By Albert Hull
Apart from culture, class, colour, and creed, most agree we live in a world of increased cover-ups.
While a large number will never be confessed, some have, and others will yet be found out. In the political arena the name Nixon comes to mind, and the Watergate scandal. In the financial arena, the name Bernie Madoff comes to mind, and the Ponzi scheme. Finally in the religious arena, there are numerous names associated with scandals that have shook cities, towns and rural area to the core.
The principle of sowing and reaping is still relevant, and indeed has Biblical origins. The Bible states in Proverbs 28:13: "He that covereth his sin shall not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sin shall find mercy.” This text was appropriate for the late Charles Colson who was in prison for a short time, due to his involvement in the Watergate scandal. To his credit, Colson confessed his crime, and became a Christian. He subsequently was used as a mighty instrument of God in reaching many prisoners with the gospel of Christ around the world.
The following is an amazing and true account that speaks powerfully to all. There was a certain young man who was accused of murder. He maintained his innocence and defended himself at his trial. He was found guilty, yet continued to maintain his innocence as part of his coverup. A few days prior to his execution, prison officials asked him if there was anyone he would like to speak to. This young man requested an interview with a Christian policeman who had taken an interest in him when he was a young man. The solemn arrangement took place at a table set between guards in the prison. The Christian policeman read a verse from the Bible. Proverbs 28:13: "He that covereth his sin shall not prosper, but whoever confesses and foresakes his sin shall find mercy." The policeman then told the young man that if he maintained his innocence, but was truly guilty, there would be no mercy for him. The visit terminated and the prisoner left for his cell with a New Testament in his hand, and a promise of a second visit.
The Christian policeman did come back and what a meeting it was. The guards escorted him to the cell of the young man who had just confessed his crime. The Morning News Headline ran the words “The Prisoner Confessed His Crime.” The young man had gone back to his cell and read in his Bible about the three Crosses in Luke 23. In this story, one of the two thieves, who were crucified with Jesus, realized something of eternal significance. Luke 23:41-42:“We indeed justly receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man (Jesus) hath done nothing out of place. And he said unto Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.’”
This dying thief acknowledged Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9), and also that Jesus was a king and had a kingdom. What an amazing confession of repentance from a dying thief. Even more amazing is the response of God’s Son. Luke 23:43: “Jesus said unto him, ‘Today you shall be with ME in Paradise.’”
What power, what love and what forgiveness was freely offered at the cross. The young man in his prison cell accepted the same forgiveness offered to the thief on the cross. He went to his death without a struggle, assured he would be in heaven because of the value of the death of Jesus Christ.
Before he was executed, the young man taught his weeping mother a Bible verse - John 3:16. Sometime afterward she died. One of her attending nurses related to the same dear Christian policeman that the young man’s mother had died quoting this wonderful text of Holy Scripture - John 3:16. The Bible also says in Luke 15:2: “The Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, ‘This man (Jesus) receives sinners and eats with them.’” Their accusation, while sarcastic, was true.
Praise God for the welcoming and Risen Christ who shows abounding mercy to those who repent and confess their sin. This message reaches from the prison to the palace, transcends every human barrier, and extends to all. It is indeed a message of good news for all mankind – Jesus saves.
Albert Hull is a Gospel evangelist. He lives in Bible Hill.