole world will hear of it. But would you believe it if someone told you (Hab 1:5)?